As I sit here alone in my dorm room after being home for a week, I am hit with how much I miss just relaxing on my bed and hanging out with my cats. They rock. So then I get to thinking…how much work would an actual pet be? Hypothetically. Since I am not allowed to have any pets besides a fish in a 10 gallon tank in my dorm.
After thinking hard about it, I put together a list of pets on a comprehensive scale of the amount of work necessary to give them the awesome life that they deserve, all the while being college students. Because really, what did we do to deserve pets? We suck. But anyway, here goes.
- A pet rock. Very easy to maintain, sometimes you would not even remember that you had a pet! Can go wherever you go, except maybe out of the country, and no one would be the wiser. A good starter pet to see what you can handle.
- A beta fish. I have one of these myself, and I gotta say, Jeremy and I are pretty tight. Beta fish do not need filters, making them pretty cheap to take care of, so once you buy the basics, i.e. a bowl, rocks, food, you are pretty set for a while. Just make sure you condition the water properly if you are using your dorm’s tap water, and also just make sure to change the water in general. A don’t forget to feed them.
- A hamster. They basically chill by themselves in a cage all day, and really only need fed once a day. They don’t live too long, so it is not a huge time commitment. They do need exercise though, so a ball would be a good investment. They also can tend to be a little smelly, so be wary if you are putting them in a small space (i.e. a dorm room). Don’t wanna make your roommate totally hate you, ya know?
- A lizard. Requiring a little more set up than their rodent friends, the more common lizards are actually quite easy to take care of. The only need to eat a few times a week, but also typically eat live things. Which is a deal breaker for me. Also, they themselves do not smell, but their excrement certainly does, making it a necessity to clean their cage frequently.
- A cat. My personal favorite, cats rock. If you have the time and money to devote to one, I would totally recommend it. They do not need a crazy amount of attention like dogs, but you do need to make time for them and socialize. Their upkeep like taking them to the vet and making sure they are healthy can get pretty costly, along with their food and other supplies.
- A dog. I only recommend getting a dog if you have the space, time and money to devote to one. Dogs are freaking awesome, but if you spend all of your time at school, it is not fair to the animal to have to be without you for so long. They are very social creatures, and most breeds need stimulation and exercise to thrive. I know students in college that have dogs and they make it work very well, so it can happen, you just have to be fully aware of what you’re getting yourself into.
Pets are awesome and great to have, but they deserve the best of us every day. Before you make a trip to your local shelter or pet store, educate yourself on what you want and be certain that this is a commitment you can make. Most animals are too pure for this happy world. I wish you and all your future pets the absolute best.