A pet can teach a college student responsibility

College can be stressful and leaves many people feeling homesick. Getting a pet is a huge responsibility, but provides a companionship comparable to family.  Having a pet in college can help curb depression and add to your college experience.

For some students who are used to having animals, the choice was a easy one.

“I always had a dog in my house while growing up so it was only natural I had one in my own home,” said Jessica Toye, a criminal justice student from West Palm Beach explained. “Personally, it’s always good to have a friend who’s excited to see you when you get home.”

Toye is the proud owner of a Shih Tzu named Bailey, but she said having a pet is not without its drawbacks, most of them financial ones. Most students don’t realize the financial burden a pet can have.

“While having a pet in college is amazing, it is definitely time consuming and a financial responsibility that most people forget about,” Toye said. “Her vet expenses, food, toys and grooming all come out of my personal pocket.”

However, she said all of these responsibilities come with benefits.

“Having a dog actually made me more mature, as funny as that sounds, because I’m not only looking out just for me anymore.” Toye said.

There are also students who love every aspect of having a pet. For them, the good far outweighs the bad. Companionship is a natural craving for a human being. In college, away from family and all things familiar, we crave companionship even more.

Kat McDonald, a business student at Florida State University from Satellite Beach, has fallen in love with her pup.

“It’s absolutely perfect,” McDonald said. “I love her more and more everyday! Wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I rescued her from a shelter, but I think she rescued me.”

Mcdonald recommends getting a pet for anyone thinking of having a furry friend.

“It’s the greatest feeling to come home to her everyday. She’s always happy and loyal, so yes, yes, yes, get a pet!”

Although getting a pet comes with responsibilities, it can be a positive thing. After college responsibilities can hit the average twenty-something like a ton of bricks, learning to be accountable for a pet could help ease the process.

Laura Lee Tibbits has been a receptionist at Westwood Animal Hospital for 11 years and loves that college students get pets, but as long as they consider all aspects of pet ownership.

“If they realize that it’s a financial decision and consider vaccines, emergencies and think about what will happen to the animal after they graduate, then I see nothing wrong with it,” Tibbits said. “Do the research to find out the cost and responsibilities involved first.”

She also recommends going to an animal shelter if one decides to get a pet.

“I would definitely recommend rescuing an animal before purchasing one any day,” Tibbits said. “You’re saving an animal that is at risk of being put to sleep.”