Adopting a pet? Are You Really Sure About That?

I had a friend who adopted two dogs from a pet shelter but could not tend to them properly as he was too busy with school work. Because they were neglected, they became aggressive. He then started calling them "bad boys," kicking, and beating them. Finally, he sent them back to the pet shelter. He was just one of many students that adopt pets after moving for college. However, it may not be such a good idea for a first time college student, or any for that matter, to adopt a pet.

Of course, adopting a pet can be one of the most surefire ways to help a shelter animal. Pets can also relieve stress from a person who may want a companion during their first experience living on their own.

i've seen many college students adopt pets only to take them back when they became too busy.

One friend of mine adopted a pet and quickly began to neglect it. After attending one of his many parties I found his cat, scared in his closet, hiding from the noise and guests.

Lastly, another friend adopted a dog, only to leave it looking for a home when she finished her education and moved back to her home country.

It can be especially difficult for international students to have a pet because their stays in the United States tend to be temporary and they choose not to take the pet along with them.

There is nothing wrong with an owner truly willing to adopt and care for a pet properly. But for those who adopt before establishing a secure living situation, moving back and forth between shelter and home is not the way a pet should live.

Stress among pets is often neglected with people not knowing the signs of stress, nor the reasons the stress is caused in the first place.

According to Petco, in dogs, the number one sign of stress is house soiling. Other signs also include increased irritability, illness, and/or destructive behavior. These stressors are caused mainly by changes in the environment, likely from the pets having to move back and forth after a person's change of heart.

A worker at West Los Angeles Animal Shelter, Christina Flores, said, "Many college students visit here and adopt pets, but students cannot take care of them and bring them back here, especially dogs. It happens a lot, all the time."

According to Flores, even though approximately eight to nine animals are sent to the shelter each day, only five are adopted each day on average.

"Students live with a bunch of roommates together in one place and adopt a dog, but when they move out, nobody wants to take care of the dog and [they] bring it here," said Stella Sullivan, another worker at the shelter.

"When it comes to having a dog, it is harder than having a cat because dogs are more dependent, just like having a kid," she said.

Students need ask themselves a few questions before deciding to adopt a pet. Do they know enough about the needs of the pet? Is their environment appropriate for a pet to live in? If roommates are involved, are they in agreement with the adoption? Do they have enough time and money to spend on the pet? Most importantly, what happens to the pet if they are unable to care for it any longer?

A pet should be considered much more than a simple expense. A pet should be treated as family not a toy to throw away once they've gotten bored.