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Thursday, May 23, 2024

As college students, we deprive ourselves of a long list of things. Typically this list includes sleep, food and money, but there’s that one thing that especially seems to be missing, especially when we’re still getting accustomed to being away from home: a pet. 

We’re constantly reminded of this when we see a dog that is too precious for this world on the street and the struggle to refrain from running up to pet that painfully adorable dog is real.

We get it. Like most college students, we at the Alligator gush over animals. If we could, we would plaster pictures of fluffy animals on the front page of every paper. We love our pets. 

What we don’t love, however, are people who post in Facebook groups — or Craigslist, if that’s more your style — in an attempt to give up their dogs/cats/lizards/snakes/rats/hedgehogs.

It’s always the same story. Students get puppies or kittens and now they’re moving to a new apartment that doesn’t allow pets, so their now-one-year-old dogs or cats are up for adoption on a Facebook group. 

Or, they’ve realized how expensive it is to care for an animal, and no amount of replacing actual food with Top Ramen will enable them to afford the food and medical expenses required for their newest furry (or scaly, or slimy, or prickly) friends.

According to the American Kennel Club, the average cost for the first year of raising a small dog is $2,674. Medium dogs on average cost about $2,889, large dogs costing $3,239 and giant breeds having an annual cost of $3,536. This brings the average amount a new owner spends on a dog for the first year to a hefty $3,085. That’s a whole lot of ramen.

As far as food equivalencies go, the amount of money it costs to raise a dog for a year averages out to about 326 Chipotle steak burritos — and that’s with guacamole if you’re looking to treat yo’self. 

So unless you’re ready to spend that kind of money, you should really reconsider getting a pet.

The bottom line is: Puppies and kittens are cute and loveable; we wouldn’t dare suggest otherwise. We’ve all tried out that masochistic visit to PetSmart on an adoption Saturday just to stare into the big, watery eyes of a puppy needing a forever home. Note the emphasis here on the word “forever.” 

But please, for the love of kittens, don’t adopt an animal unless you are 100-percent certain you can devote the extensive time, energy and money to loving and caring for your pet.

The unconditional love a pet has to give should go both ways; if you can’t reciprocate and give them what they need, then please reconsider before adopting an animal.

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