The Oxford Eagle
When Maddie Krema walked into the Lafayette County Animal Shelter in Oxford, she just couldn’t ignore the yapping that was coming from the back of the building.
“I definitely wasn’t planning on getting a dog,” Krema said. “But somehow, by the end of the day, I had found myself a new best friend.”
Krema and her roommate Lexi Griggs were at the shelter for Lexi’s extra credit assignment, but both brought home more than they bargained for – two stray terrier/Australian shepherd mix dogs who, in fact, are siblings. Both dogs are girls named Blair and Lilly.
Krema and Griggs are just two of the many UM college students who adopt pets from the local Humane Society and must learn to care for them as full-time students.
Griggs had been to the Humane Society numerous times to volunteer. On this particular day, something changed.
“As soon as I saw this cute little white dog, I knew I couldn’t leave without her,” she said. “It sealed the deal when I found out her name was Blair, which is also the name of my favorite TV character.”
Griggs was referring to Blair Cornelia Waldorf, a popular character from the television show “Gossip Girl.” As soon as her dog was adopted, Griggs quickly made her new dog’s full name match the character’s.”
Krema was absolutely heartbroken when she found that her friend was adopting a dog with a very close sibling. The two dogs were found together off of County Road 173 before being brought in in June.
“I wasn’t planning on adopting a dog when we got there, but when Lexi adopted Blair, and I found out Blair had a sister,” she said. “I hated the idea of separating the siblings.”
Though it hurt, she left the shelter with Griggs and Blair, leaving Lilly behind.
Griggs and Krema had not been home 15 minutes with Blair before they were back in the car to get Lilly.
Though the two are happy with their new furry friends, they do agree that having the two dogs is very difficult because they are still college students.
“I’m an officer in my sorority, so the time commitment is the biggest issue,” said Griggs. “On top of that, they are very expensive, and college is pricey enough.”
Krema said weekends are probably the hardest.
“It’s the worst on the weekends when we have football games, and I’m gone almost all day. I hate leaving her,” she said.
At the end of the day, they said having the two sisters in their home makes it worthwhile.
“Blair is my daily dose of stress release,” Griggs said. “It’s hard in college to take time out of your day to just relax. Blair isn’t worried about school. She’s only concerned with the bone that fell under the couch. I just love how carefree dogs are.”
Krema said her dog, Lilly, is the same way, and it takes a lot of pressure off.
“One of the best things about Lilly is that no matter what mood I’m in when I get home, I’m happy to see her because she’s happy to see me. She’s a great reminder that there is more to life than school, which helps take so much pressure off.”
Jenn Petermann, executive director at the shelter, is supportive of college students who own animals.
“I get the argument about there being too much responsibility,” Petermann said. “But I would make the argument that it’s a great thing to have the responsibility. Learning how to have something reliant on you and take care of it is a big deal and very beneficial while in school.”
Petermann spoke from experience, having both a cat and dog while in college herself.
“My pets were the one solid consistent thing in my life back then,” said Petermann. “In college, you move in and out of apartments, have different jobs, maybe a boyfriend, or you’re in and out of relationships. The pet stays the constant, and that’s such a nice thing to have.”
Krema agreed, noting that Lilly keeps her on schedule, which she definitely appreciates.
“We have our routine, which includes going for walks a lot,” she said. “Lilly likes to wake up at 6:30 every single morning, so I’ve had to start getting up a lot earlier than before. But since I’ve had her, I’ve been outside a lot more, and I love that.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity for students to learn the responsibility of caring for something else,” she said. “It’s a great first step to have a little four-legged one before moving on to a two-legged one. Definitely explore the idea.”