Do I adopt?

When I came to college, all I wanted to do was get another pet.  For the past three years, I’ve refrained from doing so (granted that first year was 100% because I wasn’t allowed to have animals in the dorm and the second was because my apartment complex had a strict no pet policy).  Now that I live in a pet-friendly area, all I’ve wanted to do was get a pet, because when you grow up around animals and spend all your days around animals, you kind of just want to come home to an animal, HOWEVER, I’ve been reluctant to do so.  Not because I can’t take care of a cat right now, or because I don’t think I have the time to put into it.  I have yet to get myself another pet because I’m an undergraduate senior who has absolutely no idea where I’m going to be next year and I don’t want to take responsibility for anything not knowing what the status of my life will be a year from now.  Whether that is me being cautious or generally responsible, I have no idea, but I know that right now that is the best decision for me even if I would love to care for an animal.

Many people want an animal, but are so unsure if it’s the right time or if they can deal with it, so I decided to make a list of some considerations you should have before adopting.  Before I go into this list, I will add that this list is not the end all be all of deciding whether or not you should adopt.  Each person is different and their situations will be different, so you have to decide that based on the factors that affect your life personally.

 

  • Money

Animals are expensive.  That is just fact.  Obviously there are things that can be done to minimize the cost of having an animal, such as DIY animal products and finding vets that provide deals on first visits and what not, but at the end of the day you’re going to need to budget money out for your pet each month.  For most pets, on the lower end, they can be around $150-200 a year (which honestly is generally manageable), but this amount is also dependent on breed, size, living quarters and any kind of surprise medical treatments.  So before you look into adopting, make sure that you would be able to have a savings in the case of an emergency.  In general have enough money for food and other necessities for an animal each month.  (If you’d like me to make an article in the future about budgeting out necessities for different house pets make sure to let me know and I’ll be sure to do that!)

 

  • Living Situations

My second year of college, I live in an apartment building that was not pet friendly at all.  This was obviously the main reason I didn’t get a pet that year (alongside the fact that one of my roommates was apparently deadly allergic to cat but I’ll talk about that later).  Basically, where you live dictates a lot of whether or not you should adopt an animal at the moment.  The three main factors are

  1. Can you have a pet
  2. Is there space for the pet
  3. Are roommates okay with it

If you’re renting, you have to make sure your landlord is okay with you having a pet.  For many places that are pet-friendly, they also require you to put down a pet deposit (going back to money), which I honestly recommend you do instead of “hiding the fact” from the landlord.  For other places, they may have breed restrictions on dogs and that is something to look at and notice.  Basically, if you’re going to be moving around a lot in the upcoming years you have to make sure that you are willing to make that extra expenditure to make sure that your pet can stay wherever you go.  

Space is also a huge issue for a lot of people.  If you’re living in a small studio apartment, it may not be the place to adopt a huge Mastiff, however a cat or a small dog would be perfect for that kind of scenario.  If you’re living with roommates, are they okay with having an extra living thing in the place?  These are very large considerations to make before adopting a pet.

 

  • Allergies

This is going to be a small point, but DON’T ADOPT A PET THAT YOU’RE ALLERGIC TOO.  Even if your allergies are minor, sooner or later (more likely sooner) it will become too much for you and you can only take so much allergy medication.  If you have pet dander allergies, make sure to look at hypoallergenic breeds so that both you and the pet can live (and cuddle) comfortably.

 

  • Can you commit?

This is so important.  Can you commit to your pet?  Remember that a dog or a cat is a 13+ year commitment.  You are raising them, taking care of them, and making sure that they are living good lives for over a decade.  Before you adopt a pet, you have to really consider if this is the right move for you, if you are willing or able to give this being comfortable living for the rest of it’s life.  Obviously, over a decade things change and your life will change.  The real question is, will you be able to adapt to this change with a pet in your life.  If you know that you have plans in the future that may not be able to accommodate for that, maybe a pet is not right for you.

 

Like I said previously, this list is not a fully comprehensive list.  Adopting a pet is a very personal decision, and while I encourage everyone to adopt if they can, it’s perfectly fine if you can not.  Honestly, it’s respectable when someone knows that they just can not do it right now.  So if right now is not the best time for a pet, that’s okay!  Just make sure you become friends with your neighbors with cats and dogs so you can play with them anyways 🙂

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