College Pets: Pros and paw-sible problems

Lydia Waner, senior in biology, and her Crested Gecko, Ralph. (Kourtney Rumback | Collegian Media Group)

Arriving home after a strenuous day of long lectures with a mile-long homework list can be defeating. Throwing down your backpack and sinking into the couch, wondering when the weekend will come, you’re then greeted by a wagging tail and a lick to the face.

Having a pet lend a fuzzy ear to listen or a feathered wing to cry on can brighten any gloomy day. How can you be sad staring into puppy eyes?

(Kourtney Rumback | Collegian Media Group)
Avery Evins, sophomore in finance, and her dog, Blaze. (Kourtney Rumback | Collegian Media Group)

Pets bring opportunities for new activities like training and outdoor adventures. From dogs and cats to birds and lizards, caring for an animal is a great way to improve your well-being.

However, as fun as it all seems, there are a few things to consider before adopting a pet in college.

First, make sure your place of residence allows pets. Some apartments or houses might have a no-pet policy, while others might only allow small animals. Asking your property manager should be at the top of the to-do list before saying yes to that Goldendoodle.

(Kourtney Rumback | Collegian Media Group)
Boots, the cat, all comfy in her sweater. (Kourtney Rumback | Collegian Media Group)

Money is another factor to consider. Buying a pet and taking it to the vet regularly is no small fee, and college students are not exactly known for making bank. The list of things your pet will need is a long one: food, shelter, medicine, emergency care, pet insurance, grooming, toys — it goes on and on. Your house or apartment might also require a monthly fee for owning a pet in case they were to damage the property.

(Kourtney Rumback | Collegian Media Group)
Joey the guinea pig. (Kourtney Rumback | Collegian Media Group)

Your time as a student is spread thin with schoolwork, jobs, extracurricular activities and socializing with friends. Most pets require a lot of time and attention. A pet that hangs out in a terrarium most of the time might be better suited to someone with a packed schedule, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still need love and attention.

Your pet might require training, daily exercise and entertainment to stay mentally stimulated. Even the small task of taking your dog out for a bathroom break takes time, so consider renting a house with a fenced backyard if you’re worried about having to step out during a Zoom call.

(Kourtney Rumback | Collegian Media Group)
Lydia Waner, senior in biology, and her Crested Gecko, Ralph. (Kourtney Rumback | Collegian Media Group)

Check with roommates before adopting as well — they might not be comfortable sharing their living space with Jerry the tarantula. If you are not an animal lover, this could also affect where you live in college. If you don’t want to rent somewhere that has recently had pets, make sure to view the property beforehand or specify to the property manager you don’t want a unit that has housed pets — no one wants leftover cat smell!

While it’s easy to see a sweet animal that needs a home and jump to adopt, make sure you have the resources to care for it before being too impulsive. After checking this list, a pet might be the “purr-fect” way to make college even better!