Animals bring out the best, and worst, in people. Walk into any shelter or humane society and you can see dogs that are perfectly happy and have spent their entire lives abused and neglected.

Being in college, one of the best things about being on your own is being able to get a pet. With the craziness of college and a job, life can seem overwhelming and it can be easy to fall into a bad cycle of stress. Having a pet can help break that cycle. Even if you don't want to take care of yourself, you have to take care of your pet. Caring for your pet can kickstart you into caring for yourself and getting up and getting work done.

However, that brings up the question: where should you get your pet from?

Many people want purebred dogs bought from breeders or pet shops, but I have to put in my case to adopt, don't shop. You can spend months looking for the perfect puppy and pay hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a dog. While there's nothing wrong with that, I believe everyone should visit their local shelter before making the decision to buy a dog that way.

There are plenty of amazing, friendly dogs awaiting their forever home sitting in shelters. They're not expensive, their adoption fee is simply paying for the fee of spaying or neutering the dog. Most of them are up to date on shots, are neutered/spayed, and even potty trained. While most shelter dogs are not purebred or little puppies, they're still dogs who deserve love. Most people would be surprised at how friendly and warm the dogs in shelters are, and you never know, you may find the one there. Shelters also offer night-aways, where you can keep a dog or cat for a few nights as a test run and bring it back in case you don't click.

Most people looking for a dog want to buy a puppy and don't consider adopting a dog, especially an older one who's over a year or two old. However, if you're considering getting a pet, please look around your local shelter or humane society first. You may be surprised at the animals you find there.