The Orion

The pros and woes of pet ownership

Whitney Urmann

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Illustration by Trevor Moore

I have always been an animal person and no way would I have survived in a closet-sized room with a stranger and not have Calvin, my cuddly tabby. I set out and found a great two bedroom, two bathroom apartment that allowed animals.

A year later my cat has since gone back to Idaho to enjoy 20 acres of birds, trees and land, and I have purchased a dog in his place. His name is Bo and he stands not so far off the ground with lots of fluffy fur.

Living at the Timbers Apartments wasn’t so ideal for my cat. The space was very small, the complex is on Nord Avenue and there aren’t balconies, so he couldn’t explore outside.

Because of this, I was wary about getting a dog. They need to be outside way more than a cat. However, I bought him anyway, and it was one of the best decisions I have made.

The Timbers is great for a dog because it is a short walk across the highway from the Chico State recreation fields where you can let your buddy off his leash and have the freedom to run.

The actual facility has lots of grass and even supplies doggy bags and a disposal area to clean up after your pet.

Having a car is a key to having an animal in college. Bo’s best days are when we load up in the Corolla and drive to Upper Bidwell, where we can swim in the pond or take a number of different hikes. With a dog, it’s a like mandatory exercise every day.

It’s also important to have a vehicle to get your pet to the vet or be able to pick up supplies. Dog food is not light.

I did a lot of research to find the perfect apartment that would accommodate my critter. Unfortunately, a lot of places in Chico don’t allow pets or ask for hefty security deposits and extra rent costs.

If you decide to get a pet, you have to think long-term when it comes to housing goals and whether you can take your pet with you.

All of my decisions basically have to be around Bo at this point.

I have to think about vacations and if he can go. If I go out at night, I have to make sure I can get home to make sure he goes to the bathroom.

This also goes for classes and work. The closer you live to campus, the easier it is to get home to give your critter attention.

I’m very happy with my decision to find off-campus housing, and the apartments I chose have been more than great to my little labradoodle. We often go and visit the office to say hello.

If you want a pet, it is possible to find great housing in Chico. Just make sure you are ready for that commitment and responsibility.

Whitney Urmann can be reached at [email protected] or @WUrmann on Twitter.

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The pros and woes of pet ownership