The Daily Gamecock

Column: Students should adopt dogs

On any given sunny Saturday afternoon when school is in session, it’s not hard to find a pup and owner strolling along on the lawn of the Horseshoe. Many in the student population either have or are in want of a dog of their own.

For students who want a dog in college and are capable of having one — those who are free of allergies, live where pets are allowed and can afford the upkeep — adopting is the best choice.

Adopting a dog instead of buying one saves a dog’s life and improves students' emotional health and sense of responsibility.

There is no doubt that there are many animal shelters that kill canines — in fact, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized each year in shelters. While there are many no-kill shelters, adopting from a shelter that does euthanize can save the lives of dogs that have a greater chance of dying in comparison to those in no-kill shelters. In addition to avoiding the physicality of death, the overall life and wellbeing of adopted dogs improve dramatically with respects to mood, health, fitness and sociability.

When it comes to improving your own life, adopted dogs can be helpful in many ways. Many people who feel alone or rejected can empathize with the dog they adopt by finding value in things that might even be rejected by others. This is fostered by a secure emotional bond that an adopted dog can provide to its owner and is a major reason that emotional support dogs have become increasingly accepted.

When you have something other than yourself that you need to take care of, you are forced to become responsible for it. Adopting a dog is helpful in teaching responsibility because it forces you to think and care about something other than yourself. Instead of thinking about what’s best for you, you also have to take into consideration what your dog wants and needs.

In a small way, adopting a dog helps you learn little lessons of selflessness along the road of cleaning up after, feeding, walking and playing with your adopted dog on a regular basis.

While you might consider adopting a dog just because you think it’s cute, consider the other benefits — and responsibilities — that come with adopting a furry friend.