If a new pet is on your radar (or an addition to the current family), please carefully consider the following:
1) Time commitment: Fall is arguably the busiest time of the year - back to school, end of summer social events, heading into the holiday season, there is a LOT going on. Do you really have the time and flexibility in your schedule to add a pet that will require socialization, training, vet visits, and lots of love?
2) Stability: Changes in environment cause stress for our animal companions. New roommates, frequently moving to new locations (or going back and forth from your parents each holiday), and changes in daily schedules can throw off your pet's groove and affect appetite, activity, and overall sense of security.
3) Cost: School is expensive. Really expensive. No, really really expensive. So is a new pet. There are supplies, vet visits, the spay or neuter surgery, food, more food, monthly parasite prevention, toys, unexpected vet visits to remove toys that were eaten...and the initial cost of the pet. Plus you gotta pay for your own dinner - Ramen noodles, again?
4) Lifespan: A new puppy or kitten is a decade plus commitment. Where will you be in ten years? Or two for that matter? Other pets including birds or reptiles may live several decades. Can you be positive you will still have the time, space, and devotion to meet all their needs?
We love new pets and new pet owners, but please, please be sure you are prepared for the serious commitment you are making. Each year we see far too many animals homeless or even euthanized because they were an impulse decision and no longer fit into their owner's lives. Be honest and if you're not ready for a pet's complete dependance volunteer at your local shelter, visit pet-owning friends, and mooch all the benefits that make pets awesome while avoiding the commitment of having your own until the time is right.