Pets in college: Worth the trouble?

As an annoyingly avid pet lover, I’ve countlessly considered adopting a dog, buying a hamster or some other small animal and basically anything regarding cuddly companions. As my senior year is coming to its last semester, though, I’ve realized that not getting a pet (one that my parents would have objected to tenfold) was probably in my (and the pets) best interest.

So, before you consider adopting or buying a furry (or scaly…) friend, consider the aspects of your college life that will indefinitely be subject to change: money, time and energy. Also, consider the alternatives to having a pet that will save you (and probably the pet) from unnecessary commitments and stress.

According to an article in Fox Business, the yearly cost of having a dog can range from $360 to $2,520 or more. In all reality, it may be better to wait to get your companion after graduation (or even better: after you get a job) so you can have the money to properly care for your pet.

Still not convinced? Not only must you spend money on your pet, but, depending on the pet, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time. If you get a puppy, you’re going to have to stay in on the weekends and train him or her, and that includes housebreaking and not tearing apart your couches and chewing on other furniture. According to the Dog Breed Information website, puppies need to be let outside to go to the bathroom approximately six times a day. Can you be home that many times during the day?

Not to mention, there are ways to get your pet fixes without adopting or paying for a pet. Petland on State Street allows students to come and play with the puppies and pet some of the other animals as well. If you fill out a form, you can volunteer at the Athens County Dog Shelter and walk dogs (the shelter is open six days a week). Alternatives exist, and it’s better to opt for those when you have time than giving a pet a mediocre life based on your minimal free time.

Not to say it can’t be done. I have plenty of friends that have adopted/bought pets and have given them great lives. It’s just a matter of time and commitment. Not to mention, A LOT of money. So, consider the above before taking a responsibility that may make your workload beyond stressful. After all, adopting pets isn’t only about making your life better: it’s about giving them a better life, too.

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