College students too often adopt a dog without thinking about the long-term responsibility it requires.
Before deciding to go to the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or humane society to pick out the perfect pooch, think about this:
A humane society near the University of Michigan noted a 30 percent increase in the number of dogs that are abandoned at the end of school each year, according to the student newspaper The Michigan Daily.
Students at the University of Kansas abandon about 1,100 pets every year, Midge Grinstead, executive director of the Lawrence Humane Society near the university, said to the World and I, a monthly online magazine. Dogs are abandoned every year because many students are not mature enough to handle taking care of one full time.
Students may lack the money to care for dogs while struggling to keep themselves financially afloat. When students finish school, the dog is often left behind if parents or new landlords don’t allow them.
This can be difficult for students as often grow close to their dog.
According to a study at Ohio State University, 18 percent of college students agree that dogs help them cope. For many students, a dog is a perfect solution to loneliness.
A 2008 study published in Society and Animals found that college students may benefit from having a pet as it may help relieve stress. Dogs are loyal and won’t break up with you, even if your significant other dumps you for someone else.
Although this help comes at a cost.
Finanical cost is an important thing a college student should consider when thinking about getting a dog.
The annual cost of dog ownership, according to the American Kennel Club, is about $2,500. This estimate does not even include the pet deposit at an apartment or the additional monthly fee that many apartments charge.
The cost of keeping a dog is continuous, and food and medical attention are necessities that cannot be delayed until financial aid disperses. A dog owner will have to prioritize caring for a dog by walking it a few times per day, feeding it and showing it affection. Grooming is another important, time-consuming and costly task that pet owners need to consider.
So before deciding if owning a dog during college is right, students need to ensure that they understand all the benefits and responsibilities it will entail.
Dogs can be beneficial to students struggling with loneliness, depression and stress, but college students need to understand that a dog takes a considerable amount of time and energy. Students must think twice about adoption.
Regina Farrell is a junior majoring in art history.