For many collegiettes, one of the most exciting things about college, and about living off campus particularly, is having more control over our own living spaces. We can finally paint our room’s wall lavender (should our leases permit, of course), we can stock our fridges with as much (or as little) kale as we please, and, should we want to make the commitment, we can adopt and care for our own furry friends. College students are often eager to adopt pets for reasons that we at Her Campus completely understand. After all, what’s better to greet you after a long day of classes than a wagging tail and a sweet bark? And what’s more adorable than a friendly meow and fuzzy paws to keep you company at your desk? What many students don’t realize, however, is that pets are a commitment that will transcend your college years. Pet ownership is work, it is money, and it is time, so adopting a pet isn’t an ordeal that should be taken lightly. So, how do you know if you are ready for your very own cat, dog, reptile, etc.? Never fear, our animal-loving collegiettes, we are here to help! Before you head to your local adoption center, follow these simple steps to ensure that you can and will provide an animal an amazing, forever home.
1. Check Your Schedule. Depending upon the type of pet you would like to adopt, it’s important to make sure you have the time to care for and spend time with them. Some pets, like small cage animals or even cats, are fine to be alone for hours at a time. This doesn’t mean, however, that it’s okay to be out all day, every day as a pet owner. Every animal needs interaction and socialization with its owner. You wouldn’t want to stay home all day alone, would you? Dogs will require a greater amount of attention, especially if they are young and untrained. Make sure, if you are thinking of adopting an animal, that you will have the time to give them the love and attention they need. It’s simply not okay to leave an animal on its own for too long; pets are time-consuming, and it’s important to know that.
2. Check Your Wallet. If you’ve owned a pet at home before, you are probably aware of how many items and supplies are necessary for proper care. In addition to basics such as food, food bowls, leashes, and litter boxes, pets can require anything from travel carriers to pet gates to toys and more. Needless to say, these supplementary items can add up price wise, not to mention that many adoption centers will ask a small fee for the animal itself. Veterinary fees and care are costs to consider, as well; remember, collegiette, the choice to adopt a pet is a promise to care for an animal regardless of its medical circumstances. A growth in expenses is no excuse for providing incorrect care or for relinquishing your pet (which is always a no-no, by the way). So, before you make this big decision, simply make sure you can afford it.
3. Check Your Future. One of the scariest things about going to university is the uncertainty we can often face. It’s normal for a college student to wonder on an everyday basis where they will be in two years, or six months, or even a few weeks. The unknown, while exciting, is something to think about before adoption. Pet ownership is not temporary, and will not dissolve the moment you graduate, or move, or get a new job. You have to be willing, in all instances, to care for and continue to own your pet no matter where you go. Upon adoption, you and your pet become a package deal, and it is up to you to make sure your pet is always happy and settled. Along the same lines, make sure before adopting your pet that it is allowed on your lease. Should you take an animal home without double checking this and be caught, it’s time for you to find a new home for you and your pet. Giving your pet back to the adoption center should simply not be an option, unless your circumstances are dire.
As you can see, adopting a pet is serious business, ladies! Her Campus encourages you to think carefully about this decision before taking the pet-adoption plunge. Should you feel confident in your ability to care for a pet completely (which often means promising to be with them for their full life-span of up to twenty years) then we say go for it! The love and companionship that pet ownership offers is incomparable. Pets, in our eyes, are one of the best things that life can give us.
Think you are ready to be a pet parent? Research local adoption centers in your area, and remember, adopt, don’t shop!
For more information on adopting pets, visit these rescue organizations’ websites: