I received the most demanding and precious gift for my 21st birthday: the responsibility of taking care of a pet. I was a junior at Auburn. Balance and time management were no longer struggles for me. Then, along came Annabelle, a sweet, full of energy and personality, now-80-pound chocolate lab. I knew I wanted a dog long before I ever got Annabelle. But even at 18 years old, I was smart enough to know and understand that as much as I wanted to be, I wasn’t ready to take responsibility for another being. I was capable, but I wasn’t willing to give up what is necessary in order to give a puppy the time and devotion it needs. So I waited to get a dog until I was ready, and I want to encourage others to do the same.
Many students at Auburn have pets, and that’s fine. Annabelle has taught me a lot about love and responsibility that I don’t think I would’ve learned otherwise, and I can honestly say I have never regretted getting her.
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However, I believe it is entirely too common for students, or anyone for that matter, to get a pet before they are completely certain they are ready. People fail to realize that there is more responsibility involved with having a pet than just feeding it and making sure it has water to drink. There are unexpected obstacles to overcome all the time that you can’t really prepare yourself for.But, to figure these things out, you have to be willing to give up other things.
When you get a pet, you are taking responsibility for another living being. You need to be in a place where you can and want to make the pet a top priority. If you find yourself wishing you had a dog, cat or any type of pet, ask yourself if you are in a place to make it a priority.
For existing pet owners, make sure you are giving your pet the love and attention that it deserves in addition to everyday necessities. If you’re unwilling and unable, while I don’t encourage constantly passing pets from owner to owner, perhaps you should consider finding it a new home.
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