What to consider when adopting a pet

New owner adopting a cat

Cats, Dogs, or even hamsters: a furry friend comes with responsibility. There are several benefits to adopting a pet. Studies show that being in the presence of animals, and petting a dog or cat’s fur releases endorphins, the “feel good” chemical in your brain that reduces stress. However, to ensure that both you and your animal companion have a mutually beneficial relationship that doesn’t end in heartbreak, there are a few things you need to consider before you head to the shelter.

Can you afford it? Pets are expensive. To give your pet a healthy and happy life, you have to think about the investment. Veterinarian care, grooming costs, food… it all adds up. For just one cat, I spend approximately thirty dollars a month alone on food. If you go on vacation, you need to board your pet, which can be expensive. Furthermore, you need to take your pet in for their annual vaccinations and check-up ($100 vet bill.) I see many students give away their pets after a few months just because they cannot afford to take care of it anymore. That is sad for both you and the animal, so do some thinking before you decide to bring home a pet.

Do you have the time to spend with it? Between work, school, and your social life, will you have the time to provide the attention your pet will need? Beyond the walking, cleaning and feeding, you will need to spend quality time together. Also, consider the life expectancy of your pet. Think about what you will do with your pet after you graduate and move away from college. Your pet will most likely live longer than the few years you’re in college; this is a long-term investment.

Is everyone okay with your decision to adopt a pet? Don’t forget to check with landlords or roommates. Make sure nobody has any allergies and that there aren’t any pet restrictions on your current home. Also, check to see if there are any additional fees associated with having a pet. Some apartments charge a pet fee.

 What will your pet do when you are gone? Will you bring your pet home over summer break? Who will watch it? Remember that boarding your pet can get very expensive. When you are in classes all day, will someone let your dog out to go potty? Pets need attention, or else they get into trouble.

Where are you going to get your pet? How you get your pet is just as responsible as a decision as owning the pet itself. I encourage you to visit your local shelter or pound to adopt. Most of these dogs and cats are on death row, depending on the shelter you visit, and they can sometimes be skittish at first because of conditions before they came to the shelter. Don’t let that deter you as these animals can be just as lovable as any other. Two of my dogs were rescued from a shelter. In fact, one of my dogs was supposed to be put down the same night I adopted her,

I love coming home to the “welcome committee” of cats that meow at my feet. However, each one of my pets were a rescue from someone who surrendered their pet for one of the above reasons. Animals don’t need to pay for our wrong decisions. While puppies might be all the craze on campus right now, I encourage you to be the responsible student who considers all the necessities associated with owning a pet, and inform your peers before they make the commitment. There is a common misconception when adopting a pet that if it “doesn’t work out” you can just give your pet away. This is wrong. Animals trust you, they form a bond with you, and therefore you shouldn’t break their heart and betray them just because you failed to consider the responsibility.

jessica-albright-thumb-150x150Jessica is a junior at Missouri State University majoring in Marketing with a minor in International Management. She will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree in December 2016, and is accepted to an accelerated Masters of Business Administration program to complete her MBA the following year. Jessica is member of Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society,  Ad Club, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Fraternity.