Should You Get A Dog?
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Should You Get A Dog?

Factors to think about when adopting your next fur child.

Should You Get A Dog?
Cassandra Huggins

January 31, 2015: the day I became a dog mom. Like most college students, I had dog fever. I had been wanting a dog for the last six months and had been joking about it with my parents. Well, after a copious amount of research and a change in events taken place, I had the go from my parents. The research I did, helped, but like they say: nothing prepares you for motherhood. After having my fur child for a year and a half I have some advice for those of you who are looking into a getting a dog, especially in college.

1. The financial commitment

The financial commitment is extensive for getting a dog. Not only paying to adopt from a rescue or buy from a breeder but the vet bills, shots, apartment deposit, possible pet rent, food, and toys. The commitment while in college can be a heavy one. The vet bills will depend on which vet you go to and if you have low-cost shots in your area. The apartment deposit also varies by each apartment. Some apartments you only get a certain percentage of your deposit back. Let’s say, hypothetical of course, that your dog gets her tray out of the bottom of her cage and eats a whole in the carpet. Say goodbye to your deposit. Speaking strictly hypothetical. The point is, dogs can do some damage when they are bored. My apartment has pet rent but I know some do not. Pet rent is not as pricey but let’s say $20 over the course of 12 months adds up. Food is at the owner’s discretion. Bigger dogs are going to need more food than smaller, mostly common sense stuff. You also have to take into account there will always be factors that are unpredictable. For example, if your dog doesn’t do well on the food in your price range. Food is not something to cheap our on, it affects their whole personality. The toys, there are many ways to handle the toys. Toys depend on what type of dog you get. Are you getting a high energy dog, a chewer, a cuddle-er, etc.? For example, my childhood dog would play with fortune cookies we would give him from our take out Chinese and be in heaven. My dog now has to have the most durable chew toy on the market. All dogs are different financial commitments.

2. Getting a dog that fits your lifestyle

If you’re an active person, to a person that likes to watch Netflix and eat ice cream, I am sure there is a dog for you. The first time I took my dog to the vet she asked me if I liked to run, she could see my new dog was more on the active side. I told her I was going to try and run with her but I had only had a Yorkie before, not really on the active side. She agreed and said that a workout for a Yorkie is getting up on the couch and running around the house and it would be different for this dog. That is when I realized that there is a big difference between different dog breed’s lifestyles, it should have been a no-brainer. Another lifestyle matchup is asking yourself if you can handle a puppy at this stage in your life. If not, look into rescuing. Rescuing dogs can be very rewarding. There are not only puppies they have adult dogs too. Often times you don’t have to go through the puppy stage but saying that you also don’t know exactly what bad habits your dog may have picked up. Play this by ear, if your dog is in need of some training take the time and train them. This will help you out in the long run, establishing that you are their alpha will help not only you but your dog. Rescuing or buying from a breeder is a personally choice and both have pros and cons. Only you can decide which best fits your lifestyle.

3. The time commitment

I thought college was the best time to get a dog because the schedule is so flexible. I am not gone for eight hours a day like I would be if I had a job. I was both right and wrong. We all know as college students that the closer you get to graduation the harder it is to schedule classes. So far I have been able to only leave my dog at home for no more than 4 hours at a time and I hope that keeps working out, but there is not a guarantee. You also have to fit regular outside activities if you do not have a backyard. Walks and going to the dog park have to make their way into your schedule. Also, there are unpredictable like when your dog wakes you up at 2 am needing to go outside because their stomach isn’t feeling good. Did I mention you have a test the next day too? An animal is a large time commitment, just make sure you’re ready for it.

Overall, getting a dog has been the best decision I could have made. I did my research and although it didn’t fully prepare me I am glad I had thought about a few key things before adopting her. Getting a dog is a long-term commitment, not until they don’t fit into your lifestyle anymore. Saying that, coming home to a fur baby that loves you unconditionally is the best part of having a dog. I wouldn’t trade all the responsibility she has taught me for the world either.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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