It’s not uncommon for you to see dogs all over campus, in apartment complexes, townhouses and more. They exist as an important part of the lives of many students, some as needed service and emotional support animals, while others as mere old companions or house mates. But although these animals are cute, many students are not sure what they are for when they buy an animal just for the sake of having a pet.
There are many benefits to having a pet, and I’m sure there will be many answers. According to accredited schools, pets provide companionship and mental health benefits, and encourage exercise. Having a pet can drastically reduce stress, which is really a no-brainer. However, is it worth the actual responsibility of caring for a pet?
Let’s break this down into numbers. The average student has a part-time job or multiple jobs and earns at least $ 195 per week. Living on a tight budget is the norm when it comes to college life, and that leaves no extra room to spend on a pet. While some of the benefits of having a pet may seem appealing, there are many long-term costs that include food, litter, grooming supplies, and unexpected medical emergencies.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals totals your pet’s first year spending at $ 1,904 for a cat and about $ 3,221 for a medium-sized dog. Although the first year is usually more expensive than the others, your pet’s expenses will still be a significant part of your budget for at least 8 years or more. Most off-campus apartments or townhouses also charge multiple pet fees, which can add up.
Besides the expense, having a pet takes time. While the weather is a little different for small pet and cat owners, dog owners bear the brunt of the weather as dogs need to be walked at least twice a day. Feeding your pet, giving it attention and play time in general adds a lot of stress to the already exhausted student. You should also avoid events and get home earlier than if you had a pet eagerly awaiting you.
There is another smaller problem when students impulsively buy a pet. When you have a pet, things like spontaneous excursions, study abroad, and vacations are much more difficult to plan. The state of North Carolina’s study abroad policies probably don’t even include pets, as they are too much of a responsibility to take overseas. Pets can also hamper many housing options in the future, as many North Carolina state students leave Raleigh after their undergraduate years.
Sadly, many of these furry babies end up in shelters from where they were rescued. According to Medium, animal shelters near colleges are finding that some students may abandon their pets when pets are no longer convenient, especially at the end of the semester. No animal deserves to be abandoned just because of our poor decision-making abilities, so let’s wait until we are financially independent and stable ourselves before adding the role of animal healer to our many hats.
Hope this article will not stop you from having a furry companion. What I’m saying is that owning a pet is so much more than making your pet an Instagram and posting their “voice” – although I love these posts. Caring for a pet is a very big responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so if you are already having financial problems I recommend that you stay pet free until you can give them life. that they deserve.