For some students, the appeals of moving off-campus include the freedom to decorate their apartment, the joy of cooking their own meals, or the exploration of a new neighborhood. To others, one big benefit is that they can finally parent a pet. I fall into the second category: after moving into my own off-campus space, one of my first action items was finding a feline roommate.
I firmly believe in adopting shelter animals, so I turned to the Animal Rescue League of Boston. It’s located in the South End, a short walk from Emerson. I paid the shelter a visit (expecting mostly to window shop by admiring and cuddling kittens) and was surprised to find out they were sponsoring adult cat adoptions that month. Kittens are often picked for adoption over cats aged one year and older, so ARL Boston was cutting the regular adoption fee in half. What better time than now to save a cat from shelter life and give them the love and care they deserve?
I gravitated to a black cat whose top-shelf cage had a placard hanging from it that read “I’m litterbox trained” and “I’m a lap cat.” I took her into a special socializing room and we bonded straight away. It wasn’t long before I was filling out adoption papers at the front desk. I didn’t bring her home that day, but after clearing it with my landlord and waiting the week for the cat to have her shots and surgery (the cost of spaying and neutering the animal is included in the very reasonable adoption fee), I finally brought Oney home.
Oney has proven herself a great pal and I’ve officially been dubbed the cat lady among friends. A cat was the perfect pet for me; because she doesn’t need regular walks like a dog and I’m a busy city-dweller in a small apartment, I feel capable of providing her with everything she needs.
I owe my positive experience largely to the Animal Rescue League. They are a humane shelter with deep respect and care for animals. They do not adopt out sick animals before they are fully treated — often a concern with no-kill shelters running on limited resources. They made sure my cat was going into a safe and appropriate environment by reviewing a detailed questionnaire I filled out and placing a phone call to my landlord. And they help both domesticated and wild animals escape cruelty, suffering, abandonment, and neglect. Plus, they have on on-site veterinarian where you can take your ARL-adopted animal for free and low-cost treatment, which was a huge plus on a student budget.
Volunteers and donations are always valuable to places like the Animal Rescue League. Consider fostering a pet or donating your time or supplies. Did you know, for example, that animal shelters love raggedy blankets and towels? It’s a wonderful way to give back to the community, and it can fill the void if you don’t have the means to adopt while you’re still a student.