By Hannah Reid —
Furry companions can bring joy to lives, but are a responsibility.
The first step is figuring out if you’re allowed to have a pet or not. Many campus-affiliated properties have started allowing pets with a fee and increased rent.
Off-campus housing has its own obstacles as well. Consult the landlord or property manager to see if any additional charges will be added to rent or what animals are allowed.
Also, keep in mind about enough space for an animal and a stable environment.
Once you have permission, consider the roommate(s). Be sure to ask if they’re okay with a pet, what type of pet would be most appropriate, if they’d be willing to help out and any other concerns that may arise.
Next, think about finances. Consider any fees added to rent or upfront animal fee, veterinarian fees and adoption fees. For shelters, these fees normally don’t exceed $115. You will also need to buy bedding, food, toys, collars and leashes for your furry friend.
“I adopted my dog and I love him to pieces, but he ended up developing elbow dysplasia and it was a $4,000 surgery. And it wasn’t covered by pet insurance. So just be aware of cost as a college student, there are things you can’t control with adopted pets,” alumna Danielle Backes said.
One of the most important aspects is the time commitment. As college students, we are very busy attending class, working and studying.
If you aren’t able to be home to take care of your animal then it is unfair to them. This is especially important if your choice is a dog or a puppy. If this is an issue, opt for a lower maintenance choice like a cat or a small pet, or reconsider getting an animal.
“Get it over the summer so you can have time to train it. Get on schedule for pottying and feeding ASAP. (This) helps get them potty trained faster,” student Morgan Mann said.
With all of these steps covered, you can finally start looking for the perfect pet. Adopting is the best option for college students due to lower fees and animals already being vetted for the first time.
Some local adoption options are Kentucky Humane Society, Metro Animal Services and Shamrock Foundation.
Breeders can be an option, but they’re very pricey and can be inhumane. If you go this route, make sure you’re prepared and do your research.
“Make sure you’re willing to shop around, pound, store or possibly Craigslist. Make sure you’re happy with the breed before committing to a cute puppy and then not wanting the dog when it’s grown out of the cute stages,” student Josh Bruggers said.
Whether you choose an energetic puppy, a senior cat or anything in-between, having a pet can have many benefits. Just make sure to be ready for the commitment. They’re called “fur babies” for a reason.
Photo by Megan Brewer / The Louisville Cardinal