Should College Students Become Pet Owners?

Should College Students Become Pet Owners?

A growing number of college students have begun adopting pets, but what is the true cost of that doggy in the window?

We all know more than one college pet owner. From everyday pets like dogs or cats, to obscure animals like geckos and certain fish, college students are among the growing population of pet owners due to loneliness, camaraderie, and even to attract attention from females.

But just at what cost really is that doggy in the window?

Dog and other pet owners require countless hours of attention, something that many college students cannot provide. According to USA Today, the average college student studies anywhere from 17 to 45 hours per week. In addition, College Parents of America say that college students who use alcohol, tend to do so about 9 to 10 hours per week.

However, pets require many hours of attention themselves, far beyond the simple task of a lifetime of loving them. Pets require regular schedules to be taken outside and/or cleaned, fed, their bathroom duties removed from yards, bowls, litter boxes, etc., and do not come cheap. Most houses or apartments that college students live in have strict rules about pets, either charging a hefty fee to raise a pet or ban them all together. They also come with fees of shots, medications, illnesses, teeth cleaning, food, obedience classes, etc. According to Fox, raising a puppy can cost anywhere from $4,620 and $32,990 over its lifetime.

So, are college students really fit to be raising these pets?

I personally have heard of friends saying they watched a pet be abused when someone was inebriated while others completely gave up caring for their pet all together— allowing him/her to drink from the leftover cups of alcohol on the ground, or not cleaning their litter box for over three months. Now, I don't want to get all Sarah McLaughlin on you, but this is appalling.

Pets should be loved and cared for at all times. Students need to come to the realization that adopting or buying a pet in college requires intense amounts of time and money. This cannot be done if you spend every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at Brick Street, or while cramming for exams while your precious puppy feels unloved and neglected peeing in the corner because it has not been taken outside. In addition, the college student stigma of being broke is not used lightly. There are some exceptions to the standard, however, but most college students are on tight budgets due to the high expenses of attending a university.

It is important to address the growing number of college students who are adopting and raising pets, as well as the treatment of those pets. College students need to be aware that with raising a pet, comes a complete lifestyle change. You will have to put studies in the back seat from time to time, and stay in on a 90s night while your friends are out. Can you do this? If not, pet lovers, do not fret. You can spend time volunteering at a local animal shelter or getting involved with fostering a dog for a week or two, just recognize what is best for the both of you— you, and that furry, scaly, or whiskered best friend of yours.

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.

I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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To The First School Pony I Ever Rode, And Still Love

Although its been around 9 years since I've ridden Change, I still remember all he taught me.


Here's some background. It was my 4th birthday that started my love for horses. My parents and I lived in this house that had an acre plot of land, perfect for the best birthday parties. This birthday party, in particular, consisted of ponies.

My father rented one of those party organizations to bring a few ponies for my friends and me to ride, and that very day I said to my father, "I want to ride horses!" And the rest was history.

I started and still to this day ride at Level Green Riding School, a barn that became a second home to me at a young age. My first lesson, at the age of 6, was on this magical little pony, who now barely reaches my hips, Change. He was this fiery little pony who had some attitude but was incredibly patient with the young students.

I took my first few weeks of lessons on him and continued to on and off ride him for about two years after. Although we did little real work other than walk, trot, canter, then finally 18-inch jumping, I learned a lot from him.

So to my buddy Change,

Selena Spezio, 2009

Thank you for helping me grow my love for riding. Because of you, I have continued to pursue my passion for the sport. I have kept with it, even when I felt like a failure. There would be times when I felt horrible about a lesson, but because of you I keep with it and understand that there is always room for improvement.

Thanks to you, I understand that the horse is never to blame, but that I should reevaluate my position, attitude or technique to better my relationship with the horse I am on. The love I have for these animals stems from the small connection my young kind had with you.

I learned how to be humble. The little things we accomplished together, like my first time ever posting, where I looked like I was attached to a pole just standing up and sitting down, was a big moment, but I know it only happened because you helped me out. Image if I was on a wild pony who had an attitude and was out of control, those big moments would have come a lot harder.

The first time we jumped, oh what a joy. Although it was a small pile of poles at first, I felt free. I really saw what it was like to have a simple connection with a being.

Change, you taught me control, composure, and to have a great attitude no matter what. Those times when you were having a bad day and the first time you tried to buck me off, instead of being in fear, I just laughed and kicked you along.

You taught me the fun of this sport, and for that, I thank you with all my heart.

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