Getting a pet could be a poor decision

4 12 2008

Kara Bertrand
Life Reporter, Humber Et Cetera
Published: February 13, 2008

Humber students may have a difficult time adopting a pet while living away from home, said Lee Oliver, senior communicator at the Toronto Humane Society.

He said students must show they have support if they are unable to care for the pet on their own, and have the ability to take the pet home for the summer.

“We’ve flirted with the idea at a staff level of saying that if you’re a student, just say no,” he said. “But some of the staff members here are either students or were recently students, so we would never make such a policy.”

Oliver said students often lack the maturity and understanding of what is involved in caring for a pet while attending school.

“A lot of times, students fall for the cute and cuddly aspect of it and don’t think of the actual responsibility of owning a pet,” he said.

A cat can cost a minimum of $750 a year, said Oliver, and that’s just for its basic needs for food, treats, toys and an annual vet check. The Humane Society does not charge for adoption, and most of their animals are already spayed or neutered.

“People don’t appreciate the cost,” he said. “You have to ask yourself: what would happen if I had to spend $500 tomorrow, or even $1,500?”

Holsee Sahid, manager of Financial Aid, agreed a student budget has little room to fit in the cost of caring for an animal.

“One of the major financial problems would be if the pet becomes ill and they have to take the pet to the vet,” she said.

Oliver said one of the main reasons students are not the best candidates for animal adoption is because they aren’t home much. But there is also the possibility of several students sharing the pet during the year.

“If all three of you are sharing the apartment, all three of you will come and we’ll meet you all,” he said.

For Oliver, an ideal situation for a student with a pet is if they still live at home. Laura Webster, 18, a bachelor of nursing student, lives in Brampton with her parents and as a family, they own six pets.

“We all take turns taking care of them,” she said. “Taking care of six animals on my own would be hard.”

The residence code of conduct states no pets of any kind are allowed to live in the rooms. Students are also advised to confirm with landlords before adopting a pet to ensure there are no rules regarding pets in off-campus locations.

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