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First Time Pet Ownership

Adopting a pet in college is a big deal, and there’s a lot that is required when caring for a pet. Here’s a list of things you may want to consider before making the decision to bring an animal into your life.


Why do you want a pet?

Whether it’s a dog, cat, fish, lizard or otherwise, it’s important to put some thought into whether you’re really ready for a pet and why you want one. Whether it’s for companionship or a workout buddy, take some time to think about it.

How much time do you have available?

No matter what type of animal you choose to bring home, they all require attention and care. Take time to consider what type of animal best fits your schedule. If you’re away for a majority of the day, a dog may not be the best fit, whereas a goldfish or more independent animal may be a better fit for you.

Does your landlord allow pets?

Most apartment complexes have restrictions on the breed, size, and types of animals they allow on the property, and some landlords don’t allow them at all. Be sure to check with your landlord before you bring an animal home to make sure they’re allowed on the premises.

Have you talked to your roommate?

Keeping the people you live with up to speed is always a good idea. Is your roommate okay with having an animal in the apartment/house? Are they allergic to any kind of animal? Do they have an animal that will get along with others? Always make sure your roommates are okay with having an animal before making the decision.

Can you afford to care for an animal?

Owning a pet can get expensive. Whether its vet visits for vaccinations and other medical maladies, bedding, toys, food or grooming, the costs add up. On top of those costs, it’s also important that you consider whether your landlord requires a pet deposit or damage fees to be covered when moving out as these can become a relatively expensive barrier when thinking about owning a pet. These are good things to think about before you make the decision to adopt.

Who will watch your pet when you’re away?

Are you away from home on a consistent basis? Do you go on frequent trips or live out of state? Do you travel for work? If you do, you may need to find a reliable kennel, pet sitter, or friend to care for your animal when you’re away. All of these are things to consider when adopting and may help you decide what kind of pet may best suit your lifestyle.

 Have you thought about fostering?

If you’ve never had your own animal before, fostering provides a great opportunity to see what it would be like without making a lifelong commitment to an animal. After fostering a cat or a dog for a while, you might decide on one type of animal over another. Columbia and the surrounding area have a number of organizations that offer the ability to foster, and are always looking for help.


After considering all of these factors, are you still ready to adopt? If so, here is a list of local animal shelters and rescues that offer adoption or a foster option.

Local Resources

  • Central Missouri Humane Society
    • (573) 443-7387
  • Unchained Melodies
    • (573) 814-8073
  •  Jefferson City Animal Shelter
    • (573) 634-6429
  • Boone County Animal Care
    • (573) 445-2248
  • Second Chance
    • (660) 882-5050