Pets are better than therapy

Required care for animal companions beneficial for mental health



Rory sits on a windowsill on Nov. 2, 2021.

SYDNEY DOWNING, Evergreen columnist

Lucy sits down with her new sweater on Nov. 2, 2021.

Having a pet in college always seemed like a strange idea to me. How is it possible to be a full-time student with a puppy or kitten? 

I understand why it is worth all the time it takes to raise them, considering how much love and comfort they give us. 

Jared Thompson, senior construction management major, has a German shepherd who he considers his best friend. 

“If you consider getting a pet, make sure you have the time to really treat them the right way,” Thompson said.

Pets can be our best friends; they give us love, loyalty and happiness. Whether you are a cat, dog, hamster, bunny, bird or fish person, all animals can lighten our dark days. 

Nevertheless, if you are considering getting one, making sure you are able to take care of it is very important. They are living creatures and need to be cared for like a child.

There is so much you can do with your pet that is as good for your health as it is for theirs. Going on walks, playing, cuddling and even showing them new things in Pullman can all make you as happy as it makes them.

Hannah Beyer, senior wine and beverage business management major, has two cats who she loves very much.

“I taught them to [walk] on a leash,” Beyer said. “That’s probably one of my favorite things to do.”

It is the little enjoyable things that come with having an animal that makes life as a student seem way easier.

I am currently struggling through my hardest semester of school yet, and I miss the positive distraction of a pet. I grew up around dogs and have never gone a school year without being near one.

The dog I grew up with was my best friend, and every time I came home from school, it was so exciting to see her. When she died, it was the saddest time in my life (though knowing her whole life was a big happy memory makes everything OK.

Now, I can look outside my window and see dogs playing at my apartment complex. This gives me a serotonin boost to push through the rest of the school day.

Even better, a couple of weeks ago my family got a new puppy, Lucy. Seeing all the pictures my mom sent me of Lucy made me so happy despite the draining feeling of weekly exams.

Pets are amazing and can make hard parts of your semester easier, but it is also important to know what you are getting into before you commit to having a pet. 

“If you are interested, definitely look into how much it takes to care for animals,” Beyer said. “It is worth it. My cats are my best friends.”

These pets do not know a life besides ours and are happy to be in it. We should make sure that we are prepared to do everything we can to take care of them while they are with us. 

This past weekend, I went home to watch Lucy; I can assure you I was distracted from school in the best possible way. 

Everyone should consider, if not having a pet, being friends with someone who does — or making trips back home to the family cat or dog (or fish) not to lose your sanity.

“People will come over and get so excited to see my cats,” Beyer said. “It just kind of takes away every [stressful] thought you were thinking at that moment.”

Whether you take every opportunity to pet the dogs on campus, you follow all of the adorable pet Instagram accounts, or you adopt a fish of your own, find a way to appreciate the little joys that animals can bring to your life.