Furry Friends in Statesboro

What it is like to be a dog owner and a college student 

Lauren Sabia, Campus Editor

More and more college students have been taking the plunge into being pet owners by getting their very own dogs while in school. 

“The best thing I would say about owning a dog is coming home from a long or stressful day at work and being greeted by this bundle of joy waiting for you at your front door,” said Jacob Smith, a senior at Georgia Southern and owner of the golden retriever, Oakley. 

Small, medium and large dogs alike can be seen trotting around Statesboro and Georgia Southern at a wide range of housing locations. Most student housing neighborhoods and apartment complexes in the area are pet-friendly to allow for this.

Cottage Row, one of the larger student housing complexes for Georgia Southern Eagles, charges $20 a month on top of rent if they want to have a pet. 179 individuals out of the 1,088 that live there have a pet registered under their name. 

“The concrete floors are amazing for this and I’m lucky because he is super calm in the house,” said junior Dylan Richards when asked about him and his dog Tanji’s experience living at Cottage Row. 

Most housing locations are also equipped with gated dog parks. However, a large proportion of college students live in apartments with multiple levels in each building. What is it like having a dog then?

“Living in an apartment instead of a house has affected my dog’s life because unfortunately I cannot just open my back door and let her out,” junior Ashby Smith said when discussing the difficulties of being a dog owner in an apartment complex. 

When looking at the psychological elements associated, studies have shown that dogs, and pets in general, can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression that many college students experience. 

Many universities utilize therapy dogs on campus during stressful times, like finals week, but actually owning a dog is very different from just playing with one from time to time. 

“I definitely feel like having a dog in college can both hinder and help mental health,” said Addie Montroy, a senior Psychology major. “The simple act of petting a dog actually can release oxytocin in your brain, which is a chemical that makes you feel positive and good.”

Having a pet in college can relieve stress, but it can also add more with how much time and money raising a dog takes, where the social life of a student can become limited.

“Being in college where I have a bunch of time commitments like studying and extracurriculars, as well as wanting to spend time with friends, taking care of a dog gets challenging,” said Montroy. 

Becoming a pet owner is a life-long commitment that lasts well beyond a semester or two. If students are wanting to become a dog owner, they need to have the space, time, and budget to be successful and responsible. 

“Only get a dog if you know you’ll have time for one,” said Smith. “Dogs need to be on a consistent schedule or else they start acting out.”

If you do not have the resources to get a furry friend just yet, there are many other ways to surround yourself with dogs in the area. 

This can include hanging out at your housing complex’s dog park, volunteering at the local Humane Society, getting involved with the Service Dog Training and Education Program at Georgia Southern or even fostering a dog through animal shelters.