Navigate the unchartered waters before adding a pet to your life

By Hayden Cottrell | Reporter

Most of us love animals and want to have a pet in the future. However, before adopting one, you should make sure that doing so won’t put you or the animal in an uncomfortable situation.

A lack of companionship in college can make students feel so alone, and a lot of people adopt pets to help fill that void. There are lots of animals who need adopting, and we all know someone who has adopted one while at Baylor.

Although adopting a pet is fun in theory, it is a lot of work in practice. You have to bring them to the vet, stay on top of their vaccines and treatments, feed them, bathe them and coordinate your schedule around them. Those with dogs need to walk them consistently.

There can be major costs for college students. According to a 2021 study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the first-year cost of owning a dog is $3,221, while the annual cost is $1,391. For cats, the costs are slightly lower, with a first-year cost of $1,904 and an annual cost of $1,149. A lot of college students don’t typically have that much money available to spend on themselves each year, let alone on their pets.

Pets can bring you a lot of joy, but if having a pet means you have to sacrifice for yourself, then maybe you should consider waiting to get a pet. You deserve to be able to have food, have fun and spend time with friends. When the cost and the sacrifice are too much, pets are often returned to shelters, which only hurts them and their owners.

I’m not saying that no college student should ever get a pet. I’m saying that you should consider waiting to get one until you’re sure you can provide for yourself and your pet without making incredible sacrifices for either.

Pets are great, and I believe everyone should experience having one. You just need to make sure that both of you can live a happy and healthy life before adopting.