Should You Get a Dog in College?
Every student asks themselves the question at one time or another during their college years; Should I get a dog? When the apartment life starts to get lonely college students consider getting that furry friend. Many students assume that after moving away from home they can handle the responsibility of a puppy. They can handle school and their laundry, so why not a dog as well?
Students also want dogs to help them deal with the stresses of school. There is nothing that a few wet kisses can't solve! There is a reason that dogs are used for therapy- they are good at it! It has even been scientifically proven that they are one of the best stress relievers.
A friend of mine named DJ recently decided to make the leap and get a dog. He got a sweet little Siberian Husky. I decided to sit down with him and ask him how the pet owner life was going. Having a dog changes your lifestyle whether you want to or not. I wanted to know how he was adjusting!
He explained to me that his morning routine and his weekend plans have been the parts of his life impacted the most. He used to sleep in until 10 in the morning because his classes don’t start until later. Nowadays are quite different with a dog! His puppy wakes him up as early as 6:30 am!
DJ’s weekends are also now restricted because he has to worry about caring for his dog. We used to visit other colleges to attend their football games together, but now we can’t do that as much because he has to think about his dog. You cannot travel as freely when you have one, and boarding can be expensive.
Another important aspect to being a dog owner is managing your time with schoolwork. Many students are very busy and school is already difficult without the responsibility of a pet. I asked him how things are going with his studies and if the dog has become a problem or not.
DJ’s response to this is that it has been manageable. He is lucky to have a break afternoon during classes when he can come home and take his dog out to go potty. He says that he plans to space out his classes throughout the next few semesters. His days will be longer, but it is what you have to do when you have a dog at home. He has been balancing his time well and the dog has not affected his work ethic.
Even with these troubles, not all of dog owning is sacrifice! It can be a great benefit to your life. I asked what was his favorite part about having anew little buddy.
He told me that he enjoys having someone that will always be happy to see him when he comes home. “It’s nice having someone that depends on you for everything like feeding, them, walking them, and making them happy.”
After talking with DJ I began to weigh the pros and cons of having a dog while in college. I have personally had experience with this before.For a period of time I took care of a dog who was in a bad living situation until he was able to find a new home. I acted as a foster home. This is very popular among local animal shelters. It is a way that dogs can adjust to living in a home before they find their forever home. One of the things I liked most about taking care of him was getting up early. Most people would not enjoy this, but I found it to be refreshing to start my day out with a morning walk. It was refreshing to get some morning air and spend some time with the dog before I tackled the challenges of the day to come.
With this spare morning time that I had I would also do a bit of my homework and get ahead in my classes. Inoticed that I became more responsible. I was not going out to social events as often in order to take care of the dog which also saved me money. I liked having more structure in my day and I felt far more productive than ever before.
There were some harder parts to dog ownership too though. One of the toughest things was the amount of money I spent to take care of it. When you buy a dog you aren’t just paying for the dog, you also pay for the food, toys, crate, and treats. Not to mention if anything happens to the dog a vet trip is not cheap. Once you have spent all of this money you may realize that you do not have as much to spend on yourself. This will mean you have to make sacrifices such as not eating out as often or not taking that trip to the mountains during spring break. It is important to think about if you are willing to make these sacrifices or not.
Another thing that people don’t realize is that when you have a dog you have to be careful about having visitors. As crazy as it sounds some people don’t like to be around dogs. Having friends over will not be as easy and the dog could limit your social life. You have to be careful about having large groups because dogs can often become overwhelmed in crowds. If your dog ever decided that they did not like one of your visitors or they were nervous and gave them a nip you would be responsible for injuries.
When it comes to getting a dog, the best decision will be different for everyone. Some people are not ready for dog ownership. Some college students have both the funds and time to put into taking care of a dog, and other students can barely take care of themselves. It’s very common for students buy a dog and then bring it back to the pound when they realize they can’t take care of it.
Spotaneous decisions can be fun, but the decision to adopt a dog is something that should not be a quick decision. You should really consider how the dog will affect your daily routine, your study habits, and your wallet. Dog ownership is not for every college student. It is important to make the most educated decision you possibly can.