Beware, puppy love requires time

Ashley Brooke Boyd | Cartoonist

College is a huge time commitment. While so many students say “I’m busy,” I don’t think that too many of them realize just how little time they have. From tangible events like classes, work and group meetings, to spontaneous happenings and time for rest and study, the clock can pass by rapidly.

One of the biggest time sinks is relationships. Making time for friends, and being with them during their successes and struggles can eat into our daily allowance of time and energy.

While it’s easy to think of these relationships as being only with other people, pets can also take up our time. Too many people think of animals as only existing to serve us and make us feel more comfortable and loved. At best, this results in a somewhat one-sided relationship, where pets spend much of the day at home without the attention of owners, and at worst, can cause people to do harmful things with their pets, including exposing their pets to drugs and alcohol.

Pets are a lot of effort, as plenty of parents have described to teary-eyed children. With a full-time student schedule, the situation is exacerbated. While many students can’t imagine a world without their fuzzy friends, it may be the best course of action for both the pet and the owner. It is important to realize that pets require relationships and exercise just like students, and prospective owners should consider their schedules and decide if they’re really willing to commit that time.

There also are issues with bringing pets from home. While many people miss Fido or Mittens from back in their home state, it should be considered that often such pets have lived in one home their entire life.

While the family pet may love spending time with their student, they also are missing their other family members, their home, and the familiarity of a location. Depending on their original home, many animals aren’t suited for the humidity and heat of Waco, and may suffer, especially in the summer months. All of these effects can combine and wear down on an animal, and lead to a situation in which they probably should have stayed at home with their parents.

While animals are great, it’s wise that any pet-lover’s desires for fuzzy affection be fulfilled through service in local animal services, which provide a great assortment of activities that help to comfort both the animal and human soul. For example, the Humane Society of Central Texas offers volunteers opportunities to walk dogs, provide care and socialization to cats and other small mammals, and also help with adoption activities. For more information on such activities, visit the Humane Society webpage.

Everyone needs help and companionship during college. But with so many worries about caring for a pet: their comfort, their exercise, and their health, it’s often best to leave them home or refuse to adopt until one has more time and flexibility to care for them.