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Companionship comes at a price for both people and pets

By Christina Uptain
On April 3, 2018

Cute, cuddly, exotic, small and large - pets come in all shapes, sizes and species. Most people at some point, especially when young, will have or want a companion of some sort that is not human.  

College life can have its share of coping with challenges and loneliness which for some, leads to feelings of being homesick that can leave an emotional void.  

It can be tempting to consider getting a pet to help with filling emptiness one may feel. 

However, there are several points that need careful deliberation before committing to caring for a creature who will be dependent for everything they need to not just survive but have a good quality of life themselves while providing benefits to their human counterparts.  

No one intends for an animal to end up in a shelter however according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), millions of animals each year (mainly cats and dogs) end up outside of homes for reasons defined as “problematic and aggressive behaviors, growing larger than expected or health problems the owner couldn’t handle.”  

While adoption and reuniting efforts have been helpful in the last several years to reduce the number of shelter animals, the truth is as the only species on this planet with cognitive higher thinking and reasoning, humans should be more responsible with pet ownership.

Let’s look at four important questions to ask and answer when considering pet ownership and prior to making a decision, provided by PetMD.com:

Can you commit? Even low maintenance animals have needs that cannot be ignored so having the time to care for and providing for an animal properly must be a priority. There are several animals out there who live a long time so make sure to think about the future as well as the present when weighing the pros and cons of having a pet.

Will a pet fit your lifestyle? One of the biggest mistakes some make is not doing thorough research before bringing an animal into their lives or try to make an animal fit into a situation that is not right for them. This includes space, temperament, cost of items such as food and medical care, size of the animal at full growth, future family plans… the list goes on and on.

Can you really afford a pet? Talk to a veterinarian before choosing an animal. Medical expenses are among one of the top reasons animals end up in shelters so talking to a vet prior can help with understanding what costs are associated with pet ownership and knowing what is required by law to maintain public health.

Are you a patient person? Be prepared for an adjustment period. This will be for humans and animals alike. Both sides will need to get to know each other and the animal will also have to adjust to its new surroundings, living without littermates or their mother, being around other animals, settle into a routine, etc. This will not happen overnight and takes quite a bit patience and repetition. 

There are several studies that show owning a pet can provide many health benefits along with companionship. Pets most certainly can provide unconditional love for many years to those who properly care for them.  

With knowledge, understanding, planning and being prepared, the number of animals who end up in shelters can continue to decrease with the coming years and adoption efforts can find homes for those who are in need.  

Also, consider adoption instead of buying from a breeder if in the market for a pet - there are a lot of good animals who just need to find the right human to love and be loved in return, and find their fur-ever home. 

 

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