Owning a pet is a big responsibility and should not be taken lightly. If you think you have a hectic schedule as is, it will be more occupied with a pet. This isn’t to frighten you, it’s essential to make sure our pets are living their best days beside their owners.
Dogs are dependent animals and while cats are mostly independent (if they have auto-timed feeders), they still need their human companions who choose to adopt or purchase them at home for necessary quality time.
I’ve had the beautiful opportunity to grow up around dogs my entire life. Watching students walk their dogs around the University of Arizona campus and post their pets all over social media left me longing for a fluffy companion.
I was gifted Roma, my Siberian husky, on Dec. 25, 2018, and my life changed forever. I like to think that Roma was the one that pushed me to work hard in college so that one day I will give her the backyard she deserves.
Every semester since having Roma, I’ve had to diligently plan my courses and work schedule around her. It wasn’t easy driving to campus and back home several times a day to let her out for walks and big stretches.
I try not to complain because she’s my best friend, but it can be difficult to manage working, being a full-time student and having a social life with a pet who I want to give the world to. This never changes either as I still plan my days around her.
It’s difficult to manage school, work and a social life with a pet, so before deciding to get a dog, ask yourself these few questions.
- Can I afford a dog?
- Do I have ample space for a full-sized, 50-60-pound dog?
- Do I have anyone that can support me in case of an emergency?
- Is there sufficient free time in my schedule for recurring walks every day to reach their needed exercise?
- Are there plans for travel or study abroad?
- Am I ready to raise a dog who might have separation anxiety?
If you are ready to own a dog while being a full-time student, great! Watching your dog grow into their personalities and big ears is so fulfilling. Nothing is better than having a fluffy companion to snuggle up with during our cold Tucson winters. The matching dog-owner costumes are to die for and the memes of having the weirdest dogs are hilarious and relatable.
I’ve been lucky enough to have great managers and professors who understand a last minute dog emergency. I’ve also been stuck in situations where I couldn’t get to Roma at the time I wanted to and it broke me because she is 100 percent dependent on me.
Despite the bad days, when she took adequate time learning to “go” outside or when she chewed on my glasses while I was at Olive Garden, I would do it 100 times over. Roma has taught me much about myself and how I act and react.
Roma unfortunately had separation anxiety when she was a puppy and I had to research and learn ways to help her cope. It took a long time to find what worked for her and it interfered with her potty training. This time in our lives wasn’t easy because I was trying to help my loving dog that can’t speak for herself.
You have to give serious thought into what your life will be like once you adopt or purchase a dog. Dogs have so much emotion and carry feelings in similar ways.
Find what works for you and plan, plan, plan! The better prepared you are before owning a pet, the smoother things will go. The best tip I can give you is to get your dog professionally trained. You don’t have to find an expensive trainer, just find one that works well with you and your dog's needs.
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Jacqueline (she/her), born and raised in Arizona, is a senior studying digital journalism and information science & eSociety. She spends her days with her two huskies, Chemino and Roma. Jacqueline enjoys hiking and is a coffee enthusiast!