Getting a pet in college is a great idea. Any dog, cat, fish or chicken would make a great companion. We all need some animal affection in college, especially as finals approach. Kitten snuggles or puppy kisses might be exactly what you need at this time of year. Plus, they provide great emotional support. I recommend that every responsible college student have a pet, but think carefully before you add a tail-wagging pal to your family. If you do decide to get a furry, feathered or scaly companion, be conscious of where you are getting them from, and be certain that you are prepared to commit to this creature for the rest of its life.
I know this message may seem overdone, but it is so important to adopt a pet from a local shelter rather than purchase an expensive, inbred animal from a breeder. Rescue animals are less likely to have congenital defects and are therefore typically healthier animals. Shelter pets are obviously in need of a loving home, and no innocent creature deserves to spend the rest of their life in a jail cell all alone. If you’re on a broke-college-student budget, it will be reassuring to know that adoption fees at rescue shelters are far cheaper than breeder fees. Everyone deserves a second chance at life. All animals should have the chance to sleep in a warm bed with parents that love them. Our generation has the ability to put an end to the breeding of designer dogs and promote the well-being of all animals through pet rescue.
It is also important to take into consideration the responsibility of pet ownership before you adopt your fluffy best friend. If you don’t have time for a dog, try a low-maintenance cat or even a fish. If you’re hesitant about your ability to ensure the well-being of a living creature you shouldn’t get one. It is utterly inhumane to return a pet to a shelter because you realized you couldn’t devote enough time to care for it. Imagine being rescued from a dismal situation, only to be returned months later. Don’t get a kitten for the sake of a “promposal,” and don’t return your dog when your schedule gets too busy. You knew about their 15-year lifespan when you adopted, so you don’t get to just give up on your pet when you’re tired of it.
If you discover that you do have some free time in your schedule and your home can accommodate a four-legged best friend, your next step is to determine an appropriate adoption agency. No-kill shelters are a great place to adopt from because you can avoid inadvertently funding euthanasia of innocent animals with your purchase.
The question is: How do I pick an animal to adopt? Consider adopting a senior pet. It breaks my heart to hear that many older animals die alone in shelters, as people generally prefer younger pets. As I said earlier, everyone deserves a second chance at life.
Having a pet in college is a great idea, but first make sure that you have the time to care for one, and be conscious that you are supporting an animal-friendly agency when you do decide to adopt your next best friend.
Hannah Whitaker is a UF English junior.
Kylie Gurthie, 3, and a volunteer play with the newly adopted 5-month-old dog Joey during the Summer Lovin’ Adopt-A-Thon at Alachua County Animal Services on August 17.