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Mongo, owned by Hunter Terrell, a senior at VSU.

Pros and cons of owning a pet in college

Let’s face it. The majority of college kids, or people in general, love their pets. Cats and dogs alike become family rather quickly, and the bond that’s created is immeasurable. If you have a pet, you understand exactly. If you haven’t, you could be missing out. There’s a lot that goes into owning a pet, though. Before checking out a local animal shelter, consider these pros and cons.

Cons of a pet:

That cute, furry “pupper” is not for everyone. Having a pet is a huge responsibility. You are the sole caretaker of the life and well-being of another creature besides yourself. You are their entire world, and if you cannot dedicate the time they deserve, you shouldn’t have them in the first place.

The main con is time management. A dog needs to be let out to relieve themselves every few hours at least.  If you have an extensive class schedule, work late hours or enjoy doing things outside your home regularly, maybe a pet isn’t the best fit.

Another aspect to consider is that most dogs need to be exercised multiple times a day. Pets can be full of energy, and a walk in the morning, afternoon and night is more than necessary to keep them from bouncing off the walls. This means you might have to sacrifice your Netflix time or time spent with friends more often than you planned to.

Depending on the pet, they are probably messy. Cats and dogs can shed, chew on things they’re not supposed to and scratch at furniture. You have to make the time to invest in keeping your home clean, organized, and your pet clean. Bathing a 40-pound dog may not seem too much of a task, but it’s not a walk in the park.

Pets can be expensive, too. Instead of “treating yourself,” you will more likely spend money on treats for your pet.  You have to feed, pamper and supply toys, bath supplies, grooming tools and whatever else they may need. Don’t forget about the pet deposit your apartment may enforce.

Adopting a pet is a long commitment to make. Most college students can barely decide what to eat for dinner every day, let alone make a huge commitment like owning a pet for the next few years. One of the worst things you can do is adopt a puppy or kitten, and then give it away in six months when it’s no longer small and adorable or starts to become too much work.

Pros of a pet:

If you have read this far, you are ready to hear the positives of having a pet in college.

The biggest pro of having a pet is that you have a friend no matter what. Your pet will love you unconditionally and will literally do anything with you. Animals have a weird way of picking up on your mood and becoming exactly what you need in any given moment. In a way, they can also help with stress relief.

Another benefit is that you’ll have something to keep you in shape. Going on jogs or long walks can keep you active and healthy. Even playing ball in the back yard or teasing your cat can make you feel more useful than lying in bed.

You also never have to sleep alone! You have a cuddle buddy every single night. Soft cuddles can make you relax and sleep easy.

If your roommate is okay with having a pet, you both could share responsibility to make it easier. Roommate bonding is always a plus, and you both are learning responsibility.

Having a pet teaches you things about life and about yourself. It teaches responsibility, ownership, love, time management and maturity. Before you make the huge commitment, you should consider all of the positives and negatives and decide what is best for you and your situation.

Story and photo by Hunter Terrell, Social Media editor.

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