When it’s time to head off to college, students must leave everything behind. That includes the family pet. Once they get to college, students begin to realize how hard it is, making it difficult for them to adjust.
To make matters worse, students aren’t able to receive comfort from their beloved pets. This may cause them to adopt new pets.
But are these students ready to care for an animal? After all, they are already struggling to learn how to take care of themselves and live away from home.
This is a serious issue that must be addressed, and that’s what we are going to do in this article. Read on to learn more.
College Students Need to Adopt for the Right Reasons
As already mentioned, many students desire comfort while adjusting to college life. Although that’s understandable, that reason alone isn’t enough to justify adopting a pet.
Because caring for an animal is a long-term commitment that extends beyond the student’s current phase in life.
That means students must continue caring for their pets even when they no longer need as much comfort.
When that time comes, will the student still be interested in having a pet? Or will there be a loss of interest and willingness to provide adequate care?
Each student that wants to adopt a pet must be honest when answering those questions. Otherwise, their pets might suffer from neglect.
Do They Have Enough Time and Money?
After assessing their willingness to make a long-term commitment, some students will realize they don’t mind it at all.
That’s great. But that still doesn’t mean the student is able to provide sufficient care.
Remember, caring for a pet takes time. And so does college.
Between studying for tests, completing homework, attending classes, and hanging out with friends, most students don’t have many hours to spare for pet care. Whether intentional or not, this could lead to neglect.
Students must also think about the financial burden of pet care. Our furry friends can be pretty expensive, but many students don’t have a lot of extra money to work with. They might even struggle to buy enough food for themselves.
If students have a hard time making ends meet, they probably can’t cover the cost of pet care on their own. They would need help from their parents. But not every parent is willing to provide that help.
The Consequences of a Rash Decision
We all make bad choices from time to time. Unfortunately, when it comes to pet adoptions, a poor decision affects another living creature. One that had no say in the matter.
That’s why every college student that wants to adopt a pet must be made aware of the devastating consequences that could result from a rash decision.
Those consequences include:
- Returning the pet to the shelter
- Loneliness and boredom (If the student is too busy for the pet)
- Anxiety and behavioral problems (Caused by loneliness and boredom)
- Financial hardships
- Inability to afford necessary veterinary treatments
At the very least, students will be stressed to the max while trying to care for pets they aren’t ready for. And that stress will only add to the pressure they already feel from their college classes.
If students are made aware of these possible outcomes, they will be far less likely to rush off to the shelter and adopt a pet. Instead, they will seriously consider whether or not they are ready to become pet parents.
How to Encourage Responsible Pet Adoption
Thankfully, many animal shelters require potential adopters to go through a screening process. This weeds out many of the people who aren’t ready to adopt a pet. But it’s not a fool-proof process.
That’s why we can’t just rely on a shelter’s screening process to select the best candidates for pet ownership. Education also plays an important role in preventing irresponsible pet adoptions.
When college students are educated on this subject, they will be equipped to make good decisions. As a result, many of them will choose to wait until they are ready to adopt a pet.
It’s best to begin this education before students reach college age. The sooner kids learn about responsible pet ownership, the more likely they will be to put those lessons into action when they head off to college.
Many kids learn about responsible pet care from firsthand experience. But others don’t have pets at home.
To ensure all kids get the opportunity to learn about responsible pet care, this topic should be taught in the school classroom.
Some teachers provide these lessons by keeping a class pet. Others invite pets and their owners to visit the class. Teachers can also schedule animal story time or plan a field trip to the local animal shelter.
But it’s not just kids that need to be educated. Everyone needs to learn about responsible pet adoption.
Rescue organizations are responding to this need with education campaigns. These campaigns increase the public’s knowledge of responsible pet ownership, resulting in fewer irresponsible adoptions.
While some campaigns specifically target college students, many of them are used to reach people of all ages and backgrounds.
Many young college students are desperate for comfort, which could cause them to quickly adopt a pet without thinking about it. These students clearly need a lesson in responsible pet adoption.
When they fail to consider the long-term consequences of adopting a pet, they may bite off more than they can chew. Sadly, the animal will end up suffering from this poor decision.
That’s why education is key. If students learn to think before adopting, they can avoid the stress and heartbreak that results from irresponsible pet adoptions.
In the long run, this will benefit both students and pets.