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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Students step up to care for furry friends

Nikki St. Laurent and Alexandra Monopoli
Chico State juniors Nikki St. Laurent and Alexandra Monopoli cuddle with their cats Simba and Cleo. Photo credit: Catalina Friz

Students pack up all of their prized belongings in preparation for college, but one thing that doesn’t fit in a suitcase is a childhood pet. While college brings freedom, some students may be wondering if it is time to get a pet of their own.

Hannah Booth, an employee at the Butte Humane Society’s Dog Adoption Center, works with animals every day. She claims that a major setback for college students owning pets is the inconsistency in their lives.

“When you are a college student, mostly if you are a younger college student where this can be an issue is, you know your life at that point is kind of inconsistent,” Booth said. “So you could be living in a place for a year and then where are you going to be in a year when your lease is up? That kind of inconsistency isn’t great for a shelter animal.”

However, some students aim to manage their time and patience to care for an animal in college.

Nikki St. Laurent, junior journalism public relations major, reflects on the positive aspects of owning a pet in college. Her cat, Simba, has been a part of her college life for one year.

“I decided to take in Simba when I realized how much stress I would be in once I got into my major courses,” St. Laurent said. “Animals are such a reliever of stress for me so I knew calling Simba my own was the best decision.”

Making sure pets are healthy is an important aspect of owning a pet, and keeping up to date on shots means visits to the veterinarian clinic. Those visits can vary in prices and are added on to the cost of necessities such as food and toys. One of the primary responsibilities of owning a pet is taking care of its health.

The most important thing is the health of the animal, Booth said.

Joshua Osorio, junior construction management major, and his roommates decided that if they were going to get a dog they were all going to share the responsibilities that came with it, he said.

Nine months ago, Osorio and his roommates adopted their dog, Charlie Brown, from the Butte Humane Society.

Cesar Ramirez, Sam Ruxton, Joshua Osorio and Jesus Garcia.
From left, Cesar Ramirez, Sam Ruxton, Joshua Osorio and Jesus Garcia show their dog, Charlie Brown how to pose for a picture Photo credit: Claire Martinez

“There are a lot of responsibilities that come with owning a dog. First is providing food, which we all split cost-wise so it is cheaper,” Osorio said. “Then making sure he has a big enough yard to play in and picking up after him. All the responsibilities that come with owning a dog are outweighed by the benefits though.”

Osorio’s favorite part about owning Charlie Brown is that he always has someone to hang out with any time he’s home, he said.

When it comes to purchasing pets, Booth encourages rescuing animals off the street if a healthy environment can be offered.

“Rescuing animals is awesome, whatever you can do to help,” Booth said. “If you are not able to then that would be the point where you would want to turn to a rescue place.”

Hearing that there were two kittens living under a porch in Oroville that were not receiving necessary care was more than enough to convince Alexandra Monopoli, junior business marketing major, to step in.

Knowing that she could provide one of the kittens a better life in a healthier environment made her decision of taking in one of the kittens easier, she said.

“There are so many animals, especially in Chico, that need good homes, and if you can provide that you will change their life,” Monopoli said. “I have grown such an attachment to her. She definitely turned me into a crazy cat lady. She’s my little portable heater in the winter and late-night study partner throughout school. I couldn’t imagine not having her in my life.”

Owning a pet in college is a responsibility that requires years of a person’s life and constant attention. Students that are still on the fence about whether taking in a pet is the right thing to do can turn to the resources that the Butte Humane Society provides, Booth said.

“It’s not just for the next year you enjoy this animal,” Booth said. “It’s 10 to 15 years. It’s a big commitment. We have a foster program that’s really awesome. You can sign up to foster and you’ll have the dog for a month or whatever amount of time and then you don’t have to worry about it for 15 years.”

Students that choose to own pets in college can be capable of providing the animal with a loving home. Whether it is a full-time student with two jobs or a student who has the resources to care properly for an animal while in college, it is the student’s decision ultimately.

Claire Martinez can be reached at [email protected] or @clmartinez_ on Twitter.

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