Students looking for a pet should adopt from local shelters

Chloe Lawrence, Columnist

Babette is a 50-pound, black and white dog that loves a good walk around the lake and occasionally gets the cutest “zoomies.” She’s a loyal companion and good with other dogs. She has been in the animal shelter for almost 100 days. 

Austin is the second largest no-kill city in the U.S. and is home to several animal shelters, but this status is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. On Sept. 13, Austin Animal Center began temporarily restricting animal intake due to overcrowding. Employees and volunteers have been asking the community for support for a few months, as there is still an overwhelming amount of animals under their care.

Students can help by donating their time, money or resources. Taylor Bell, a regular volunteer at Austin Animal Center, started volunteering in June when she saw a plea from the center explaining the extremity of the circumstances. 

“Anyone that wants to get involved, they can really look at what they like and what their skills are, and there will be a place for them to get involved there,” Bell said. 

Even the general public can get involved by walking the shelter’s “green dot” dogs. These dogs are exceptionally good with strangers, so any citizen willing to take some time out of their day to walk a dog is able to. This goes a long way for both the dogs and staff alike.

If students have room in their home, they should consider fostering or even adopting. Students can visit the Austin Animal Center or their website to take a look at which dogs, cats and exotic animals are available. There are both short-term and long-term foster situations, so students can choose between a week-long commitment or a multiple month endeavor. If students are able to adopt, they will have the most loyal friend they could ever imagine.

If students aren’t finding a match at the Austin Animal Center, they can check out Austin Pets Alive!, a nonprofit that’s responsible for the city’s no-kill status. APA helps the most vulnerable animals recover and find a home that fits their needs. They are also looking for volunteers, and students can apply online.

Economics sophomore Ayesha Hameed adopted her dog, Chrome, from Austin Animal Center in January 2022. 

“It’s like you always have someone with you, and he always takes care of me,” Hameed said.

For Hameed, adopting a dog has been mutually beneficial. While having a pet as a college student is hard work, she explains that it has changed her life for the better. Chrome helped Hameed establish a healthier routine for herself and eased her homesickness. 

If you’re a student looking for a best friend or just a way to spend your Saturday afternoon, consider local shelters like Austin Animal Center or Austin Pets Alive! You’ll not only make a huge difference in an animal’s life but also change your own.

Lawrence is a social work senior from Austin, Texas.