Question yourself before adopting 'Fido'

Longhorn Life co-editor Emily Morgan answered these questions before bringing home her dog, Breaudi.

Photo Credit: Emily Morgan

After living on their own, some students realize it’s time to have a furry companion in the house. While having a pet can be the best time of your life, it’s also a huge responsibility. Try answering these questions to figure out if you really are ready to make the leap into pet ownership.
Why do you want a pet?
Before anything else, determine your reasons for buying an animal. Do you just want a friend around or have you been dreaming of a little fur-ball? Although right now you may want a pet, that feeling could be fleeting. This commitment will last for the animal’s entire life, so give it a lot of thought. If you find yourself desperately longing for a ‘Fido’ or ‘Sparky’ after a couple months, then consider taking the next steps.
What kind of pet do you want?
Lions and tigers and bears...oh my! Which do you choose? Although those aren’t necessarily domesticated animals, there is a large selection for you to pick from: dogs, cats, fish, lizards, snakes — finding the right pet to fit your personality can be a challenge. Are you looking for a traditional pet or something a little odd? Next, think about the breed. The type of animal you choose determines how much maintenance it will require. Do you really want to vacuum cat hair off of your furniture every week? Would you rather clean out a hamster cage? It’s best to choose a pet that will fit your lifestyle, that way you won’t have to remind yourself to walk ‘Lucky’; she can just come along for the morning jog.
Does your landlord allow pets?
Especially around campus, the rules regarding pets in apartment complexes can be very strict. Be sure to check your lease or ask the front desk about animal restrictions. You don’t want to buy the parrot of your dreams just to return him to the store before you have a chance to teach him to speak.
How much time do you have?
Although you may think you have a lot of free time, it may not be enough to take sufficient care of another life. No matter which animal you choose, having a pet is a big time investment. Every pet will have to be fed, but others you may have to walk, brush or bathe, in addition. Whether it’s a litter box, cage or droppings on the ground outside or in your home, cleaning up after it will be a task. If you’re not home very often, your pet will be the one who suffers. He or she will depend on you to live, so you need to make sure you have enough time to give your pet a good life.
How much money do you have?
In addition to much time, pets also take up a lot of money; merely purchasing your pet can be an investment. Be sure to check your bank account when you decide to make the commitment. You’ll have to get supplies at first, such as food and water bowls, a litter box, beds or cages. After the initial purchases, make sure you have a reliable source of income because you’ll need to constantly buy food, litter and other essentials, too. Lastly, trips to the vet for shots and check-ups can be a money-sucker. Just like a child, a pet can drain you of your finances, but you’ll love it anyway.
Owning a pet can bring happiness into your life, but don’t forget that the commitment can be tough to manage for college students. Between class, work and rent, an animal may be too much to handle right now; don’t be afraid to wait for the ideal time. You can love your little pet to death, but it takes more than just love to provide it with a great life.