Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

For many, pets provide emotional support in college


By Will Baggett | Staff Reporter

For many people, pets can have a beneficial effect on their owners’ lives. 

Whether it’s by keeping them company, or just providing something to come home to at the end of the day, pets can be the truest of companions. For students, sometimes pets are integral to navigating the stressful haze of academia. 

While taking on pet ownership isn’t the best decision for many students, others choose to take on the responsibilities because pets offer a special type of relationship. Dogs, cats, horses or even more unusual animals like geckos or snakes can help with the stress of everyday life. 

Sticking to a more conventional choice of pet, Jessi Bowen, a senior majoring in special education, owns two cats. Since her initial encounter with the felines, they’ve made a significant impact on Bowen’s life. Although she happened upon them inadvertently, Bowen is glad she did. 

“A big series of events ended with me getting cats,” Bowen said. “I didn’t get them just for my anxiety, but they have helped a lot and once I told my doctor I got them, they said that was a good idea. Since then, I can’t imagine what it would be like without them.”

Bowen owns two cats: Samson, who was a friend’s cat that needed a new home, and Charles, who was a stray cat that Bowen adopted from a shelter in Atlanta. Bowen first took Samson in about a year ago, while Charles has been a part of the family for four months now.

Bowen expressed the importance of Samson and Charles in her everyday life and how they have helped her to stay on routine. The daily tasks of taking care of their food and their well-being is a helpful tool to keeping on task, whether the day has been good or bad.

“Spending days in bed with my cats work best for me,” said Bowen. “Sometimes you just wake up feeling bad, and it’s hard to be out and about feeling bad, so a day in with them is great for feeling better. It is always nice to have them around.”

Although there are many responsibilities to owning a cat, Bowen expressed that the benefits do outweigh the costs.

Sam Pannell, a senior majoring in political science and minoring in French, explained some of the pitfalls to owning a pet in college. Pannell owns a one-year-old tabby cat named Milton. While Pannell agrees with Bowen that the benefits of cat ownerships are great, the youthful Milton is at times mischievous. 

“The toughest part is definitely the ways Milton has found to destroy anything he sets his mind to,” Pannell said. “He loves to play, and if no one is home he will find anything to scratch or knock off counters. That can be frustrating, but he is starting to grow out of it now that he is older.”

It’s nice to know, Pannell said, when he gets home at the end of the day, Milton will be waiting there to greet him. Pannell added that Milton has a way of helping him take his mind off school and responsibilities for a while.

Lindsey Yerby, a junior majoring in marketing, is human parent to Charlie, a cocker spaniel that’s been with her for a little over a year now. Charlie’s goofy face always gives him the appearance of smiling. 

Yerby enjoys getting to take Charlie out for walks around campus with her and her friends’ dogs, always up for a photo shoot at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Charlie has a lot energy so it is nice for him to get out of the apartment and go for walks with Yerby to stay healthy and fit.

In addition to going on walks and getting outdoors with Charlie, Yerby explained that taking care of him is a time commitment, but one that she is willing to make. Dogs still get sick and have health needs, therefore Yerby is always making sure that Charlie is attended to and healthy.

“Having a pet in college has made me more organized and responsible,” Yerby said. “I not only have to plan out my schedule but I have to plan out a schedule for my dog as well. It’s all worth it though. The saying is true that dogs are man’s best friend.”

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