Opinion

The Responsibility of Having a Pet in College

By Sam Ryan 

samantha.ryan@spartans.ut.edu

The transition into college sometimes introduces a amount of stress that many young adults have not experienced before. Maintaining stable mental health, keeping track of your schoolwork and having a social life are big challenges to balance that come with being a college student. Considering getting a pet on top of everything may seem odd to some, but completely necessary to another. 

Every big change has its pros and cons. Weighing these factors can map out whether it is not only in your best interest, but the best interest of the animal as well. There are a lot of aspects to consider before bringing a pet home.  

A pet is often referred to as, “a man’s best friend”. Pets love their owner unconditionally. They will greet you with love and kisses after a failed exam, long study day, or break up. They will listen to you rant and snuggle with you on a rainy day. Pets can also serve as a stress reliever for students when they find themselves needing emotional support. 

Pets are great companions, and some are an excuse to stay fit and exercise on a more regular basis. Many dogs require a large open space to run, wear themselves out, and play with other dogs. It’s important for them to keep active and healthy to live a long life. Having a pet also gives one many social advantages. Taking your pet to parks and on walks opens a whole community of other pet owners as well. You get to play with your pet while making new friends at the same time.

Though there are many benefits of having a pet, there are also extreme drawbacks. Many people fancy the idea of having a pet, however they fail to recognize the responsibility of what it means to have a full-time companion. 

“I originally fostered my dog with no intent of adopting her. It was the spike of covid, and I was extremely lonely. Deciding to adopt her was the best decision I’ve made,” said Donald Jasinski, senior communications major. “Vienna is my best friend, and I cannot imagine a life without her. She is a big responsibility though, I must keep track of my finances and if I want to travel or leave all day, I have to find and pay someone to watch her. It can really add up.”

Finances can be a major setback when considering whether to get a pet or not. Not only do you have to deal with food and general needs like a leash, collar, or toys, but you have to also prepare for the unexpected. Picture this. Your dog is having the time of their life at your local dog park and has a nasty spill. You take her to the vet to find out she tore her ACL which will cost you about $1,500. 

Vet bills, essentials, boarding and time commitment are all financial aspects to consider when wanting to get a pet. 

It is important to do your own research in order to provide a loving and caring environment to the pet who will love you unconditionally. 

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