North Texas Daily

Do not own a dog in college

Do not own a dog in college

Do not own a dog in college
July 26
12:31 2017

As much as people love having pets, college is far from a safe haven for them.

Last year, I worked for my apartment complex and helped renovate all the units before our new residents moved in. On my way to an apartment one morning, I stopped to pet a shaggy poodle left out on a balcony. Around noon, I made my way back to the office to grab lunch and saw the dog was still left out on the balcony. As I passed by the same apartment one last time, at 8 p.m., the dog was still left outside.

The owner finally returned home and brought her dog inside, but this was not the first time I had seen this in the two weeks we were renovating apartments. Almost every unit containing a dog was in disrepair, and the dogs were usually kenneled for four or more hours without access to food or water. The carpet was usually torn up and the walls had been chewed on relentlessly.

Most students can’t bear to sit in a lecture hall for more than an hour, so why would they cage up a dog for an entire afternoon?

The time obligation associated with having a dog is easily overlooked. No one is lying when they say owning a dog is like having a baby. A dog will require an abundance of time and attention, and rightfully so. A dog is not a companion you can just pick up when you need them and lock away when they are inconvenient.

Taking on a full course load is time-consuming enough. However, if you join organizations, must attend tutoring or participate in a group project, you might only find yourself at home for a few hours during the day. Your dog does not deserve to be locked away because of this. Puppies are only supposed to be left in their crates for a few hours at a time. Adult dogs can withstand to be crated for a longer period of time but doing this continually can damage their mental health.

Summer vacations are awful times for dogs owned by college kids. There is a strong correlation between the number of dogs dropped off at shelters and the beginning of summer break for college students.

As young adults, it is normal to want to travel and go on vacations with family and friends. What is not acceptable is adopting a dog while you’re lonely in your apartment and then ditching them once you can go home or on vacation. Sure, there are places that allow pets and families who are okay with students bringing a dog home, but this isn’t always the case.

Another problem with owning a dog in college is the cost of owning the pet. Beyond the obvious expenses – food, toys and kennels – one must also pay to have their pet live with them. Most apartment complexes do not allow pets, but the ones that do generally have very strict rules and fees. At Timberlinks Apartments in Denton, you must pay a one-time $350 fee, a $150 deposit and an additional $15 of pet rent each month.

College students who don’t wish to pay fees and deposits associated with pet ownership find themselves having to abandon their animal once management finds the illegal pet. Some fines run as high as $250, in addition to removing the animal from the property within 24 hours. When there isn’t a relative to hand the pet off to, these dogs end up in shelters.

To avoid these kinds of incidents, some shelter employees will call the apartment complexes themselves to ensure the pet will have a home. Gino Alexander, a community assistant at Uptown Apartments, talks with the Linda McNatt Animal Care and Adoption Center regularly.

“We get calls every week from a shelter employee asking what our pet policy is before one of our residents is able to adopt a pet,” Alexander said. “It helps us and the pet because we hate having to fine the residents and put the pets at risk.”

All things considered, having a dog in college is a serious investment. You must invest much more than just time and money to properly care for your companion. Adopting pets is only noble if you have the resources to do so. Most college students forget to feed themselves so taking responsibility for another life should be out of the question.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

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Amanda Lee

Amanda Lee

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