Pets are people too

by Christine Whitman, Senior Staff Writer

Let’s be real Aztecs, college is hard. At any one moment a student could be managing five midterms, three papers, online homework, regular studying — and that’s just school.

On top of that, there are the internships, night shifts, social events, going to the gym and making sure there are actually groceries in the house. In the case of these Aztecs they also take care of someone very dear to their hearts — their pets.

Sophomore Meagan Kersey, who lives at Fifty Twenty-Five apartments, and business management sophomore Brianna McGagin, who lives at Paseo Place, make time for all of the above. Kersey is a full-time student, works a part-time job and takes care of her Shih Tzu-poodle mix named Juju. McGagin is also a full-time student, works part-time and still has time to love her dog named Jazz.

Kersey has owned Juju for almost 12 years and has been through just about everything with her.

“I was inspired to bring Juju back to State with me for two reasons: my roommates, and the stress relief of having my childhood pet always there for comfort,” Kersey said. “College gets hard, and it’s always nice come home to a dog that’s always happy to see you.”

McGagin grew up always having an animal in the house, so in 2011 she adopted Jazz.

“Jazz is an emotional support animal. College is increased levels of anxiety, which really inspired me to adopt Jazz,” McGagin said.

Every pet owner seems to have their own quirky, affectionate habits involved with their pets, from celebrating their pet’s birthday to buying them Christmas presents. But with all the fun comes the responsibilities of actually taking care of a pet. Pets need to be walked, fed or taken outside at any given moment — sometimes all three at once.

“There are definitely always challenges with having a pet,” Kersey said. “The number one challenge was potty training.”

Thankfully for Kersey, Juju was potty trained years ago, but there are always new challenges rearing their ugly heads.

The challenges of having a pet here at San Diego State are entirely different. It’s a given that Aztecs spend hundreds of dollars on their books, tuition, food and housing. Adding a pet into the mix is a whole new ball game.

“What’s challenging with owning a pet and being a student is not being home often enough to take Jazz outside, or when I’m really busy studying, or with class I don’t get to spend a lot of time with her,” McGagin said.

Owning a pet is expensive. Of course there’s food, water, toys and a dog bed. But many forget about the licenses, the shots, the checkups, the grooming and the waste disposal. Besides the costs, both Kersey and McGagin have a lot on their plates.

“There are some days where I am so busy between school and work, that I have absolutely no time to spend with Juju,” Kersey said.

Owning a pet definitely has its obstacles, but there are advantages to it as well.

“My favorite thing about Jazz is that she always wants to play, and she always gets so excited when I come home,” McGagin said. “Jazz always loves when I bring apples home, for some reason they’re her favorite.”

Pets have nothing to do but love their owners unconditionally. Pets often get called family, and for Kersey and McGagin their pets are just that.