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Owning pets – whether it be a furry animal or reptile – makes hundreds of millions of people across the world happy each year. Owning a pet provides dozens of benefits (for the average human) compared to the low number of disadvantages, such as the financial burden and responsibility. I don’t think anyone likes cleaning up dog poop or cat litter, but most pet owners find it worthwhile for the ownership of their special companion. 

Owning pets has had a long and comprehensive history. In Ancient Egypt, cats were believed to be magical creatures and brought good luck to the people who owned them. Cats were valued so much that people who killed cats were also sentenced to death. Dogs became domesticated from wolves at least 12,000-14,000 years ago, and were originally used for hunting, guarding, and herding.  

With COVID-19 and a lack of face-to-face socialization, animals have been one of the outlets used to decrease loneliness within people. There are several benefits to owning a pet such as decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, and an easier time managing depression, according to the CDC. Owning a pet can also increase fitness levels within owners and lower stress. With owning a dog, you may find yourself walking your companion several times a day, benefitting both the owner and the pet – especially when working from home or completing online school during the pandemic!  

When deciding to get a pet, it’s important to consider many factors. How long will the pet live? How much is it going to cost to maintain a proper habit and give it a good quality of life? Don’t forget about vet visits and any possible diseases or illnesses the pet might obtain. Do you have enough time necessary to dedicate to your pet? Are you ready for the responsibility?  

It’s also important to choose a pet based on your lifestyle so you each get the maximum benefit from each other as possible. A lot of college students who may have a tighter schedule and not an excess amount of money opt for cats who are more independent than dogs. Others decide to get small reptiles and amphibians. In January, two of my roommates and I decided to get a bunny, Tucker, and split the cost and responsibility three ways. This makes it so much easier to pay and take care of him when we all pitch in together than if any of us were to have gotten a bunny individually. Maybe you have small kids or live in an apartment that doesn’t allow cats or dogs. These are all factors to consider when deciding to purchase an animal.  

If you do decide to get a pet, make sure you do your research beforehand and are ready to take on the financial and personal responsibility. If you want a cat or dog, check out your local animal shelters! Adopting will make you feel good about giving a second chance to an animal in need. Don’t try to domesticate wild animals such as squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, raccoons, etc – especially because you never know what diseases they might carry. If you get a pet, hopefully you’re able to reap the many benefits that pet ownership brings and give them a long, fulfilling life. 

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Paige Preston

Louisville '23

I am a Communications major and Social Change minor. I love films, philosophy, traveling, playing my Nintendo Switch, and everything related to animals!
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