Owning pets on campus is costly, but oh so rewarding

By Saher Khan

A house is not a home without the ones you love, and that includes pets. Whether it is a cat or dog, having pets creates a different dynamic in one’s home, and that dynamic is especially felt on a college campus.

Sidra Ismail, junior in Media, has a Persian cat name George living with her at school and understands the pros and cons that come with having a cat as a roommate.

“It can be great because you have a companion there all the time, you have someone waiting for you at home who loves you and you have a good cuddle buddy, but it is also a big responsibility,” she said. 

The responsibility Ismail is talking about is the task of feeding, grooming and cleaning up after a pet. Ismail pointed out that the litter box and cat food makes her apartment smell, and that cat hair is everywhere, even on her clothes. She has to clean her apartment daily just to combat the mess George makes.

Faysal Al-harbi’s husky, Zeke, has lived with him on campus since June and agrees that maintaining a pet can be a handful. Al-harbi’s schedule completely revolves around Zeke.

“I have to build my class schedule around him. I have to plan to go home and play with him, I have to wake up early to take him out and just give him the attention he needs,” said Alharbi, senior in Engineering.

Because Zeke requires a lot of social attention and needs numerous walks to let out energy, Al-harbi dedicates a lot of time his husky.

Another difficulty of having a pet, especially a dog, is the training process.

Ismail had to train George to learn to use the litter box, and Al-harbi spends a lot of time training Zeke as well.

“I live in a larger house and not everyone can keep an eye on Zeke. He’ll go into the kitchen, and I’ll end up spending a lot of time picking up after him and putting away things he’s thrown around,” he said. 

Kelsey Johnson, junior in AHS, lives with her roommates and her Yorkipoo named Peyton. Johnson lucked out because her roommate already trained Peyton before he came to live with them on campus, and she said taking care of Peyton does not require as much work as she thought it would. 

The cost of having a pet not only requires time and energy, but actual money as well. Al-habri said he spends around $50 every two months on dog food. Ismail also has to include litter, cat food and litter deodorizer to her monthly grocery list. Both agree that having a pet on campus is costly for an average college student.

“Only bring a pet on campus if you really want to take care of a pet and you’re really serious about it, because you’re taking care of another life,” Ismail said.

Al-harbi agrees that at times having Zeke makes him feel tied down. He can’t travel whenever he pleases because owning a dog means he must make all his decisions based on what is best for Zeke. He has to find people to watch, feed and take Zeke out for walks if he is unable to.

But despite the responsibility, Ismail, Al-harbi and Johnson all agree that having a pet on campus brings them happiness.

Ismail said that rather than giving her anxiety, her cat George brings her peace of mind. 

“Having a cat relieves my stress; he’s just the best part of my day,” she said.

Johnson and Al-harbi both agree that having a pet brightens up the home.

“If you can handle the responsibility, everything else about having a pet is awesome,” Al-harbi said. “What’s better than coming home to a puppy who is always excited to see you?” 

Saher can be reached at [email protected]