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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — La Salle University will allow students to have dogs live with them on campus this fall. The dog-friendly residence hall will be the first-of-its-kind among universities in the Philadelphia region.

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The university said Thursday that upperclassmen who choose to live in the existing St. George Hall can now apply to have an approved on-campus dog as a pet beginning this fall.

“Students enjoy having animals on campus, whether it’s during our ‘Pause for Paws’ stressbuster event each semester or through our ongoing partnership with Purina,” said Dr. Dawn Soufleris, vice president of student affairs. “We recognize that there are mental, physical, and emotional benefits to having a pet, and are excited to provide this option to our on-campus community.”

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There will be a dog-run for exercise, an on-campus washing station and a dog-friendly lounge space.

The university says the initiative expands upon the existing Emotional Support Animal policy. It allows students in need to bring animals to campus in approved areas.

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“Allowing students the option to bring a pet to campus provides many opportunities for self-growth,” said Alan Wendell, assistant vice president of residence life and community development. “Owning a dog helps teach responsibility and compassion, both of which are important life skills we hope to instill in our students.”

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The dogs must be under 30 pounds and comply with guidelines from the Division of Student Affairs and Philadelphia Dog Ordinances. Students who want dogs must also get their roommates to sign off on it, too.