Koda, the author’s dog. / Photo by Kevin Garcia
College is hard, but it can be made a little easier with a furry companion around. If you’re a college student and debating whether or not to get a dog, here are five reasons why it’s a good idea:
College life can be overwhelming, from balancing lectures, homework and sometimes work all in one day. I personally struggled a lot my first semester last year and I’m grateful I had my dog’s companionship during that time. A dog is always going to be there for you no matter what. They have unconditional love. There’s no better feeling in the world than coming home after a long day and having your dog be excited to see you. No matter how tough or stressed out you feel, the moment you reunite with your dog, you know everything is going to be okay.
A dog requires a lot more than food and water. They also need a lot of attention and activity to be healthy. They need to be walked three to four times a day for at least 15 minutes each., according to The Dogington Post. While focusing on your studies is important, it can keep you indoors. So can being connected to your phone. Having a dog gives you a reason to go outside for a walk once in a while. Being outside with your dog it’s a great excuse to not be on your phone and just enjoy the outdoors and clear your mind.
I deal with anxiety on a daily basis and some days can be harder than others. But one thing that helps me cope with anxiety is my dog. You don’t need a trained therapy dog to see improvements in your mental health. Ever since I got my dog four years ago, I have been happier, more productive, and I’m able to deal with stress better, so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. For college students, our mental health determines whether we can do well in class or be motivated to continue college. Dogs can’t make us want to do better in school, but they can sure make the journey easier.
When you bring a dog into your life, you are bringing in more than just a pet or an animal. You are adding a new member to your family. It’s a big responsibility and it’s important to note that you should only get a dog if you are committed to raising it. Our college experience is a way for us to transition from our teenage years into adulthood, where we have a lot more responsibilities. We start working and start being more independent from our parents. Having a dog teaches you patience, how to care for something and giving unconditional love. The ability to care for another living thing is a big accomplishment. For those who want to be parents some day, a dog is also a great stepping stone to see what it’s like to raise another living thing. A dog is like a baby because you have to feed them, take care of them, and give them all your love. They also require a lot of your time and energy so make sure you are ready for the responsibility before you commit.
If you do ultimately decide to get a dog, one of the first places you should always look first is your local animal shelter. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, over 3.3 million dogs enter animal shelters each year. Of those 3.3 million dogs, around 670,000 dogs are euthanized. Luckily, both figures are declining due to more people adopting animals each year, but there are still plenty of animals sitting in local shelters waiting to be adopted into their forever home. Will it be yours?
Ready to become a dog parent? Here are some animal shelters in the OC area: