Avoid Maintenance Pets in College


By Alisa Patience

I love animals of all kinds. Whenever I see a service dog on campus my heart explodes with joy. Animals, especially dogs, are pure. They love their owners and when they greet you with kisses and jumps, your bad mood can instantly improve. But, unfortunately, the joy of having a furry companion comes with a price.

Unless you actually have a fenced backyard, college students shouldn’t get high-maintenance pets. I don’t know about everyone else, but aside from paying taxes, I still feel like a child. I’m still trying to figure out how to take care of myself. The idea of being responsible for the life of an innocent puppy terrifies me. Puppies deserve better than me. Puppies deserve better than all of us if I’m being honest.

I’m a very neat person. I can’t do homework if the room is a mess and I can’t stand dirty sheets. Almost nothing stresses me out as much as my dog’s dirty paws jumping on my freshly cleaned bed. I do homework on that bed. I don’t want muddy paws on it. Just imagine getting home at six, having three hours of homework, but having to take your dog outside for an hour and a half, waiting for them to get their energy out and do their business. I waited outside for an hour for my dog to go to the bathroom and all she wanted to do was play in the mud.

I love my puppy. I named her Khaleesi, after my true queen from “Game of Thrones.” I was hoping that having her would decrease my stress and give me something to look forward to every day. Unfortunately, having a dog is a lot like having a baby. I have to keep an eye on her the whole time, otherwise, I know she’s going to make a mess somewhere or eat something that could make her sick. She needs constant attention. She needs to feel someone’s presence or else she gets scared. It’s so selfish of me to yell at her for trying to play when I’m trying to focus on my homework, but sometimes that’s what I feel I must resort to.

Yards make all the difference in the world. I wish I had a fenced backyard so that I could let her outside and play whenever she wanted because then I could do my homework without having to worry about her. I do not have a fence, however, so whenever she wants to play or go to the bathroom, it’s my job to take her out. That’s a lot of valuable time taken out of my day.

Dogs are also expensive. Sort of like college. Let’s be honest, as college students, a lot of us are going deeply into debt. The last thing we need is another bill to take care of each month. Dog food is expensive, especially if it’s organic. What if your fuzzy friend has to go to the vet? What if she eats a pound of chocolate? It could happen. You’ll have to pay for that, too.

Pets are great for your mental health. But instead of buying a dog on which you won’t have time or resources to spend, you could volunteer at the pet shelter so that you can spend time with animals. This way you can tailor your animal time to your own schedule. Instead of a puppy, you could get something low maintenance like a fish or a hamster.

When I got a puppy, all I could think about is how happy she would make me. I should have considered further how much I could afford to make her happy. You have to remember that dogs are like big, hairy babies. Are you ready for a baby? Financially and emotionally? If not, maybe you’re not ready for a puppy.

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