|Barked: Wed Feb 9, '11 4:09pm PST |
|Ohhhh man. This is a subject close to home.
I got a dog when I was in my 4th year in college. I was living with my then-boyfriend of three years, and we thought we were ready to adopt a dog when we moved in together. I thought we planned out everything - initial start-up cost, adoption fee (which included her spay), vet care, emergencies, etc. I started looking on Dogster for behavior advice, started reading training books, figured out what breeds would work well with our lifestyle. I knew I'd be taking the most care of her since he worked a ton of hours. I was in school full-time and had a part-time job.
We ended up adopting a 4-month-old collie/shepherd mix. She was a doll, but holy crap was she A LOT of dog. She had horrible separation anxiety. We crate-trained her, but she messed in her crate every single time. So, I'd come home to a smelly, poop-stained dog every time I came home from class or work. Once she was bathed, she was a ball of energy, so lots of walks and basic obedience training. Not a lot tired her out, so after all of that there was more playtime indoors to be had before I could even think about studying. Plus, it was always hard to concentrate when there's an adorable ball of fur giving you th sad, bored puppy treatment.
I was tired, boyfriend was tired, and she caused a lot of fights and sleepless nights. Neither one of was was about to rehome her, so it took a lot of time and energy and money and adjusting to having a dog. Eventually, we broke up, and then there was the dreaded "who gets the dog?" conversation. I did, because I took care of her, but I was also moving across the state for a new job after I graduated. I could not find anywhere to rent that I could afford that would take a dog her size (50 lbs.). So, I was screwed, and crying hysterically to my parents that I would have to take her to the local shelter because I could no longer keep her.
THANKFULLY, my gracious parents decided to taker her in and keep her. I had every intention of getting her back once I got settled and found a new place to live in the city where I moved, but they became so attached to her that they kept her. She's still a part of my family, and probably happier with them anyway because they have more room and more people at home - better for her anxiety issues.
Now, several years later, I'm more stable in my life, and have adopted Rylee. Her and Abby love to play and are great sisters when I visit my parents' house. Their house really is the best place for her, and they are better people because of her, too. Abby is a wonderful dog, and I couldn't imagine what my life would be like had she never entered it, despite everything that happened.
Owning a dog is a major, MAJOR life-changing event. Just like when you have a baby, you never know what it's like until it happens. In my opinion, having learned from my experiences, college kids are not stable enough to own dogs. You never know where your life is going to take you in the next 5-10 years. You don't know where you'll be living, if you'll have a job and where and how good, who you'll be living with and where, and what you're going to want to do. College is a time to be experimental and do whatever you want on a whim, and owning a dog does not permit you to do that. You have to plan everything around walks, feeding times, training sessions, socialization, and vet appointments. Not to mention the financial responsibility.
Please think long, long, and hard before you make the decision to adopt a dog. Wait a month or two really thinking about it, and see how you feel. Of course, some people can handle it, but I just wanted to tell my experience, because I think it's a way more common story than a college student actually succeeding in owning a dog and having it be the best experience ever.
Best of luck.
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