Stay weather aware Thursday

Pet fostering program at Stephens College in Columbia helps students adjust to college

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- For some college students, the hardest part about moving away is leaving a furry friend behind.

But Stephens College, a women's college in Columbia, says pets are welcome on campus and in the dorms -- and if you don't have a pet, they'll help you find one.

Stephens College has been allowing pets on campus for the nearly 15 years, attracting students like Calista Cherches.

"I looked up colleges that are for musical theater majors that allow pets because originally I was going to bring my dog here," she said. "And then I learned about the foster program, and I thought that was a fantastic idea."

A few years ago, the college teamed up with Second Chance, a local no-kill animal shelter, for a pet fostering program.

Calista Cherches

"It's been a really successful different kind of program for those students who want a pet and are committed to what that means, but want to do it a little differently," said Rebecca Kline, a spokesperson for Stephens College.

There are about 500 students living on campus, and 30 are taking part in the fostering program this semester. The goal: to find their furry friend a forever home.

"They will take the pet to Second Chance's events and promotional fairs and post cute pictures of their pet enjoying life here on campus on Instagram and all of those things that help promote and help pets find a home," Kline said.

In exchange, the students are eligible for a small scholarship. Kline calls the program a win-win.

"Some people like to be around pets and have a lot at home, but just don't have one personally, or maybe they're coming from somewhere far, and it's just not practical," she said.

Like Cherches, who loves animals and has a handful of her own pets at home in Minnesota. She said the most difficult part of the foster program is saying goodbye.

"The first one is always the hardest," she said. "My first dog I had last year, I got really attached to her, and it was hard to give her up. But then you see the families these animals are going to, and you know it's a good fit for them."

It's important to note, there are some dorms on the campus that are pet-free for students who have allergies.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.