Oct 242004
Authors: Jennifer Johnson

For nearly 18 years David Lee’s golden retriever was his

constant companion. It broke his heart when his dog passed away two

years ago.

“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

conscientious owners.”

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

of service.

“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


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