Samantha Schaefer–


Sometimes the transition from high school can be difficult – especially if you’re a freshman or coming from out of town and have to make new friends. So why not get a cute little puppy or kitten? Though it may seem like a brilliant idea at the time, it may not be so smart afterall.


The first thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the cost. With tuition, housing, food, recreational activities and other responsibilities, you need to ask yourself: Can I even afford a pet? First, you have to actually adopt or purchase the pet. After that’s done, it costs around $30-$50 per month to properly care for your average dog or cat. Not to mention, you’re likely to be replacing certain furniture or household items if you plan on getting a young and untrained pet.


The second and most important thing to take into consideration is the care. The hours you put into making your pet happy is essential. Even if you can afford a pet, do you have enough time to properly care for the pet? This doesn’t just mean coming home from school to let the dog out every six hours. Neither does it mean leaving your cat at home alone all day, because it can take care of itself. All of us can agree that pets need love, friendship and someone’s voice in their ears on a daily basis.


Not only do you need to be a good friend to your pet, but you need to be a good owner. This means teaching your pet good behavior. If not, have fun with all the torn up couches, pillows and shoes. This can be difficult with 12-15 hours of school each semester, homework each night, plus a job. Are you ready for that?


If you’re still convinced owning a pet as a college student is something you want to take on, a great alternative to remember is the smaller animals which can be kept as pets, such as birds, hamsters, rabbits and fish. Though these creatures also need a considerable amount of care, they’re definitely easier to maintain on a daily basis and are much more affordable.


Now, for those who think they’re capable of taking on a cat or a dog, always keep in mind adopting from shelters. Some adoption centers near U of L include the Animal House Adoption Center, The Humane Society and the Animal Care Society. Nobody wants to be that person that rescues a pet, thinking it will be easy to take care of, and then a couple months later drops it back off at a shelter because it’s too much for you. Instead of putting your pet back into the same situation you found them in, know from the get go what you’re getting yourself into and be responsible.


Lastly, if you do choose to adopt, think about spaying and neutering. There are several places around campus that snip for a cheap price, and there are even some freebie opportunities from time to time. Keep your animal clean and keep the amount of stray pets around campus at a minimum.