Everyone from my parents to my other relatives and even my friends were telling me that I shouldn't get a puppy in college. "It's not a smart idea", "A lot of people get pets in college and end up regretting it", or "Do you really want to have to take care of a dog?" or just some of the responses I got when I told people I was getting a puppy. But that certainly didn't stop me from getting an 8 week-old puppy because I knew that I was ready to take on the responsibility.
My boyfriend and I rescued our playful pup from a bad situation about 3 weeks ago. His name is Madden, and he is half Dachshund and half Beagle. He is the sweetest, most cuddly little puppy that anyone could ever wish for, but he is also a handful. For the most part, we knew what we were getting into when we got him, but we had some unexpected things pop up. So before you buy a new puppy, make sure you are completely prepared.
Research, research, research; I cannot stress this enough! If you decide to buy from a breeder, make sure you heavily research the breeder. Find how long the person has been a breeder, if they properly take care of both the puppies and the parents (treated humanely), where they are located, whether they socialize the puppies, and especially whether they have gotten any of their required shots and have accurate documentation to prove this. If you rescue, get all the proper documentation, vet records, and history!
This is where my boyfriend and I ran into trouble. We drove 2 1/2 hours to get our beautiful puppy, and were given a "vet record" that detailed where, when, and what kind of shots the puppy had gotten, and they said they would mail the rest of the documents within the week. However, that never happened. We never received anything from the people, nor would they answer our calls or texts (we called/texted them a lot). When they wouldn't respond to our texts or calls, that is when we started to get suspicious. I decided to give the Veterinary Hospital that Madden had supposedly gotten his first 2 rounds of shots and dewormed a call, and was shocked when they had no record of him whatsoever and he had not received any shots. As soon as I got off the phone, my boyfriend and I drove to a Vet. Shot Clinic and got our puppy his first round of shots and dewormed. Now, this only cost us $36, but we were not expecting this and it could have been a lot more expensive had we not found this clinic that only does shots.
2. Financially Prepared
Make sure you have enough money to buy the essentials for your new puppy, shots that you have to get the puppy every month until they are 20 weeks old, any extra toys or treats, as well as emergency vet visits. You may have the money stored away to buy your new puppy, the essentials, and even shots; but, make sure you have extra money saved for unexpected vet visits! Luckily, we haven't had to take our puppy to the vet for anything other than shots and checkups, but we might in the future and we are prepared for it. Vet visits are expensive! My nana's puppy got an ear infection and she had to take her puppy to a vet clinic where they charged $30 for the visit and an additional $60 for the medication. Think about all of this and budget before you buy a puppy.
I'm sure as most people know, puppies take up a lot of time. You have to have time to train your new pup to go to the bathroom on puppy pads or outside, how to do the basic commands (sit, stay, come, etc), walk and play with them, and most importantly having time to love and care for them. Getting a puppy during the summer was perfect for my boyfriend and I. We have plenty of time to do all the things mentioned above, and have him "potty-trained" and basic commands down by the time school starts! Which will leave us even extra time during the school year to just spend time with him, play with him, take him on walks, etc. Before getting a puppy or any animal, make sure that you are not too busy to take care of them! It is so sad for any animal to have to be cooped up in a crate for long periods of time, with no attention. Your new pup deserves so much love and attention!
Make sure you have your pup socialized with both dogs and people! This is so important because you don't want your new family member to be afraid of other animals or people, nor do you want them to be aggressive. The day our puppy came home, he was around people and my nana's puppy. My boyfriend lives in a house with 7 other frat boys and I was a little worried that he would be nervous around so many people, but I believe that helped him since he was introduced to so many people. Madden absolutely loves people and will run up to any new person to say hi! He also loves other dogs and loves playing with them, as if he is as big as them. My nana's puppy is a 1-year-old Labradoodle who loves to play and is bigger than Madden, and Madden still went right up to the puppy and began playing with her! I am so grateful that my puppy is surrounded by so many people that adore him, and even has other puppies to play with! My boyfriend and I cannot wait to walk our puppy on the U of A mall when he has all of his shots and school starts back up again!
With all of that said, if you are fully prepared for a puppy, you should definitely get one! Little Madden has brought so much joy to my life and everyone's lives that he is around. He is such a cuddle-bug and has to be cuddled on someone to fall asleep. I love having such a joyful puppy and I'm so blessed to have been able to get a puppy in college, and have him beyond college as well!
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