While you scroll through Facebook or Craigslist in between classes, you thumb past an adorable orange kitten or maybe an ad for a husky who is “looking for a forever home”, and you think “well my parents aren’t here to tell me no.”
While I’m not here to tell you no either, I am telling you to think twice before getting a pet.
Savannah Thibert, a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas and an avid animal lover states, “Having an animal for emotional support and companionship is wonderful, but if you cannot give back what they give to you don’t even think about it. If you can’t reciprocate the love and attention they give you, then you’re not doing that animal any favors.”
According to an article entitled “Shelters See Rise In Abandoned Pets As College Student’s Year Ends” published by FOX News, “Smith, owner of Muncie Animal Shelter (IN) confirmed that the end of the semester brings with it a noticeable increase in abandoned animals.”
Pets require three main things; food, water and attention. Things that may seem basic, but can actually be difficult for a busy college student to provide.
When you take in that pet, it isn’t just for a semester. You need to look towards your future, consider your financial, housing and life situations and ask yourself: will I be able to take care of this animal for the duration of its life span?
Thinking of buying a cat? Ask yourself; do I make enough money working part time and going to school to feed myself and buy cat food and litter every month? Should the animal have health complications, do I have enough money set aside to be able to take care of it?
Thinking of buying a dog? Keep in mind that a new puppy needs to be let out every 2-3 hours. If your school or work schedule doesn’t allow you or your roommates to run home every 2-3 hours then maybe you should opt for a pet that is lower maintenance such as a goldfish.
And lastly consider your housing situation. Keeping your housing needs and that of your roommates in mind is important.
Consider some of the following questions: Is my unit pet friendly? Does my lease allow for pets? Is there a pet fee and if so, do I have money set aside to pay it? Do any of my roommates have allergies? Is this animal going to be disruptive to my roommates and my own studying habits?
In order to prevent the high numbers of animals from being abandoned, think twice before deciding if college is the right time to get a pet.
While you may not depend on that animal, that animal depends on you, and it is your responsibility to provide and care for them.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.