Pets can be ‘ruff’

The answer for many Wilfrid Laurier University students to adjust to the new atmosphere easier is to get a pet to accompany them.

Graphic by Shannon Millar
Graphic by Shannon Millar

Going away to school and leaving the comfort of your home can be a big adjustment for some students. The answer for many Wilfrid Laurier University students to adjust easier is to get a pet to accompany them.

Last year I fell into the cycle of wanting a pet. I happily purchased a betta fish, Sushi, complete with bowl, plants and seashells. Eight months later, I put Sushi up for adoption on Facebook. That’s right, all I had to do was feed it twice a day and clean its bowl, and it was too much work for me — I was officially over my pet craze.

What was surprising was the vast amount of comments I received of people desperately wanting to take the fish.

Sure a fish is hardly any responsibility, but there are some brave students at Laurier who are taking on a whole lot more than fish.

If you’re living alone, having a pet is no inconvenience to fellow roommates, or if you buy the pet with them it’s smooth sailing. This was the case for third-year Laurier student Marci Figueredo and her boyfriend Trevor Auiler, who made the decision to buy a pug last April.

Having their own house with a spacious backyard is puppy paradise. However, it’s not all bones and kibble.

“Dogs pee and poop everywhere and they are a lot of maintenance. Sometimes you just don’t have time for that,” said Figueredo. Auiler also pointed out it can be very expensive owning a puppy.

Dealing with roommates who have pets you didn’t sign up for can be challenging; Alex Sheehan, a third-year business student can attest to this.

Her roommate Lisa Porter, an economics student, decided to bring her cat Mercedes to their shared apartment this year.

Sheehan is not a fan of the cat, as she is allergic and often has to leave the apartment because of it.

“I try to keep her in my room when I’m not at home and I make sure the couches are vacuumed and sweep as much as possible,” said Porter.

Getting a pet in university may be a good bonding experience and as Figueredo points out, “They’re so loving and cheer you up when you’re stressed.” However, the added responsibility may not be ideal for everyone.

On top of exams, work schedules and having a social life, having a pet while being a student may be too much to take on.

Sure — having an animal in your apartment may sound like the best idea — but the reality of having to clean up after them and the expense might be more than you expect, and not always fair to your pet or your roommates.

Here’s some advice: start out with a fish. If the fish is too much for you, it’s time to say goodbye to the dream of having an adorable little puppy while being a student and stick to drooling over pet pictures on Instagram.

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