An alternative roommate

Searching for a roommate is often a gamble. You can never be too sure how you will get along with someone until you live together.

But for USF student Dan Burton, finding a roommate couldn’t have been easier.

“Mick — he is my favorite roommate since I have been here at USF. This is my third year at college and he has made me grow up and become a mature person,” Burton said.

Burton adopted his dog at PETsMART and has been his best friend ever since.

“At first I was hesitant on adopting Mick, but now I would never regret it. Although he may not pay rent, he knows who is in charge,” Burton said.

Pets are one thing students usually give up when they move away from home. Dorms do not allow dogs and neither do many apartment complexes, forcing students to leave their furry companions at home.

“If you’re a real dog lover, you will find a place. At first I could not believe the amount of apartments around USF that were not dog friendly. But, although it took me a little longer, I was able to find one.”

Burton said students looking to become pet owners should search The search engine allows students to navigate for only those apartments that will allow pets.

Many students who buy dogs are not aware of the responsibilities involved.

“I was shocked at how much attention and exercise Mick needed,” Burton said. “It has made me go out more and become more physically fit.”

Shannon Peltier and Dan Hunter are both students at USF who adopted a dog.

“Whenever Dan is not home, I have Einstein, our dog. He will sit there and watch TV with me. He’ll keep me entertained, and he’s never like a rerun on TV,” Peltier said. “You have to tie yourself down; it’s kind of like preparation for a child, which is good.”

Angela Crouch, a USF student, said when she got a dog, her parents were upset.

“There are ways around the parents; tell them that the dog will protect you– they always like to hear that. Dogs are not only best friends; they are also protectors.” Crouch said.

Crouch takes her dog running every week.

There are many parks near USF that are pet friendly, including Riverfront and Lettuce Lake Park on Fletcher Avenue and Mango Dog Park, located off Interstate-4, Mango exit.

Burton said one of the benefits of adopting a pet is knowing that you can provide a good home for the dog or cat. The Humane Society in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties rescue pets that have been abused or are unwanted.

All of the dogs at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay are de-wormed, bathed, de-fleaed, micro-chipped and spayed or neutered prior to any adoptions.

Dogs can be adopted for $70 with an additional $10 for an animal license.

It is required by the Hillsborough and Pinellas counties’ Humane Society that potential owners provide written permission from the landlord confirming that their living arrangement allows pets. This can be in the form of a lease or a letter. This assures a secure placement for the pet.

Dogs also need routine shots and frequent vet visits, which are often costly.

“When I adopted Mick, I was a little worried about the financial part. I found cheap vaccination prices and the food and vet bills are not too bad,” Burton said. “Although one accident could wipe me out, I am prepared for anything now.”

Pet Supermarket provides low cost pet vaccinations. They are offered once a month and the price for a puppy pack, which includes the 7-in-1 shot, bordetella and deworming, is $32. Prices vary with the different needs of the animal. A rabies shot is also provided at a low cost.

All vaccines are available individually at a discount.

For more information, contact any Pet Supermarket or Animal Health Services: 888-680-PETS.

For more information about adoptions, call the Humane Society of Tampa Bay at 876-7138.