Earning an undergraduate degree while taking on other responsibilities can add unnecessary stress to a college student’s life. It could result in lower grades, health issues, and even lead to dropping out of school. Perhaps one of the largest responsibilities to take on during college is owning a dog. The care for a dog requires a significant amount of effort, patience, time and most of all love. Although many will argue that owning a pet is too stressful a responsibility for a college student, those who have experienced it say otherwise.
Marissa Ariza is a senior dietetics and nutrition major who has owned her dog since here sophomore year in college. “She [her dog] is the best ‘person’ to have around when I just want to hang out, but not necessarily talk to people,” Ariza said.
Among all of the other stresses that college responsibilities tend to trigger, studies suggest that this particular responsibility could cause a student to feel more comforted and even happier. According to USA Today, researchers at Ohio State University confirmed that top reasons that college students own pets were to cope with adversity or to help feel less lonely.
Madeline Crawford is a senior communication sciences and disorders major who has owned her dog for nearly three years. She said that her dog comforts her weekly if not daily, and that she always has a friend who can give her unconditional love.
The owners also admit that the comfort and love their pets give is directly related to the amount of time and effort they are willing to contribute as owners. They both agreed that one of the biggest struggles of being a pet owner is finding the time to appropriately train him or her. Although the financial aspect is always relevant, the pet always needs to know who is in control so that he or she will have respect for the master, and remain a stellar pet.
“It has taught me discipline for myself,” Crawford said. “It has also shown me, in a way, what it will be like in the future when I have children and must care for and discipline them.”
Like several owners in the Oxford community, Ariza adopted her dog from the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society. Since she has adopted her dog several of her friends have been inspired and have adopted as well. This gave her a chance to make a difference in the community and contribute to saving multiple animals’ lives.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, only six to eight million of the 70 million dogs and cats enter humane societies to have the chance to be adopted each year. This gives college students the opportunity to help out the local shelter while reaping the benefits of a furry friend simultaneously.
Both owners said that they have no regrets after raising their dogs from puppies, and they each show interest in getting another animal someday in the future.
“I have a huge sense of pride in having a dog,” Ariza said. “I love feeling confident in the fact that I am capable of caring for her without asking for help from my parents, although she does get the occasional gifts from them.”