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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting a Dog in College

So, you’re on the verge of giving in to that puppy fever, huh? I can’t blame you, I gave in to the puppy fever almost two years ago, and it’s been the craziest journey of my life. Before I made the decision to bring my dog home, I read through dozens of blogs about owning a dog in college, but none of them could have prepared me for this. With that said, here’s a list of five things I wish I knew before becoming a dog owner as a college student.

The real difference between rescue dogs and purebreds isn’t just the money.

Have you heard the idea that purebreds are better than rescues? Yeah, forget that. In fact, purebred dogs are known to be more prone to genetic health problems than some rescue dogs. The real difference between rescue dogs and purebreds is the training and support you give them. Everything dogs know is from their past experience, and where they go in their future is completely up to you and your training. With rescue dogs, you have to consider their past traumas. If you are capable to cater to the dog’s specific needs in your current environment and where you see yourself in the future, that’s a key component.

Your mental and physical health will hit an all-time high.

Since becoming a dog mom, there’s no more staying out until 2 am or doing the iconic morning walk-of-shame. That mental and physical shift in my life has been the greatest change that accompanied owning a dog. The responsibilities of being a dog owner encourage me to get out of bed in the morning, put myself and my dog on a normal eating schedule, get outside and exercise multiple times a day, and explore the city with my best friend beyond the four walls of my studio apartment. Now I see what the mothers were talking about when they say “your entire life changes for the better when you have a baby.”

Is your roommate ACTUALLY cool with getting a dog?

Before I decided to get my dog, I made sure to ask my roommate about her opinions, as having a dog affects everyone in your home. My roommate was so excited about me getting a dog until I actually brought him home, and the resulting environment eventually led me to break my lease for me and my dog’s wellbeing. You really have to consider if your current living situation is suitable for a dog, and the fact that your roommates didn’t originally sign their lease to live with pets. Take time to sit down with your roommate or someone you plan on living with in the future, and give them the time and space to express their opinions, set boundaries, and keep an open conversation.

Having a dog MAKES Traveling a lot tougher.

I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve had to cancel spontaneous weekend trips or day-long adventures because of my responsibilities as a dog mom. While I wouldn’t trade my dog for the world, sometimes I miss out on certain events or experiences that I would have been able to attend if I didn’t have a dog. You know that saying, “it takes a village to raise a child?” Well, at least in my case, it was very true, and luckily I have a small army of vetted friends to reach out to if I need a dog sitter. This brings me to my last point…

Your human (and furry) friend group is about to double in size.

One of the greatest side-effects of getting a dog is the number of new friends and connections you will make. Bringing your dog to the dog park or out on the town frequently will not only socialize your dog, but it will open a gateway for you and your dog to make new friends with a similar lifestyle to yours. This will help you build that “village” I mentioned in my previous point, and have a small army in your arsenal to call out to for support when you need it.

In the end, it’s safe to say that getting a dog while in college has been one of the craziest, but best journeys of my life. Everything changes when you get a dog, and it’s an even bigger shift if you’re a college student. Take the time to talk to your roommates, consider all of your options, and the potential challenges you may face before deciding to bring a new dog home. And remember, make the decision that has the best outcomes not only for you right now, but for your future!

Lover of nature, discovery, and natural hair. You may know Rachel from Tiktok @whim.social as a content producer and writer of news and happenings in Charleston. She's a Taurus sun, Leo moon, and Leo rising! Rachel is a Junior at the College of Charleston working on her BA in Communication and Marketing.
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