The freedom of college can allow for students to make all kinds of changes in their lives. Why not adopt a cat or dog? It may sound like a good idea, and maybe it is, but the problem occurs when people don’t think things all the way through.
The average yearly cost of owning a cat or dog is between $1,035 and $1,843, according to a study done by the ASPCA. Some college students struggle with taking care of their pets because they can’t afford necessities. In some case the owners abandon or unintentionally neglect them.
Plattsburgh State senior Gabrielle Battistiol, who has two cats Tinkerbell and Kitty, said “It’s not something you can do on a whim, and then change your mind.”
Battistiol said owning a pet should depend on your situation. “It costs money and time — people have to realize that.”
She suggested picking your pet wisely and making sure the situation is right for the both of you. “These pets will be with you for the next 13-15 years.”
Battistiol said that forgetting to feed your pet or not taking it to the vet may seem like no big deal, but people don’t realize they are neglecting their pets.
“The problem with younger people is that they don’t realize they’re doing anything wrong,” she said.
Battistiol, who grew up with cats in her house, said she likes the companionship.
Having cats worked out for her because they are not as high maintenance as dogs and are more independent. “With dogs, you have to walk them once or twice a day,” Battistiol said. “If a cat wants attention it’ll just come to you.”
She said college students should think before deciding to adopt an animal.
PSUC senior and Chi Phi fraternity member Matt Craig said, “It’s basically another human. It’s part of your life now.”
Craig, who got his dog Maple as a Valentine’s Day gift, said everything is dependent on how you manage your time.
Craig also suggests you take at least an hour out of your day to spend time with your pet. That means walking them even if the weather is not great.
“You can’t just be a dog owner on nice days,” he said.
A misconception of owning a pet is that behavior like barking or chewing things is a sign of a bad dog, but in reality the dog is probably bored and wants attention, Craig said.
“I believe that there are no bad dogs, just bad owners,” he said.
Board Member at the Adirondack Humane Society Bill Tallman said he has seen what “bad owners” can do to animals.
“A dog who has been abused or neglected is very nervous and anxious” Tallman said. “It will defend itself — you don’t want to approach like it’s a household pet.”
Tallman recalls an incident when a dog came in 50 pounds underweight. It took a very long time for it to become comfortable around humans and other animals.
Despite the extra stress a pet can bring, Craig can’t see himself without a dog. He stresses to his fellow college students that caring for a pet is no easy task.
“If you don’t know how to cook for yourself and clean then you really should reconsider getting a pet.”
Email David Luces at firstname.lastname@example.org.