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THIS IS YOUR SIGN TO GET A DOG IN COLLEGE!!!

About a month ago, my roommates and I were feeling bored with our lives so naturally, we decided to go on hotels.com, get in the car, and drive to Del Ray. It was a spontaneous weekend getaway, fun girls trip, you know the vibe. The next day we drove home from brunch feeling refreshed from our quick little vacay. We were in no rush to get home, so we decided to make a few stops on the way- the first one being a pet store, just for fun. About an hour after we walked into the store, I FaceTimed my parents, 4 pound Cavapoo puppy in my arms, and said “Meet your grand-doggy!!!!”

So, that’s how Mia Rae came into our lives. Mia, like M-I-A for Miami, the best place in the world and the city we live in and attend college. Rae, for Del Ray, the trip that led us to getting Mia. Of course, we made it “Rae” instead of “Ray” though, because we’re difficult and like the way it looks better spelled with an “e” instead of a “y”. She is the most amazing thing in the entire world and she has forever changed both myself and my roommates lives. She brings us joy when we are feeling sad and shows us endless amounts of love each and every day.

For those of you who are now thinking, “awesome you love your dog, your dog loves you, but…where’s the useful information about what it’s like to have a dog in college?”, here is what you’ve been waiting for…

I have included some of the top questions my roommates and I frequently get asked, and hopefully, it can give those who are considering getting a pet in college a little bit more information:

 “Is it a lot of work?”

My quick reaction to this question would be “no”. However, when I think about it a little more, I live with three other roommates, all who co-parent our little doggy, and they all take their classes online so nine times out of ten, somebody is in the apartment with the dog. Also, we take her out every 2-3 hours so when that’s rotated with four other people, we usually only have to take her out once or twice a day each. In addition to her three other moms, Mia also has about 15 aunts, about four uncles, and at least two boyfriends who are ALWAYS there to walk, watch, snuggle, or play with her. So, I would say the amount of work really depends on who is actually taking care of the dog and how big the support system is. I have been overwhelmed with love and support from all of my friends and family and that is something I am extremely lucky and grateful for.

Side note: This past weekend, my roommates were all away so I did have her alone. Again, I did have other friends around so I was never really alone-alone. It definitely is a bit more time consuming with one person, as your day can get interrupted sometimes because of having to factor in the dog. However, for me, she’s so rewarding that every minute I spend with her (even when I need to take her outside in the pouring rain and ruin my spray tan that I got earlier that day) is worth it.

“Can you still go out?”

I know, it’s college- the best four years of our lives where we’re supposed to only worry about ourselves and try new things and meet new people and have new experiences. Especially in Miami, I would never want to have to turn down a boat day so I can sit around in my apartment all day attempting to teach “paw” to a 12-week-old puppy whose brain is definitely not fully developed yet. Don’t fret! I still do all the activities I want to do. It’s easy to forget, but puppies can be left alone in a crate for a few hours. They are like babies, and they sleep for almost half of the day when you add it up. Puppies often nap every hour or so, sleeping from 30 minutes to two hours depending on the activity done in the day. This is all completely normal, so it’s actually healthy to give puppies time in their crate so they can rest and not get distracted by all the craze and chaos from living with four twenty year old girls from Jersey and Boston in an apartment made for three people. So yes, I can still go on a boat. And when I get home and pass out on my bed (from heat exhaustion of course), I have a little dog that curls up on my head and falls asleep with me. 

Obviously, I wouldn’t get a dog if you were planning on going on trips every weekend and being out of the house everyday from 10-5. You can still be a full time college student, but remember, you are still responsible for the life of this animal and it’s a different kind of responsibility than anything you’ve done before. Have fun, but be smart!

“Do you have to wake up early?”

Mia is our dog. Therefore, Mia is on our schedule. She’s a UMiami girl. She’s not going to bed at 9 pm and waking up at 7 am- none of that. She watches Saw with us at 1 am. We play fetch with her “Totos: Homemade Pawdka” toy around 2 am. Then, she goes in her bed, I go in mine, and she will sleep until I wake up (usually 10ish). My point is, dogs can be trained to sleep when you want them to. And again, puppies sleep for most of the day, so you don’t need to worry about having to wake up at five in the morning the next day after sleeping for only two hours.

Disclaimer- obviously this depends on every individual dog and can take some time. The first week we had Mia she was waking up around 8 in the morning, would go to the bathroom outside, and then go back to sleep. 

Soo..if you’re thinking about it…

YES! You should get a dog, or a pet of any kind. Now’s the best time. Something I have been trying to do recently is to stop feeling down and depressed about the things I can’t do anymore in light of  Covid, and instead embrace the gifts and opportunities I now get with the time and resources I have. Mia was a gift in my life and she was able to bring safety, security, and comfort in a time where these things are scarce. She eases my anxiety, and lifts my overall mood. I truly believe dogs are superior to humans and I think everyone needs one in their life!

20, Student at University of Miami
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