Pet adoption increases health by finding a best friend

Processed+with+VSCO+with+b1+preset

Processed with VSCO with b1 preset

Rachel Haggerty

I’ve always been a huge advocate for pet adoption. About 3.3 million dogs enter shelters in the United States every year. Of that number, only 1.6 million get adopted. The rest either stay in the shelter or get euthanized eventually.

If someone has the funds, time and love to give to a furry friend, they will give you their unconditional love for the rest of their life. 

Seeing as it is my fifth year in Marquette, I don’t see myself moving in the foreseen future and I’m financially stable, I thought this was the best time for me to adopt a dog.

This summer, I brought a six-year-old German Shepherd, named Bear, into my family and home. She has brought unconditional love into my everyday life. 

I’ve planned on adopting a dog since last October. I knew I wanted an older one because they don’t get adopted as much as puppies.

I went to nine different shelters over the span of eight months waiting to have an instant bond with a dog.

When I met Bear, I adopted her that day. The week after, I was in shock that I actually made this big of a commitment. I had no idea how difficult it was to actually own a dog all by myself. I believe that one can never be fully prepared to adopt a dog. 

I grew up with a dog by my side every step of my life. What I didn’t realize was that when I was growing up, I had a whole family to help me take care of a dog. Now, it’s just me. I have to wake up with her every morning, take her on two walks a day, clean up after her and keep her preoccupied throughout the day. 

Even when I get a full eight hours of sleep, I still feel tired. An older dog still demands constant attention.

I luckily have great friends who will help me out every now and then when I can’t keep up with the daily routine.

College is full of stressful tests and projects, full-time or part-time jobs, parties, sleepless nights, professors that expect a lot from you and a workload up to your ears. Studies have shown that dogs reduce stress, anxiety and depression by elevating serotonin and dopamine levels. 

Dogs also help improve cardiovascular health by encouraging exercise every day.

I’ve caught myself in a terrible mood quite a few times this semester. Bear will look at me and whine until I get up and take her on a long walk, even in this cold weather. That walk is a highlight of her day and it releases endorphins in my body, putting me in a better mood.

I thought I put enough money in my savings account away for vet bills and expenses. But the last visit to the veterinary office took an unexpected $600 toll on account. I also did not take into consideration Bear’s size to my finances. She eats a lot of food. 

While owning a dog can truly be taxing on your energy levels and finances, I would not want to change anything. Bear has given me the best friendship I’ve ever had.

My recommendation to fulltime students that want to become a dog owner is to make sure you have the money, time and love to give. Also, adopt. Don’t shop.

Rachel Haggerty is a senior, 

art and design major.