As Told by Tam: Having a dog in college

Tamra Smalewitz

Dogs from all around Fort Collins gather at City Park Pool to participate in the Pooch Plunge. Photo credit: Miranda Moses
Dogs from all around Fort Collins gather at City Park Pool to participate in the Pooch Plunge. (Photo courtesy of Miranda Moses)

I am the first person to admit that I would love to have a dog in college. Who wouldn’t? Dogs seem to know when you are upset and need some cuddling, and they always want to play with you. I’ve grown up with a dog always around, but when I came to college it was an adjustment not to be around a dog all day.

I had joked with my parents last year that I was going to buy a dog on Valentines Day because they were only $14 at the rescue shelter. My parents did not think it was such a funny joke. They got mad and told me they would not help pay for college if I bought a dog. So that the was the end of me joking about buying a dog in college.

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When I walk around campus, though, there are all these dogs walking around. They are all over town and my apartment building too. So many college students are walking around with dogs now, it’s crazy.

I do not think it is right for college students to have dogs while attending college because it isn’t fair to you or the dog.

1. Even adoption comes with a price tag

Dogs are not cheap to buy. Some dogs, including rescue dogs, cost hundreds of dollars up front just to take home, and that often doesn’t include the cost of food, accessories, or vet bills.

2. Your dog stays at home while you’re gone all day

It is not fair to the dog when you’re gone all day. While you are in class, hanging out or grabbing food with friends, your dog is home alone. Dogs need space to run around and go to the bathroom. They also need to be let out more than a couple of hours a day to do their business. Dogs are left home alone while you are out, which leaves them to have accidents in your place, which ultimately causes you to become upset with the dog for something that is really your fault.

De-stress with dogs was an event brought by RamEvents with the aim of providing students the opportunity of having fun and loosing up with excited - and very cute - dogs.
De-stress with dogs was an event brought by RamEvents with the aim of providing students the opportunity of having fun and loosing up with excited – and very cute – dogs. (Photo courtesy of the Collegian Archive)

3. Dogs are a continuous cost

Dogs have hidden costs that never go away. Not only do you have to buy dog food, but you need bowls to put food and water in, flee medicine, vet money (you never know when dogs will need to go to the vet), and you have to give dogs baths every now and then (aka, doggy shampoo). Not to mention leashes, dog beds, toys, etc. You also need to train your dog or get your dog a trainer, which costs money. Dogs can also have a medical emergency at any time, which will cost you a ton of money in emergency vet bills. Dogs have all these extra expenses and do not come with a warning tag.

4. You have to put your dog’s needs before your own

Some say they use their dogs as emotional support animals during college. That is completely understandable, but before you go buying a dog because of your needs, please remember how beneficial your choice will be for the dog. If you have a big enough house (not an apartment) and have an accommodating schedule that allows you to have the dog and take it out multiple time during the day, then I say go for it and buy a dog. Just make sure you have the ability to care for the dogs needs, which sometimes means staying home with the dog and not hanging out with your friends.

If you are going to get a dog, please rescue a dog. Puppies are cute and all, but there are so many dogs that need good homes and just want to be loved.

Collegian writer Tamra Smalewitz can be reached at blogs@collegian.com or on Twitter at @tamrasmalewitz.