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Old 03-04-2010, 03:11 AM
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Fran101 Fran101 is offline
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Default The College Students Guide to Dog Ownership

Welcome to college!

So, either
a)you have a family pet you are taking with you
OR
b)you are planning on adopting a new friend once you start.

If your a plan B, first things first is to make sure you have time for a dog! Go to your guidance couselor and get your "plan of study" for your major for the next 4 years, this will vaguely tell you the classes you will be taking. I also suggest starting classes and doing a semester before getting a dog, so you can get a feel of what college is like before you add on a responsibility.

Do you have the time it takes to care for a dog?
Do you travel a lot? (home for the holidays/weekends?) can you take your dog with you?
Are you in a sport/club that takes MOST of your free time?
Can you afford a dog?
and most importantly..
CAN YOU MAKE THIS 10-15 year commitment? Dogs dont just live 4 years!

your first step is to find a place (close enough to campus obviously) that will accept your dog
RENT.COM is a wonderful resource because you can narrow down your search with "dogs allowed".

if you are going with B, you need to narrow down the dog you want, your best bet in my opinion is adopting an older small dog, you can either adopt a retired/older dog from a breeder or go to a shelter or rescue Puppies are very cute, but with an apartment you are renting, plus with the business of college..potty training can be very hard. not to mention the whining and stuff can annoy your neighbors. Small older dogs are already potty trained usually, and their small size makes them easy to find a place to rent

breeds to avoid are: Most breeds over 50 pounds, AMPT, Rotties, GSDsetc.. not that these aren't GREAT dogs. but its VERY hard to find a place that will allow you to rent with them.

Toy breeds are usually your safest bet.

Ok, so you've decided you have the time for a dog, chosen an apartment, chosen fido, and are all settled in! good for you

You will need some things.. obviously for fidos arrival. you know, collar, leash, bowls, toys etc..

some people use a crate when fido just arrives. I used my bathroom! lol its a safe room, where fido has acess to food, water, a bed, and some toys.. and its small enough they feel secure and there is nothing in there they can destroy!

First things first, make out a SCHEDULE this schedule should include not only your classes, but your "doggy duties". this includes what time you wake up, feed fido, walk fido, are in class, meetings for clubs, etc.. . Having a schedule is a GREAT way to make sure EVERYTHING gets done and fido feels comfortable. Don't forget to set aside time for studying!

Now, Usually your typical dog needs to be fed twice a day and walked twice a day.

HAVING A DOG DOES NOT MEAN BEING A COLLEGE HERMIT
lol great things about dogs, is that most of the time, after 9 p.m. they dont care what you do. TAKE CARE OF FIDO FIRST and then go out and have fun at night Join clubs, go to parties, do w/e.. but make sure fidos needs come FIRST! he needs to be walked and fed and cared for. Having a dog doesnt mean giving up a social life in college, it just means making adjustments to it!

Dogs are a great responsibilty, and they are lots of fun! buts its not always fun and games, having a dog means putting its needs before your wants! Sometimes, you might have to Walk/Drive ALL the way home to walk fido even though youd rather stay on campus, and sometimes you might have to not go on a trip or something because of fido, you need to know that you are OK with this before bringing fido home!

PROS:
- dogs are great stress relievers, after a hard day there is nothing nicer than coming home to my lil guy
- they are a great way to meet people! nobody on a college campus can resist a cute doggy!
- Great way to fight off the freshman 15! dogs are a great way to motivate you to exercise!



CONS
- the cost. MAKE SURE YOU CAN AFFORD A DOG! that doesn't just mean daily care, that means vet emergencies!
- Travel. you cant just pick up and leave on a trip! Dogs need to have a doggysitter or come with you, and that takes planning and time
- TIME. dogs need to be walked and fed and played with. this means that you cant just sit around on campus all day
- Doesnt matter that youve had 5 midterms that day and you want to go to sleep. your dog needs a walk!

SOME MORE HELPFUL HINTS

-talk to your neighbors, chances are, they have a pet also! many are more than happy to have playdates, doggy sit or even walk fido for you from time to time become friends and sometimes you guys can set up a system!

- FIND A VET IN YOUR AREA, as well as an emergency vet. its something you will need to have!


Having a dog does mean giving up certain things, but for most of us that have dogs in college, it means getting so much more than we are giving up dogs in school are NOT RIGHT FOR EVERYONE. please make sure you have the time, money, and are ready to take on the responsibility

A great way to get that doggy fun without the responsibility of one is to volunteer at your local animal shelter. plenty of dogs to cuddle and play with, but w/o the hassle of actually owning one

please add anything youd like to add on I just thought this would be helpful
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:38 AM
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Very good post, and wonderful advice!
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fransheska101 View Post
CAN YOU MAKE THIS 10-15 year commitment? Dogs dont just live 4 years!
Wonderful list, very helpful to those in that situation. I would just like to comment on what was quoted. When you are at college, your life is all planned out ahead of you. Just remember, often, the best laid plans fail. You are young right now and cannot be sure of where your life will lead you. Don't ever rely on just yourself as the dogs only caregiver, you NEED to have a back up plan. What if you get offered an awesome job and fido just won't fit in? As family or friends if they would be willing to take fido if you cannot look after him.
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:31 AM
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I'm aware college students are generally broke (I know I was!) but it's a good idea to have some emergency money saved up before getting a pet. I know it's not always doable but if possible it's a good idea. My emergency fund is for people and pets. :P It's unbelievable how quickly vet bills can rack up.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:12 AM
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Great post Fran, you had some awesome information on there!
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:36 AM
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I would add to that to write down your goals for college. Do you want to study abroad? Intern somewhere? Work part time for money? Join a greek house? Go on spring break trips? Join a sports team? Lead a club?

All these things take time. Some of them, a lot of time. Some of them are completely incompatible with having a dog. For example, you can't take Fido to Spain for the semester, so you'd better be willing to give up studying abroad, or have someone who will take the dog for 5 months for you. Greek houses often mandate that you have to live there for a year, and most don't allow pets. Jobs and internships add 10-20 hours per week on top of class time.

Fran's right, you don't have to be a hermit, but you do have to give up some things, because no one can do everything in college! There's just too much to do!
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Old 03-04-2010, 04:59 PM
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Great! Make a pamphlet!

I would also add that as most students will be spending Christmas holidays and summer with their parents, that the student either have parental blessing on the pooch, or have another back up plan.
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:23 PM
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oh wow! thanks for posting this! definitely some good info on there! My coworkers sister is about to begin school and wants a dog...might just have to pass it on to her, lol
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maura View Post
I would also add that as most students will be spending Christmas holidays and summer with their parents, that the student either have parental blessing on the pooch, or have another back up plan.
This is SO important! There are several colleges/universities in my area, but no shelter or rescue will adopt to college students. This is not a capricious decision on their part, but comes rather from sad experience. Every year, when summer vacation rolls around, dozens of formerly-beloved pets become unwanted. The lucky ones go to a no-kill shelter. The rest are simply---dumped.

Now obviously, most students don't dump their animals, but it is a big problem. Having a backup plan as Maura suggested, is such a wise, sensible, responsible thing to do.
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