Sophia Meador, Opinions Editor

We’ve all the seen the heart- wrenching TV commercials where Sarah McLachlan sings “Angel” while sad dogs and cats beg us for donations. For many like myself, these commercials can convince them a shelter animal is in dire need of their love and attention.

Each year, 3.1 million dogs and 3.2 million cats are placed in shelters, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Although one can easily argue that college students are too busy and irresponsible to properly tend to the needs of a pet, no pet parent is perfect.

Perhaps college students are not exemplary when it comes to providing the best possible home for a pet. But any home that provides a pet love and attention is better than a lonesome shelter.

Caring for a pet in college is not a one-way street. Owning a pet has several benefits for the care provider.

College can be a stress-inducing, depressing, and lonely place. Pets can make an otherwise void campus feel like a home. In fact, pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets, according to HelpGuide, a nonprofit focused on mental health and wellness.

Owning a pet can also bring structure and routine to a student’s chaotic scheduling. Carving out time to feed, walk, and attend to pet’s needs can establish stability in a students life.

This past year, I started living with a cat for the first time. While skeptical at first, every day I’m eager to come home and see our beloved pet. Pet ownership helped me grow as an adult and taught me to tend to the needs of others. I feel more prepared to care for other pets and people in the future.

Though owning a pet is not for everyone, caring for a pet is well worth the extra work.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.