My View: Pets at University

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love animals, particularly my border collie, Bailey. I fell in love with him when I was walking dogs at a local animal shelter and my parents were brave enough to adopt him as the family pet about six or seven years ago. Being away from him at university is difficult, but I know he’s better off at home where he can get the attention he needs.

However, some people do bring their pets with them to university, particularly in apartment residences. My apartment does allow small pets if you pay a fee, but I think that for the most part, having pets, especially dogs, at university is selfish and unwise.

First and foremost, most people don’t have the time to care for pets while in university. Cats and dogs are high maintenance and full time students (a lot of which work part-time, too) simply can’t give the animals the attention they need if they’re in class for a lot of the day and work. Even older pets still require a lot of attention and care. Animals need to be trained, fed, pet, walked, played with and more. Lack of attention can give pets anxiety, which can cause them emotional distress and some breeds will even resort to tearing apart the house in times of extreme anxiety.

Then, there’s the money issue. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know a lot of university students who have a whole lot of money to spare. Pets are expensive: adoption fees, apartment pet fees, supplies, vet appointments, emergency health issues and more can really add up.

Some people might argue that their roommates will help with the pet. However, your roommates are likely to be full time students and possibly working, as well, which probably means they’ll be gone a lot of the day, too. Even if they do decide to help, there has to be very clear boundaries on where that line is and any misunderstandings or bad behavior from the pet can lead to tension. Not to mention, your roommates are for a year, a pet is for a decade, give or take a few years. You won’t be with these roommates your whole life and in the future, you might have randomly allocated roommates who are allergic to dogs, don’t like them (although I have no idea how anyone can actively dislike dogs), have another pet that doesn’t get along with your animal or simply doesn’t want them in the house. You will also be limited in your future residences as a lot of places don’t allow pets.

All in all, I don’t think it’s a great idea to have pets at university. My roommate has a small dog and my good friend has a kitten and while they’re both adorable and well-behaved, I still can’t agree with the idea. It’s generous that you want to adopt a dog in need, but as a full time university student, you probably won’t be able to give any animal the kind of care they need. If you want to help out, donate your time, money or pet supplies to a local shelter.


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