By Ramie Churchill

Owning a pet comes with many benefits. They can offer you companionship and comfort, help you make friends, encourage being active and give you a mental health boost when you are stressed. They also can be the cause of distraction if they are wanting to play or go outside. They can also be pricey, a time commitment and will affect where you can end up living.

It’s important to understand the full dynamics of owning a pet before you bring them home or to the dorm. Important things to realize before getting a pet is making sure you can afford to take care of it, make sure you’re allowed to have it and are you going to have enough time for it.

When coming back to the dorms after a class and cheer practice, Carissa Collins, a senior at the University of Saint Mary, says “The best thing about having my cat Frodo, a one year old domestic long hair tortoise shell, is how she provides me entertainment. She’s quite silly. I wanted to bring something consistent when moving back into the dorms.” She used to live off-campus but decided to move into the dorms with her cheer mates for her last year as a Spire. Having a cat is low maintenance according to Carissa because “she’s pretty self efficient” so she doesn’t have to check on Frodo much throughout her day.

A student named Ben Horvatic, a junior at the University of Saint Mary, told me how much his emotional support animal has helped him with his stress and anxiety levels. Although he states “having an emotional support dog is a lot of work, and it isn’t something that just makes your depression and anxiety go away. It just makes the hard days bearable. Even on the worst days, it’s great to be greeted by his face when I get back to the dorms.”

Ben’s support dog is a year and a half year old Australian Shepherd named Atlas, who he rescued from a shelter. Atlas needs lots of walks and social time throughout the day, so Ben likes to take him to friends withpets for doggy play dates. Having a dog is time consuming in between classes and a work schedule, but to Ben, it’s worth it.

Having a dog or cat to support you through the college semesters can be a lot of responsibility and time consuming. But, if they provide you with entertainment and emotional support to help the days go by faster and for the assignments to be a little easier for these students, it’s worth it.

You just need to make sure before you move forward with getting a pet, that you understand that responsibility and cost that it’ll impact your life with. You need to make sure it’ll be a positive decision for both you and your pet. It is important to find things in college that bring you joy so that the semesters go by faster and having a dog or cat does that.

Ramie Churchill is a junior at the University of Saint Mary studying Digital Communications