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Old 02-26-2008, 04:12 PM
2 posts, read 28,519 times
Reputation: 12


As the title suggests, I want to get a puppy when I go to college next year. I know a lot of people look down their noses at that because a) I'm young and most people think that means I'm irresponsible, and b) college is a lot of work so naturally I won't have all the free time in the world. But before anyone passes judgment on the situation, let me explain my side of things.

I'm passionate about dogs, but I've never been able to own one. I've lived in New York City my whole life and I'm going to college in New York City as well, but I'm moving into an apartment with my friend (who's getting a puppy in a few weeks) over the summer. My plan is to get a puppy (a black lab) over the summer so I have a few months before college starts to bond with it and train it, so I'm not immediately just leaving it alone for a few hours a day. I do plan to study film, and I know film students have hours and hours of their day eaten up by filming, editing, sound mixing, etc, but I think it would be cruel and inhumane to have a pup locked up for more than four or five hours a day, so I would do everything in my power to cut down work I have to do at school. I'm not into the party crowd, in fact I'm not very social at all, so all my free time after homework would be solely devoted to the puppy.

As far as exercise goes, I'm ecstatic whenever I get the chance to play with a dog, so I'll never pass up a chance for play time. Lots of people say to me, "Yeah, well you won't be saying that when you have mid-terms and you're up all night studying!" But like I said before, I don't go out and party or whatever with friends, so I'll have much more time to study than most college students, and therefore I'd have ample time to tend to my pup. But even in the off-chance I couldn't somehow make time for the puppy one day, there's always my roommate as a last resort.

I understand taking a care of a dog is an immense amount of work. People tell me their dogs get them up at the crack of dawn to go to the bathroom, they chew, etc. I'm fully aware of these things and I'm ready to take them on. Lots of people tell me to wait until after college, but I've been waiting to own a dog since I knew what it was, and when I move out I'll finally have the chance... I don't think I can wait any longer.

So, all that considered, do you think this is a good idea (or at least not a bad one)? I'm actually considering getting two puppies so they'll have each other when I'm gone and won't be too lonely. What do you think of that as well?
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:24 PM
28,905 posts, read 46,723,251 times
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No. Sorry.

I know your intentions are good. But a dog, especially a larger breed such as a lab, need to have time outside. Not just a daily walk, mind you, but sustained time out of doors. Locking him up in an apartment will be tantamount to putting him in a pen 22-23 hours a day. Having lived in enough apartment buildings in my day, I know what happens to dogs in that situation. They quietly go stir crazy. Some get aggressive, some just bark all day because they're bored out of their cotton-picking minds.

The other thing you have to realize is how all-consuming college life be, especially if you are really committed to your studies. A discipline such as film dictates hours upon end in the edit suite, sometimes to the wee hours of the morning. And as much as you like the idea of playing with your dog, that means he/she will have to wait for you to get done with your project before they get time with you.

Look at it this way. Dogs are like small children that never grow up. You love them, and they love you. Would you coop up a small child 23 hours a day, and only give them love maybe an hour in the morning and an hour at night and 3-4 hours daily on the weekend? Of course not.

So do yourself, the dog, and your sanity a favor, and forego the dog until you really are sure of your footing in life. That will make your first experience of ownership a much more positive one.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:56 PM
Location: Loss Wages
1,311 posts, read 6,005,094 times
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I agree to wait. I know you are frustrated about having to wait, wait, wait..trust me, I'm a certified dog trainer who can't have a dog for a least another year! So, I sympathize your frustrations. Why do I wait? It's not fair to any dog for me to be finanacially strapped and lack of proper space.

School is a lot of work and you will have double if you have what it taks to be in the film business. Highly competetive. You may even get a job on the side on top of it. I don't know your financial situation nor where your location is in NYC, but I want you to look at your budget. Do you have enough cushion for basic needs like food, toys, and crates? NOw, see if you have cushion for vet bills. How about damage to household if you get a puppy? One dog is a handful let alone two. It's VERY difficult to train two dogs at the same time. Let alone juggle school work. Training is a life-long commitment and you keep that up with the lifespan of the dog. Larger dogs require more out of you than smaller dogs. Puppies become your life for about the first year, sometimes two depending on the breed. LOL And if you get a shelter dog, which I hope you do, shelter dogs come with "mystery histories". Sometimes, you don't know what the dog came from and what he will bring to the table.

IF you can confidently look through all those things and say I can supply a good and fulfilling life for my future dog, than that is wonderful!!! We all want to see "no more homeless pets" and more people opening up their homes and their hearts is great. But, it's when they do it out for short-lived intentions and end up not following through with their commitment to the dog and to the community. it's those people we want to lead away from pets ownership.

Make sure your intensions are sincere, your lifestyle and finances are secure, and wait until you get settled in your schooling. Once you have a feel for your environment and stressload, you can make much better practical decisions on what's best for you and your future with pets.

Good luck and don't worry. You WILL get your dog. Timing, these days, is important to consider.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:59 PM
158 posts, read 524,562 times
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I was a serious college student who didn't party and didn't have much of a life, and there is NO WAY I'd have had time for a dog, much less a puppy, much less a LAB puppy, much less a Lab puppy in an apartment. Wait.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:36 PM
32 posts, read 186,903 times
Reputation: 23
First, I totally understand your position. Really I do. I'm 26 and I just adopted my first dog at the beginning of the year. In college I wanted a dog. Really wanted a dog. My parents said it wasn't a good idea, and I begrudgedly accepted their advice. So I got a cat. I know, not the same thing, but it did fill my animal void. Once I graduated college I wanted a dog, but again people said it wasn't a good idea. And I'm glad I listened. A few months later I got a job on a cruise ship. College is about freedom, I guess. Once you graduate, you'll want the freedom to move where you want, take a job that travels, ect. If I didn't have the freedom to drop everything and go on a road trip, or visit Europe for a few months, I would have really missed it. The fact is, you want a dog, and by no means is anyone thinking that you're not mature enough for one. You just shouldn't deprive yourself of the experience that you are about to encounter. Seriously, get a cat.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:44 PM
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,975 posts, read 17,589,459 times
Reputation: 5009
Originally Posted by Flashbaak View Post
I was a serious college student who didn't party and didn't have much of a life, and there is NO WAY I'd have had time for a dog, much less a puppy, much less a LAB puppy, much less a Lab puppy in an apartment. Wait.
True on all counts, and I'm even way past college. Student, having a life outside of school, puppy, LAB puppy and apartment are really over all bad combinations. No reflection on your maturity or dedication to caring for one, but when reality sets in, I don't want you to resent this creature and feel that it is the ball and chain it will become.
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Old 02-26-2008, 07:11 PM
4 posts, read 35,613 times
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I returned to college (for a second degree) with a dog. It was not easy, even being older, with my own place, and being past the whole party mentality. I love my dog and would not give her up for any power on earth, but she is a lot of work. It is like having a baby. I'm guessing you are about 18 and finishing high school (sorry if I'm wrong). Do you want a child at this point in your life? I've had friends in situations similar to yours and it always ended with the dog needing a new home. College is supposed to be a fun, care-free time (well, except for studying). Do you want to be tied down when your friends are going out for the night or away for the weekend? It is not fair for a dog to be alone day and night. It is not only what's best for you, but what is best for the dog. There is also the expense, my dog just had her shots and teeth cleaned and it cost hundreds of dollars, and that's just routine. She had other problems which have probably costs thousands over the last two years. Are you ready for a five hundred dollar vet bill? This is a big decision and starting college is a huge life change. I would at least wait until you are more settled in your new life at school. A dog will still be there in a few years. That said- I wish you luck and hope it works out for you.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:01 PM
40 posts, read 389,180 times
Reputation: 37
I agree with those above who have said to wait. I acknowledge that you are a driven individual who is ready to commit to spend your time "getting the job done" in college, but I strongly encourage you to think outside the box. How many hours a week will you have to work to pay your rent, grocery bill, etc? Will you be able to buy the software needed for your area of study, or will you be forced to toil away in a computer lab of some sort? As a senior engineering student, I despise the fact that I was forced to spend the majority of my time in the engineering computer lab b/c the university couldn't provide student licenses for their software. Oftentimes, I found myself spending twice as much time on a project than I had originally allotted. It happens. Think about the added special requirements for a course. Professors are notorious for making attendance mandatory at speaking events, etc. Typically at the end of my day, I'm too tired to even watch tv. I would much rather collapse on my bed.

My suggestion: Help your roomie out w/ her dog. That way, you can still fully enjoy having a dog around; however, you aren't held accountable for the time commitment and expenses.

Good luck!
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:06 PM
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,975 posts, read 17,589,459 times
Reputation: 5009
CountryGirl had sound advice. Foster your roomie's puppy and see how that goes. Puppies are notorious chewers. Labs are notorious headstrong dogs, often bucking training and house breaking. Two puppies is a formula for disaster...you may have to ante up on repairs in the apartment. Mine chews up wood better than termites.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:08 PM
950 posts, read 3,179,715 times
Reputation: 329
It's not a good idea even if you have the time/ability to take care of the dog now , b/c you are going to probably move around alot & not every place allows dogs. When you are starting out it is harder to be selective re: where you live if you find a place at a decent price. In short, you will probably have too many life changes in a short period of time which will increase the likelihood that you have to give the dog up, which is not very nice .
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