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Campus Debates: Is college the right time for a pet?

By Jon Painter and Alaina Burris
On November 30, 2018

Photo by Sydney Meyer

Pets. There’s no argument about it, they certainly enhance your life… if acquired at an appropriate time. Pets are a big responsibility and adding another creature to take care of could end up being more stress than it’s worth. So the question is, is college the right time to get a pet?

Absolutely not

College is the time to discover new things, to become your own person and to start out on your own, but it is not the right time to get a pet -- especially a dog.

College students are busy; from six a.m. weights and practice if you are an athlete, to those dreaded night classes. Where do you find time in your schedule to love your pet like they love you?

Your dog makes time for you and only you. Meanwhile, your mind is lost somewhere between practice, Applebees’ half-priced apps, a Gospel’s paper and the nagging weekly discussion board you haven’t posted on yet.

Pets like dogs and cats aren’t allowed in campus dorms and living off-campus requires a daily trek back and forth to feed and take care of your animal.

Be patient. Pets add bills to a student’s time in college: registering fees, vet bills, food and dog sitters… Even the cost of simply purchasing a pet can be pretty pricey.

Having a dog at home and not at college makes those trips home magnificently joyful. You acquire is a quiet confidence going about every day at college knowing your mom or whoever is taking care of your dog.

Also, knowing your dog is chilling at home in the kitchen waiting for scraps to fall off the counter, and will be there with a smooch once you finish your weekend-long take-home exam provides incentive to finish. 

Of course!

When you’re starting over at a new place, you’re away from what you’re used to. You don’t have your family around, your old friends or even your pets. You enjoy the new friends you’re making, but you really miss having a Fido in your life. Is now the right time to have him make a comeback?

There are times where college students are lonely; their roommates are in class, they don’t feel like watching TV and they just feel kind of empty. That’s where a dog comes in; they’re the perfect companion and help take that loneliness away.

Through the ins and outs of your busy life as a college student, you know that your dog will always be there for you. They’ll be there to greet you with wet and slobbery kisses each time you walk through the door, making you feel a hundred times better than you did when you were freaking out about that PreCalc test you just took.

Despite the fact that pets, other than fish, are not allowed in campus dorms, many students have Emotional Support Animals (ESA). If you face a lot of stress and believe an ESA can help you, the university will allow you to have one with the proper paperwork. However, don’t abuse this policy just to have a cat or dog.

If you live off-campus, getting a dog would be easy to do. Thinking about bills that you have to pay and then factoring in the cost of a dog and supplies can seem pricey. But if you buy your dog’s food and treats in bulk, and buy toys in collections, that can knock some zeros off pretty quick. The food and treats will last longer, creating less of a need to go to the store every week to buy your dog new food.

When thinking about getting a pet, you should adopt -- not shop. Adoption shelters are quite full and tend to be cheaper than purchasing through a pet store. This eliminates the thought of paying nearly thousands of dollars for a dog, dropping it down to under a couple hundred dollars, depending on the size and type of the dog.

While you may have pets at home that make your times going home wonderful, having a pet at your new home will feel pretty amazing as well. When you put the two together, make sure your animals interact nicely and are okay with each other.

So should you keep a pet in college? Do you feel financially stable? Is the urge for a furry companion more overwhelming than you can bear? The choice is yours – just remember to be responsible. Acquiring a pet means juggling another life in your already-overburdened hands.

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