by Lilliana Bifferato & Brian Asare, Contributor & Photography Editor
Having a pet in college brings comfort to many students and often relieves their stress. While they need to go for walks, get fed, and be shown affection, these furry friends can help one get through a rough day of classes and work. Four students were willing to talk to The Quadrangle about their experiences and responsibilities that come with having a pet at Manhattan College.
Jeter the Cat
Jeter is an 8-year-old orange and white fluffy cat who became an addition to Peter Halliday, Billy Simmon and their other roommates’ lives in November of last year. Before Jeter, they had a little dog named Charlotte, who later returned to her original home. Both Peter and Billy agreed they love having a pet around and feel that it definitely reduces their stress when they get to come home to a warm greeting from Jeter.
Jeter was essentially brought home by a roommate one day without a lot of conversation, but was immediately welcomed to the home and has become an appreciated additional roommate. Jeter is a cat that pretty much takes care of himself. They felt that it was easy to balance schoolwork, going to classes and having a social life with having Jeter. His daily care routine only really involves cleaning the litter box every week or so and his food comes out with a timed feeding dispenser. Having Charlotte before required more care because she needed to be walked, but Jeter is an indoor cat, so he roams the house freely for exercise and is known to sleep for at least 16 hours a day. When the roommates have people over, Jeter gets extra attention and cuddles from guests being the social cat that he is. They find Jeter to be a great addition to the home.
Sydney the red heeler dingo
Sydney is a 2-year old red heeler dingo mix that lives off-campus with his owner David Beaver, a commuter student, who also has two cats that he is able to take care of without it impacting his academic work. Being responsible for anything can be pretty demanding, yet in particular a pet brings on challenges.
“I wake up around 5 am every day and feed them, make a cup of coffee, then I change the litter for the cats, then I walk Sydney around the block,” Beaver said. “I usually get home around 3:00 to feed the animals again, clean the litter box and let Sydney out for a walk, and then I’m able to work on assignments until 10. I then clean the litter boxes again and let Sydney out one last time and they then join me on the couch to sleep while I continue doing work.”
Beaver occasionally brings Sydney to campus with him, where the joy of having a pet is shared by others.
“I usually bring my Sydney on campus when the weather is warm because he loves to come to campus,” Beaver said. “Usually, everyone who passes by falls in love with him and people who would normally pass by all stop to play with him. However, there are some people who are afraid of him, and I make sure that he’s on a leash at all times to make sure he doesn’t wander.”
Among the benefits of having a pet companion, helping to deal with stressful circumstances is one of them.
“When you have pets they truly get to know you, and they know the second you walk through the door whether you had a rough day or a great day,” Beaver said. “My pets are what makes my home complete, and seeing them when I get home relieves the stress that can come as the semester continues “
Max the English bulldog
Max is an English bulldog that also lives off-campus with his commuter owner Jessica Ayala. Ayala’s experience with owning a pet, as well as her daily routine with one, differs from Beaver’s.
“Balancing full-time schoolwork and taking care of my pet at the same time depends on my schedule and the amount of work I get, and if I have to stay study for exams, but most of the time I can only take care of him at night,” Ayala said. “I’m glad I got parents, and little siblings, so they help me take care of him during the day, [but] if I’m not busy it’s all my responsibility. So he is never alone or abandoned.”
Ayala finds that Max has a sixth sense of telling when something is wrong.
“I don’t even know how dogs know, but they know when you’re stressed or having a bad day,” Ayala said. “Every time I am stressed or just not having a good day, he comes running to me, he wants me to pet him he starts sniffing me, sits between my legs, starts like rubbing his head in my leg or will just lay right next to me and even sleep in my room.”
Beaver and Ayala are pleased with their experience of owning a pet, but as college students find they need to sacrifice their time to care for the pet.
“Pets become like children, you’ll love them every day, you’ll do anything for them, they’ll always be there for you,” Beaver said. “But, they’re a lot of work and require great time management and scheduling to have them and still maintain school work.”
Although there are many perks to owning a pet, Ayala suggests students really consider if they have the proper time commitment for one.
“Owning a pet is like having a child and I don’t even know what it is like having a child, but I imagine it might be like this,” Ayala said.
“Having a dog is the best thing ever, once you see how cute and adorable they are, I think you might not care about how expensive it is to own one. Also leaving dogs alone for a really long time feels like an eternity to them and they get sad and it affects them in many ways, so unless you have someone to help you then it’s fine, but I would say to really think about it,” Ayala said.