|Barked: Sun Feb 26, '12 7:03pm PST |
|Hey there, I raised guide dog pups all throughout college (and had raised in high school and have raised since college!), although I was in the northeast. The first piece of advice I have for you is: DON'T plan on taking your pup everywhere! Pups are all so different and while you might get one that can handle things just fine, you also might get one that can't go "everywhere" with you. When you're raising, the pup is the center of your world so if you want to go to a theme park but if your pup isn't ready (and most pups won't be until about, oh, just an average, but about 10 months or so), you can't go.
The pup doesn't fit into your life; your life completely changes because of the pup. It's like having a baby in college; there's a reason there are few single moms (or dads) going to school full-time! To be a good raiser, your life will COMPLETELY change. Not saying this to scare you, just want to let you know! There was another college raiser at my school who didn't realize the extent of this and ended up having to transfer the dog because she just didn't realize what it would be like.
Another piece of advice: take really really easy classes the first semester you have your pup. Literally plan your schedule around your dog because your GPA will go down!
I don't mean to scare you; you just need to know that if you do this right, your life is going to COMPLETELY change. I just wish I had known this before getting my first college pup! I had raised all throughout high school so I had loads of experience and even still there were days during my first college pup that I would just sit in my room with my pup and cry and cry and cry because I just couldn't manage everything. Doing school well plus doing the pup well. I wish I had know just how hard it would be. One thing I would recommend is to puppy-sit for a young pup in your chosen program this spring, DURING THE WEEK, for a full week (none of this "I'll do it on a weekend when I have no work and can devote 24hrs/day to the pup" business, because that's not how it works in real life!). That will give you an idea of what it is really like.
I don't have personal experience with Southeastern, CCI, or New Horizons, but I would definitely not turn away from Southeastern just because the pup can't go to theme parks. It's not about where you can take a puppy; raising is about growing a confident, obedient, socialized dog. I don't say this to be mean, but I think you may need to shift your thinking from where YOU can take your pup to what places will be good for your pup to be exposed to for the PUP'S development. Big difference, and you won't know until you get your pup since, like I said, all pups are way different.
I really don't mean to discourage you! For me raising in college was completely worth it. I never was partier anyway, so spending my Friday and Saturday nights with the pup never seemed like a sacrifice.
Anyway, I've written my own little novel here. I have loads more to say on the subject, including a bunch more tips for raising in college, so PM me if you're interested! I promise this post contains the only scary things I have to say about college raising, but I do feel morally obligated to let prospective college raisers know just how different their lives will be. A pup doesn't fit into your life, you change your life to fit into the pup's. Let us know what you decide!
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