Remember back when you were headed off to college and you told your parents, “I’m not going unless I can bring Flooferjack with me,” and they were like, “Too bad, no dogs allowed at college. BYE.” Well, one college in Florida would not only welcome Flooferjack, but also treat him as well as any enrolled student.
Eckerd College in St. Petersberg, Florida—which is widely heralded as the pet-friendliest college in the U.S.—has major amenities for animals of all kinds. Dogs (under 40 pounds), cats, rabbits, ducks, large birds, ferrets and chinchillas get to live on-campus in designated animal-friendly housing (“small pets” such as small birds, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rats, amphibians, and reptiles are allowed in all housing complexes).
Eckerd was the first school in America to accept pets on campus (back in 1973!), and the perks have only evolved since then. There is a local veterinarian performs health checks twice a year, an annual Pet Blessing in honor of St. Francis of Assisi each October, and the crème de la campus: A pet graduation ceremony for all animals of senior students.
2017 marked the fifth pet graduation at Eckerd (over 190 animals have graduated in total). This year’s Pet Class included 10 dogs, nine cats, three rats, a snake, a guinea pig, a desert tortoise, a parakeet and a hedgehog. Each graduating pet receives a certificate, an Eckerd College ID tag and a cap-and-gown photo shoot with their owner and the president.
Here are some of our favorite shots from Eckerd's 2017 Pet Graduation.
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