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I’ve loved dogs my whole life and have always had them in my family. I had (sort of) recently lost the dog my family had brought home when I was only four years old; she was my best friend. So when we were sent home from school last March, my family decided to adopt a puppy. The pandemic presented us with the perfect time to do so because I would constantly be there to care and train the puppy. Plus, it helped that my mom wanted me to have a dog when living away from home (and not on campus with loads of other students around) for the first time since I would be moving into my first apartment that coming August. (Little did we know, I really didn’t need to since all of my classes were online.) The day before we were sent into lockdown was the exciting day. We went to the humane society a couple of counties over and adopted a German Shepherd/Husky mix who had already been spayed. While looking online, I saw her sister and that’s what made me decide to go to the specific humane society. Plus, they had named the whole litter names that related to Starbucks. This pup was named Macchiato (my fav drink) and the pup I ended up taking home was named Venti. Macchiato had looked the most like the dog I had lost a few years ago. When we got there, however, this other little stinker was sitting in her kennel, patiently looking at each of us with a happy expression. She wasn’t barking like crazy at the presence of new people and had so much love building up to give us when we would finally meet her. The staff showed us all of their dogs and I decided to go with Venti. We met her in their room set up for them to introduce their animals, and we instantly fell in love. This girl had big hazel eyes and such a cute little puppy trot. We played with her for a little bit and decided to fill out the paperwork. Eventually, we took her home and after some time, we named her Leia. Side note: If you’re looking to adopt and you have other animals currently in the house like we do, it helps a ton if you have their shot records handy. My dad had our other dog’s shot records on his phone and that’s what allowed us to get approved and take our pup home the same day.

Over the next few months, my life flipped upside down. I was putting all of my energy into this pup because it would eventually be mine. At first, my parents were calling her a family dog, but I knew she was all mine so I knew I had to take full responsibility. My mom ended up training her how to walk and a few other commands, but potty training and everything else was all me. To be honest, I sent myself into a big depressive episode. Not only were we in lockdown so I chose not to go out while some others did, and (TMI) I also did not shower often or even change my clothes everyday. I knew they would have ended up getting dirty anyway since I was constantly caring for a puppy. I even had someone call me out for putting Leia first since ‘she’s just a dog’. I lost friends, quit the MLM I was doing (and not earning anything from either), and was basically house-ridden. That’s how much a dog can completely change everything and how much of a responsibility it is when you take it on all by yourself. Of course my parents helped me some, but I was not relying on them. 

Now that I’ve reached the point of actually having a dog with me while attending college, I can definitely recommend. If you’re looking for apartments, try getting a townhome or something at the bottom level. I know it’s not as safe as living on the second level, but it will make life a lot easier. Especially if they’ve ended up getting into something during the day and end up gagging in the middle of the night. I’m on the second level, so I just rush my pup to the small kitchen area that I have to make cleaning up easier even though it never works since everywhere else in my apartment is carpet. Having your pup crate-trained is a good thing as well, especially if they’re young and get into things when you’re not there. It will also help give them a safe space while adjusting to a new living space. When we first moved in, my pup wasn’t used to being the only dog so she was barking at everything and ended up getting complaints from one specific neighbor, despite the rest of the neighborhood having barking dogs as well. With that, make sure you try to find an apartment with thicker walls if possible because mine are super thin. Having a dog with you means you’ll never be alone either, which has helped me tremendously. In college, if my roommate was gone for the weekend, it was such a weird experience to be in the dorm alone and being able to hear everyone else in the rooms around me and in the hall. The same feeling happens if you’re in your apartment alone but ten times worse because you hear sirens or other people going into their apartment but could sound like they’re going into yours and having a dog provides extra comfort. You’ll always have a cuddle buddy and something to get you out of bed everyday. I recently went through another depressive episode and Leia was the only thing getting me out of bed since I had to take her outside and feed her. Being responsible for another living creature is so rewarding. I also have fish and both my fish and dog provide me with routine that has helped the value of my life a lot. Everything else I do during my day revolves around them, those spoiled little nuggets. Since school is online, the only thing I have to worry about is making sure I take Leia outside before my only live lecture so she wont bother me during it. That’s where having a kennel for your pup could also come in handy if you have multiple live lectures close together or if you need some time to focus and work on homework. You could put them in there with a toy or whatever and you know they’ll be safe and not make a mess of something or bother you. But I think that’s all I have! If you take anything from this, know that your life will be filled with a lot more love and attention towards you if you decide to get a puppers. I hope this helped!

I am a senior Environmental Science and Anthropology double-major at The University of Akron. I love science, Starbucks, writing, and hanging out with my friends and my dogs. I also love music and am apart of The University of Akron’s marching band.
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