Man’s Best Friend in College?

Blonde and black dog sitting in the front seat of a car.

Is man’s best friend really his best friend in college?
It can be a tough decision to have a dog when students go off to college. They have to assume responsibilities that they did not have when they lived with a pet at home.
A dog brings comfort and joy to a person’s life. These are especially important as a person leaves for college in a new place. When living at home, students get that emotional support from family and friends. As students enter college, they may initially feel lonely.
Having a dog adds immediate, unconditional love to every moment of the day. When I come home each day, my dog Kane is always happy and excited to see me.
Safety is another benefit of having a pet in college. When students are on their own in an unfamiliar place for the first time, personal security is of utmost importance.
A dog can alert its owner in any potentially dangerous or uncomfortable situation.
“Living alone I find it so comforting having my dog to notify me if he hears someone or something outside, especially at night,” says Hannah Ericksen, a senior communication major at William Peace University. 
On the other hand, having a pet is a huge responsibility. A student’s freedom is limited by the demands of time and energy that pet requires.
On a daily basis, a dog needs to be taken out at specific times. A student has to plan his or her school and work schedule around the dog to accommodate the needs of the pet. If students want to go out of town, they must find someone to assume these responsibilities the entire time they are away.
“There are times when I want a pet, but then I remember that I am so busy with school and work that I do not have the time to care for one,” senior business major Ashlyn Caudle said.
Pets can also present a financial hardship. Food and immunizations are essential items that a student must maintain. If the pet gets sick or needs surgery, the bills may increase dramatically.
Having Kane fills an empty space in my life. Even though I may be alone at home, I do not feel that way because he is right there by my side. After a long day at work or school, I know I have a companion anxiously waiting on me at home.
There are times where I feel restricted on the things I can do because having a pet is a responsibility that I can not ignore. It is not always in the budget to pay a dog sitter.
At the end of the day, I do not regret my decision to have a pet in college. Kane helps me when I feel stressed and anxious with school or even with life in general. He is my go-to when I need someone to listen.
For those students who do not have a pet in college, there are still opportunities  for them to feel the love of a pet.
Local animal shelters need people to serve as volunteers. As the students help walk the animals and clean cages, they have the chance to pet the animals and give and receive all the love they desire. They are even able to start making a bond the animals.
Additionally, therapy dogs visit the William Peace University campus during exam week to relieve stress for the students. As students take a study break, they may stroll through Belk Courtyard to snack on a popsicle while getting some puppy love.

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