Life is better with pets

Aug 232004
Authors: Briana Selstad

There is something missing when Sarah Ryan gets home.

“I really miss my cats,” said Ryan, a junior biology major. “If I could have a cat to hold when I come home from school and work, it would be really nice.”

While many students are forced to leave their furry friends behind when they head to college and move into residence halls, pets again become an option when they relocate to an apartment or house.

There are several options available for students looking to get a pet but also many things to consider.

Pet stores such as Pet City, located in Foothills Fashion Mall, offers a variety of pets from hamsters and ferrets to kittens and puppies.

Another option for students looking for a particular breed of animal is purchasing through a breeder.

Carrie Peterson, a Maltese dog breeder in Fort Collins, believes it is helpful to go to a breeder because he or she is knowledgeable about a specific breed. Peterson, like many breeders, offers a three-year health guarantee for every dog she sells.

Dogs from breeders also come with a pedigree proving the dog has a purebred bloodline.

However, breeders may not be for everyone, as these animals come with a price tag that might be out of reach for some students.

Peterson’s Maltese puppies cost about $1,500, and many breeders have similar prices depending on an animal’s breed.

Still, Peterson believes there are positives to purchasing an animal through a breeder rather than from a pet store.

“Pet store puppies often come from brokers from puppy mills, who have no regard for the puppies’ health,” she said. “They separate the puppies from their mothers at six weeks, which is much too young and causes them to have social issues.”

While pet stores and breeders are commonly thought of by potential pet owners, there are still other options.

Trisha Ortega works at the MaxFund Animal Adoption Center, 1025 Galapago St. in Denver, a no-kill shelter, which means the center does not practice euthanasia.

However, this also means the shelter cannot afford to accept all animals and often has to turn animals away because of overcrowded conditions.

One of the reasons for overcrowding in shelters comes back to puppy mills, where a person will produce high numbers of animals that are not spayed or neutered.

Ortega said the conditions in puppy mills can be harmful to animals and can produce unwanted animals.

“Animals are constantly locked up in cages and are strictly used for breeding. They go from pregnancy to pregnancy to pregnancy,” Ortega said. “It’s not a very pleasant way to live.”

Ortega said there are advantages to adoption rather than purchasing a pet from a store or breeder.

“When you adopt an animal from a humane society or animal shelter, you are saving a life …” she said.

Animals adopted from humane societies or shelters also come at a much cheaper price than those from pet stores or breeders. MaxFund’s price is $60 for a dog and $40 for a cat.

The Larimer Humane Society, 6317 Kyle Ave., is another shelter that takes in and adopts out animals. The humane society is a kill shelter, but it has had a 100 percent adoption rate for more than two years.

A cat from the LHS is $70, a kitten is $85, a dog is $80 and a puppy is $90. The society also has other pets, including rabbits, ferrets and barnyard animals.

The prices for the animals include many services from the society, said Cary Rentola, marketing and communications manager at the LHS.

The price at the LHS includes a spay or neuter for the animal, shots and treatments for internal parasites, a post-adoption health exam by a local veterinarian, two months of free pet insurance and an identification tag and collar.

If they are adopting a dog from the LHS, new owners have the option of enrolling the dog in a dog-training workshop, and they receive discounts on dog class registration and behavior advice.

Just like the other options, there are some possible cons to adopting from a humane society. Ortega said many shelter dogs have social baggage and the society often does not know the dog’s extensive history, including its behavioral issues.

“It’s hard to adopt out a perfect dog,” Ortega said.

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