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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Pets make perfect companions

Photograph courtesy of Kalli Smith Phil Bartlett and Kalli Smith hold their husky, Jax. The two got the pet after more than five years together.
Photograph courtesy of Kalli Smith
Phil Bartlett and Kalli Smith hold their husky, Jax. The two got the pet after more than five years together.

Having a pet in college is a big responsibility, but it comes with a payoff. Between the stresses of studying for tests, juggling extracurricular activities and a busy social life, many college students choose to own a pet to play with during their downtime.

Ferret Bueller

It may not be legal to purchase ferrets in California, but you can keep them as pets, said Lauren Blazek, a fifth-year kinesiology major.

Blazek got her ferret, Ferret Bueller, from a friend three years ago and fell in love with him instantly, she said.

“I love showing him off to people,” she said. “He’s so unique and super friendly. People will come over just to see the ferret and not even to hang out with me.”

The apartment complex Blazek lives in is pet-friendly, and most residents have pets, too.

“I’ll let him run around the house for some exercise,” she said. “He’s really rambunctious and makes a lot of noise, so it’s easy to keep track of him.”

While the ferret is a low-maintenance pet that only requires basics like food, water, and a cage, it’s still important to be capable of taking care of a pet while being in college, Blazek said.

“You have to be responsible enough to take care of another living being,” she said.

Although it is an extra task, having a pet is something she would definitely recommend to others, she said.

“It’s awesome to have a little critter running around,” Blazek said. “It makes downtime more interesting.”

Jax the husky

Getting a pet is a way to take the next step in a relationship, according to Phil Bartlett and his girlfriend, Kalli Smith.

Bartlett, a fifth-year business major and Smith, are next-door neighbors. They decided to adopt the dog they have always wanted this year, Bartlett said.

“We’ve wanted to get a husky since high school and finally decided that since we’ve been together five and half years it would be the next step in our relationship,” he said. “It makes sense for us to raise him together.”

Bartlett and Smith adopted Jax, a four and a half-month old Siberian husky, in the beginning of the semester and have been adjusting to life with a puppy.

“It’s like he’s a baby, so for the first couple months we would have to wake up multiple times in the night,” Smith said. “We can’t just leave him at home alone, and I always make sure someone is there with him.”

Bartlett and Smith spend about $50 a month on Jax. The only other task left is to get him neutered, Bartlett said.

Getting a pet is something students should think carefully about before diving in, Bartlett said.

“It’s a good idea for someone to get a pet if they’ve thought it out and realize big-time commitment,” Bartlett said. “It’s not just you anymore, you have to be responsible.”

But, there are definitely perks.

“Jax is always here to cheer me up, there’s always a story to tell about him, and I have an additional friend,” Smith said

Hammy Chops III

Although some students love having pets, it doesn’t work out so well with others.

Jen Montero, a senior child development major, had a pet pig with her 11 roommates.

Key word: had.

“There wasn’t a house vote to get the pig,” Montero said. “One of my roommates wanted him as pet since he’s such an animal lover, but not all of us agreed on getting him. We kind of just let it happen.”

The pig, Hammy Chops III, who was found on Craigslist, only lasted in the house for about two weeks before Montero and her roommates decided to give him away.

“It was messy, hard to take care of, and made all my roommates angry at each other,” she said. “It just created a lot of drama.”

Although the pig was cute, Montero said she knew her large two-story house, always filled with visitors, wasn’t a suitable environment for a pig to live.

“I would one thousand percent not recommend having an animal in college,” she said. “Maybe it’s different if you have one roommate, but definitely not when you live in downtown Chico and have people over constantly.”


Kayla Smith can be reached at or @kayla_smith1013 on Twitter.

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