Pets serve as companions

Does having a pet fill the empty space?

Pets just may be the best way to cure loneliness.

One of the primary reasons for living alone would be for privacy, but living alone can be quite lonesome. So, what do a college students do to feel at home? They buy pets!

Alyssa Richards, 20, sophomore from Pasadena, Calif. majoring in physical therapy looks forward to purchasing her first pet this summer.

She currently resides in a one-bedroom apartment, and she wants a Bichon Frise.

“Because you can hold them, smaller dogs are more content in the presence of human company,” Richards said. “The company of a pet is sometimes better than another person because they don’t talk.”

According to an employee at Petland in Tallahassee Mall, most students do buy small dogs, weighing no more than 20 pounds.

“Students generally don’t buy larger dogs unless they are going to stay here (Tallahassee) for a while,” Richards said.

Some students feel more secure having a big dog around. Chandra Cannon, 20, a second year pharmacy student from Columbia, S.C., owns a 1-year-old purebred pittbull named Princess. She has lived in her apartment for eight months.

“I feel better to know that she is there when I get home,” Cannon said. “Princess doesn’t get along with outside people. She’s a real protective dog.”

Cannon also feels her pet has human characteristics. She said that she does not really talk to Princess by making commands, but she talks to her more like another human being.

Cannon enjoys the company of her dog but she admits it can be demanding at times.

“The bad thing is sometimes when I am out I have to stop what I’m doing to take her out,” she said. “I take her out four to five times a day.”

Although having a pet is time consuming Cannon said that their dogs have never interfered with school.

Not only does it take a lot of time and energy to take care of a pet, but it can also be very expensive.

Cannon’s said she buys dog food once every three weeks at the price of $25 a bag. Fees for monthly visits to the veterinarian are from $100 to $200.

In addition to dog food and doctor’s visits having a dog also limits mobility.

Whenever a trip out of town is planned a trip to a kennel or a friends home is also necessary.

“You can’t just get up and go,” said Cannon. She left her dog with a local kennel over the spring break. She discovered that kennels are not always safe because, other animals can carry and spread germs to their pets. That could result in spending more money for treatment of contracted diseases.

Carol Hoover, owner of Carol’s Critters, said, “Some of the more popular animals that students buy are reptiles and fish because they are easier care for and they do fine in apartments.”

Hoover said,” Students can leave these types of animals at any given time.”

The extent of responsibilities for taking care of a pet sometimes depends on the type of animal.

Often times opting for having a great companion as a pet rather than a messy roommate may be the best decision.

Remember that anything worth having comes with a price. If owning a pet seems too overwhelming, students can volunteer to work at a shelter.

Contact Christy G. Bennett at