The Price of UT Pets

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Original Post on Burnt Q

By Luqman Adeniyi and Cassandra Jaramillo

Juggling coursework and managing your time at an internship or job can be difficult, and if you are a college student with a pet, the responsibility of taking care of an animal can add on more work than expected.

Maegan Ware and her beau Hunter Henrick decided to adopt a cat in their second year of dating. It was Hunter’s idea to adopt the cat from a shelter, but Maegan was a little hesitant. Nevertheless, the two fell in love with their cat, Leonardo the Kitty, as he is called on Instagram.

The adoption fee, apartment pet fee, cat food and shots were all routine expenses they budgeted for, but they never imagined Leonardo would have so many “freak accidents.”

The thought that some pets are cheaper than others is not exactly true. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, a pet as large as a Great Dane or a small cat can cost the same, ranging up to thousands of dollars.
But for some students its a fair price to pay because of the the happiness pets bring. Research from Ohio State University shows that college students found pets comforting in their everyday struggles.

UT journalism major Stacy Rickard is one of these students. She welcomes the responsibility of taking care of a pet, because of the joy that comes with having someone to come home to.

imageRickard first got her pet cat, Arya, earlier this year when she lived alone. Now, the former mice owner lives with four other girls in an apartment at Rio West.

One of the girls, UT journalism major and dog owner Leslie Adami said she has never been a cat person. She said Arya’s long cat hair and sneaky, bashful ways took some getting used to.

As an alternative to owning a pet, UT engineering major Tyler Houston decided to give back to the Austin community by fostering pets.

Houston and his family back in Frisco, Texas fostered animals from a local pet shelter throughout his childhood, so when his roommates were thinking about getting a pet, he said he thought why not foster here as well.

“We all really wanted to get a pet but I wanted to make sure we could really handle it so it was a way to just test the waters,” Houston said.

Houston and his roommates foster puppies from Austin Pets Alive. They feed, house and nurture these pets until they find a new home.

imageThe boys act as guardians for the animals because they are involved in the adopting process.

“We get to host potential owners at our house and watch how they interact with the dogs to make sure that they are a good fit,” Houston said. “The important thing is making sure they go to a good home.”

Houston and his roommates have now fostered three different puppies over the semester. They chose to just foster dogs but Houston wants people to know that they can get cats too.

“Fostering is a great thing to do because you can help both cats and dogs stay alive until they find somewhere to live,” Houston said.“It makes it easier for the shelters so they won’t have to put them down.

Houston said it is hard to let the puppies go when they leave but he knows he can get another if he chooses.

“It’s really just a gratifying feeling knowing that I am doing something good for the animals no matter the cost or how much time it takes.”

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