Pets should not be allowed in student accommodation. As a mature student, I am fearful of sounding like an old schoolmarm with a vendetta against fun, but this is not the case! I only wish to voice my opinion with the added benefit of some pet experience. I am lucky enough to own my home and be a proud parent to one cat and four guinea pigs. However, before lumbering ourselves with a mortgage, my husband and I would not have considered getting pets. “But pets are great,” I hear you cry, and whilst I agree that pets are great, they are also messy, expensive and very trying.
So, let’s take point number 1: pets are messy. For the purposes of this exercise we shall create a fictional hamster called Geoff. Hamsters need a cage and within that cage they also need bedding, usually sawdust or small bits of paper. These will get everywhere and drive you to distraction (speaking from experience with my four guinea pigs). On top of this, without weekly cleaning the smell can be less than pleasant.
Point number 2: pets are expensive. A hamster needs many things; a cage, bedding, water bottle, food bowls, toys and food. Food and bedding needing to be bought weekly and whilst it seems like a paltry amount it all adds up. Imagine having to spend your Pop Tarts ticket money on some sawdust – is it worth it?
Point number 3: pets are trying. It’s Christmas. You arrive home with two suitcases, a bin bag full of washing and a bag for life full of presents. Now imagine that scenario with a hamster cage…. oh, and it’s raining. Besides, your mum has no idea about Geoff the hamster and is therefore unlikely to welcome him into the home with open arms.
Pets are affectionate and can be very beneficial for mental wellbeing. To move away from home and family can be daunting and of course family pets are included in that. But there is so much to consider whilst at university and adding the sole responsibility of a pet to that list is really taking on too much. There are some great animal welfare charities in Sheffield, including The Greyhound Trust who are always looking for volunteers to walk and cuddle the dogs, so you can still get your furry friend fix until you are ready for one of your own!