According to Ohio State University’s Department of Research Communications, college students find comfort in their pets during stressful situations. A Dec. 22, 2008, study showed that students who chose to live with at least one dog or cat were less likely to feel lonely or depressed. But in the Manhattan community, many landlords don’t allow pets past a certain weight. This may account for why some students and Manhattan residents opt for tiny dogs over larger ones.
Laquava Johnson, sophomore in psychology, often takes her Chihuahua, Swag Daddy, for walks around Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
“A little dog was just more convenient for me because, where I live, I’m only allowed to have a pet that weighs less than 10 pounds, and I’m not home for most of the day. So having a small dog that doesn’t need to be taken out as much is perfect,” Johnson said.
Another factor in choosing smaller dog breeds can be cost. According to a Sept. 5 Yahoo Finance article by Angela Colley, larger dogs are significantly more expensive to care for than smaller dogs. The article cited a study done by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that showed that the difference in cost between caring for large dogs versus small ones can be hundreds of dollars. On average, larger breeds cost their owners $875 per year in food, medical costs and other expenses, while small breeds average $580 — a difference of nearly $300 per year.
“The larger breeds’ vet care is more expensive, along with their food, since they need a larger portion,” said Stephanie McCall, shelter technician at the local T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter. “And the larger breeds are also more prone to bone disease, while smaller ones may live longer, can live in rental communities that have weight limits and are easier to travel with.”
While many people enjoy the company of larger dogs, some find that the differences in temperament between larger and smaller breeds can also make a difference in choosing the ideal four-legged companion.
Mariah McKee, day care attendant at Howl-A-Dayz Inn, said her roommate’s small dog had a personality that she liked because he reminded her more of a cat than a dog.
“He wasn’t such a mess, couldn’t chew up big things and was low-maintenance,” McKee said. “Bigger dogs can be reckless.”
Students are not the only ones who find smaller dogs to be good companions. Max White, Manhattan resident, got his Pomeranian, Dixie, shortly before he retired because a smaller dog fit his personal needs better.
“I realized that a dog Dixie’s size was best for me in the long run, because now that I’m old, I just don’t have the energy for a bigger dog,” White said. “Dixie doesn’t require much walking or playing with a Frisbee for that matter.”
Dogs of all sizes, along with cats, are available for adoption at the T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter, located at 605 Levee Drive. Adoptions range from $25 to $131, depending upon health and whether the animal has been spayed or neutered. For more information, call 785-587-2783.