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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Of purse dogs and puppy love

    Joyanna Jonescolumnist
    Joyanna Jones
    columnist

    I love animals. I’m partial to little furry cuddly things, especially little dogs. But no matter how cute and adorable a Chihuahua looks peeking out of a hot pink handbag with a diamond collar, a dog isn’t meant to be confined in only a few square inches of space.

    For that matter, a dog isn’t meant to be confined much at all. To be a good pet parent, one has to be willing to provide the time, love and attention each type of pet requires.

    A beta fish is perfect for living in a dorm. It sits in its little bowl and just needs you to remember to feed it and change its water.

    I myself have had a few of these in college, most memorably, “”Stupid Freaking Spaz,”” or “”Spaz”” for short. I rescued this beta from the aftermath of a “”bobbing for goldfish”” competition.

    I’m not a member of PETA, and I do eat meat, but I was personally horrified that people were putting live fish in their mouths for sport. Nobody had any plan what to do with these fish afterwards, so I rescued Spaz and about 30 goldfish.

    Spaz was the only one who survived. He was so named because I believe he sustained some type of fishy brain damage from his traumatic experiences and swam erratically for the rest of his life.

    My point is, a fish, a rodent, a cat or even a reptile are much better suited for apartment living than an energetic puppy – although, a snake may not be conducive to good roommate relations.

    A dog needs far more space to run around and play and needs a lot more time spent taking care of it. There are several shelters in the Tucson area, dedicated to rescuing small dogs that have been cast off by their owners like last seasons accessory.

    No matter how adorable a retriever puppy looks peeking out of a stocking on Christmas morning with a bow around its neck, a pet shouldn’t be a gift for anyone, unless he or she is ready to take on the responsibility. The puppy is going to grow. A lot.

    Pima County will euthanize over 19,000 unwanted dogs and cats this year, according to a local animal rescue website. A dog or a cat should never be unwanted unless it has a terminal illness or a severe behavioral problem that can’t be fixed, like biting babies.

    Not having enough time outside of class and work to keep a puppy occupied and out of trouble is not a reason to get rid of a dog. It is a reason to not get one in the first place.

    However, choosing not to be a dog owner in college does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of everything that is furry and adorable. Pima Animal Care Center is desperate for volunteers.

    Richard Page, volunteer coordinator with Animal Rescue Foundation, is only looking for a commitment of four hours every two weeks.

    Jan Brick, a volunteer for ARF says: “”College students are perfect for this job because they often have at least one afternoon free a week.””

    Brick calls herself an adoption counselor and takes her duties very seriously. “”If we weren’t here,”” she says, “”they don’t get adopted.””

    Because of ARF volunteers, the animal shelter is able to stay open longer on the weekends. The volunteers staff the shelter for adoptions only, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Most of the shelter’s adoptions occur on the weekends because families are able to come together to look for a pet.

    Volunteer duties include walking and playing with the dogs, adoption paperwork and helping match up potential families with the best possible pet for their needs.

    Instead of confining a dog to a small apartment with no yard, consider volunteering so that more people are able to adopt.

    Joyanna Jones is a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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