For nearly 18 years David Lee’s golden retriever was his
constant companion. It broke his heart when his dog passed away two
“I was fortunate enough that she was healthy her entire life,
but I would have paid almost anything to keep her that way,” he
Lee is the hospital director of the James L. Voss Veterinary
Teaching Hospital at CSU, and although he feels there is no way to
put a value on the unconditional love a pet can provide, he also
knows that owning a pet can be expensive, especially for
“We prefer that students consider the costs, responsibilities
and overall impact of pet ownership before adopting or buying a
pet,” he said.
Lee feels students may sometimes overextend themselves in terms
of time and money when owning a pet in college.
“Some students have enough difficulty caring for themselves
financially, let alone one or more pets,” he said. “However, most
students that seek veterinary care are educated, dedicated and
Lee said pet owners should count on basic “wellness” care
costing between $150 and $300 per year, while emergencies can cost
up to $1,000 or more and most hospitals require payment at the time
“Students should budget for all of the basic and unexpected
costs of owning a pet, or identify other resources, including
low-interest credit as a last resort,” he said. “There are also pet
health insurance policies available that essentially create a
forced savings plan for veterinary care, but programs vary in their
cost and willingness to pay for certain problems.”
The cost of care can also vary considerably depending on the
type and size of the animal, so Lee stresses that it is important
to research breeds before choosing a dog or a cat.
“Some breeds are much more susceptible to certain cancers and
deformities that can be costly later in life,” he said. “Also,
larger breeds of dogs can cost significantly more than smaller
ones. Shelters are filled with Saint Bernards and rottweillers,
which owners found they could not afford.”
Lee believes it is important to consider all aspects of pet
ownership and to make sure the pet has the longest, healthiest and
happiest life possible.
“I miss my dog,” said Holly Elliott, a freshman animal sciences
major, who left her golden retriever/Irish setter mix, Belle Rouge,
behind when she moved into the residence halls at CSU.
“I would love to have her up here with me next year,” she said.
“I think it is a great idea to have a pet in college because of the
companionship they provide.”
Elliott feels it could be difficult for students to afford pets
and find time to be with them because of hectic schedules.
“I suggest to students who may struggle with owning a pet to
have someone else take care of them, or utilize a “doggy day care”
service, which is a good idea so that your pet is not alone,” she
The Canine Learning Center, 1300 Blue Spruce Drive, provides
training services and doggy day care, which can help relieve stress
of both the dog and owner.
“There are quite a few students who seek our services due to
lack of time,” said Leah Bernander, an employee at the day-care
Bernander, who is also a student and a pet owner, understands
the difficulties of finding the time to be with your pet.
“The day-care center is a great idea because it is hard to be
away from your pet and hard for your pet to be away from you,” she
said. “Our services will not take away the relationship between
owner and dog because we close early enough to where quality time
can still be spent together in the evenings.”
The Canine Learning Center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Monday thru Friday and costs $12 for half a day and $15 for a full
The center emphasizes socialization skills among the dogs during
the day-care hours and also allows them to learn during training
sessions that are offered at night.
“While owning a pet may be difficult both financially and
timely, I think that it is well worth the money spent,” Bernander