It’s tough leaving home, especially when home and college are far from each other. Despite the prolonged desire for independence, family life is one of the things (along with home-cooked meals) that are missed from an early point. In my case, I seek things that will evoke a semblance of home-life. And one of these is pets. I love pets. I love the company they provide.
Note that animals are not allowed in dormitories. However, this is a rule most commonly disregarded by students. Small caged animals like birds and rodents are most common, and fish are found often too. But you can’t cuddle with a fish.
If you are planning to violate dorm rules and have a pet, you need to consider some important things:
- Cost: If you are struggling to feed yourself on your student budget, pet food is probably not going to help your monthly expenditure much. Vet bills are also quite pricey.
- Attention and Affection: Many pets need your love and attention (I can’t speak for fish). If you are a busy body, consider the fairness to the pet of leaving him/her locked up all day.
- Reactions: If you have a roommate, you MUST get their permission first. It’s the right thing to do.
- Pollution: Animals have bowel movements and make noise, sometimes. Consider the pet type and whether you can deal with their activities. Dorm rooms are small, which generally make it more difficult to deal with these things.
- Holidays and Weekends: Can you take your pet home with you, or will someone look after it when you are away?
Exhibit A: My Bonsai
Bonsais are awesome. Some people consider it cruel, I don’t know, but I’m tiny and bonsais are tiny, and I like them. I bought this one with some birthday money in my second year. She never got a name, but she definitely brightened my days. And she was so low maintenance (earlier this year I bought a pot of lavender, which summarily died). Sadly she died one summer while being babysat.
Exhibit B: Aimee the Guinea Pig
I planned for Aimee for a long time, but finally got her shortly after I was elected to student government for the first time. She was so lovable and wanted a lot of attention – which I realised I wasn’t going to be able to give, considering the amount of time Student Government required of me. So I gave her to a good home.
Exhibit C: Loki the Rescue Cat
Loki belongs to my neighbour at residence. We have a pretty good set-up, allowing for Loki to socialise with the other campus animals while Neighbour is at her classes (our rooms open to the outside, not to a hallway). Loki visits me regularly, and when Neighbour goes away for a weekend, there are many other students willing to pet-sit.
I want a puppy. But I really shouldn’t. In my situation, it would not be fair to the puppy – especially if SAS works out. Do/did you have a pet while in college?