greenie53

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So I know this topic was briefly brought up in other threads but I was wondering what everyone's (esp current students too) opinion on this is. I will be starting vet school at CSU in August and I would love to get a dog (partly as a substitute for my soon-to-be fiance who will be back in Chicago :p). I think pugs and french bulldogs are super cute, but I would also love to have a running buddy so large breeds are an option as well (I think my dream large breed would be a Vizsla). I was considering getting a puppy this summer and hopefully have it reasonably trained before school starts. Is this a bad idea to get a dog at the beginning? I can study in most places, so I don't need to spend all day/night at school studying and could be home more.

I could also partly satisfy my pet needs with getting another cat (I currently have one), so then they could definitely entertain themselves and I wouldn't really have to worry about them too much when I was at class during the day.

What do people think? :)
 

hoodle

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I currently have a turtle and rats, who are all cage-dwelling and not particularly sociable. The plan is that we will get 2 cats come summer/school, so they can entertain each other. we will NOT get a dog, much as it breaks my heart, until we have yard it can run in. To keep to that commitment, we're actually renting at a cats-only apartment complex - so even if I find the most adorable, floppy puppy, it's just not an option yet!

The idea of a dog waiting at home for me to come just makes me sad. Especially in the Davis heat - the apartment would have to be airconditioned all the time for the dog's safety and comfort. Even without the heat, though, I don't want a dog unless I can guarentee that it will get a ton of attention and a ton of time outside to roam and romp. Apartment-dwelling just doesn't lend itself to that.

So, I think my answer is that it depends on where you're living - are you renting an apartment, or renting a house with a yard?

Also, once you get to vet school, there will be tons of needy animals who are constantly advertised. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably wait and want to rescue some dog I came across at the hospital. But i can see an argument for getting it early so that it grows out of puppy-badness prior to classes.
 

Rac Umich

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hey greenie,
i'm heading to vet school this fall, so my advice might not be as useful as a current student. but, i too, am in the process of getting a dog. instead of a puppy, i'm getting a rescue doberman. there will still be the adjustment period, but my family has had a lot of success with rescuing adult dogs. i'm also getting a larger breed, i'll be rescuing a doberman, but i also adore bernese mtn dogs, st bernards, great danes, newfoundlands, etc. anyway, dobes make excellent running partners! in fact, i'm a competitive runner, and dobes can make me feel slow when i run a 7min mile pace for 5 miles. :)
anyway, just my thoughts. have fun if you decide to get a dog!
 
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AuburnPreVet

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You'll find that most of your classmates have pets, some have several. I have 3 little dogs. I really wouldn't get a puppy.... you'll find that you spend much less time with them then you'd like. Luckily, I live right around the corner so I'm able to walk my "kids" at lunch, etc... but they don't get nearly as much play time & training as they'd like.
 

twelvetigers

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Especially in the Davis heat - the apartment would have to be airconditioned all the time for the dog's safety and comfort.
The idea of NOT using the air conditioning duringthe summer just baffles me. Are there places where you never use the A/C? Crazy.

I would say go for it, except you should make sure that you will have time to give it proper exercise first. I know you said that you already have a cat, but I know some people here who are in vet shool and don't have pets. Who goes to vet school and can stand NOT having ANY pets? Not even a hampster! I think it's a bit fishy myself.

Anyway, if you decide not to have a dog, good luck sticking to your guns on that one. Lol. Hoodle has a good plan - no dogs allowed! Still, it's tough.
 

dyachei

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The idea of NOT using the air conditioning duringthe summer just baffles me. Are there places where you never use the A/C? Crazy.

I would say go for it, except you should make sure that you will have time to give it proper exercise first. I know you said that you already have a cat, but I know some people here who are in vet shool and don't have pets. Who goes to vet school and can stand NOT having ANY pets? Not even a hampster! I think it's a bit fishy myself.

Anyway, if you decide not to have a dog, good luck sticking to your guns on that one. Lol. Hoodle has a good plan - no dogs allowed! Still, it's tough.

I went to vet school without a pet. Its not that I didn't want to have one, just that my first apartment didn't allow them (but now I've moved) and I wanted to be able to drive to Atlanta for a weekend without worrying (fiance lives there). So yeah, I didn't want to abandon a pet for a weekend to go visit.

It's a good thing I didn't get a pet though. One reason - there are so many pets for adoption once you get here. The other - my parents are moving to Japan and want me to take our 16 year old cats so they don't have to fly.

As to the OP, just remember that you have to make time for your animal, and time is precious. I'm not saying you can't do it, just want to be sure thats a major consideration. I know some people here who are having issues with that. One mentioned that her dog now recognizes her roommate as his/her person because shes never around/always studying. Others just feel guilty for a crating their dogs most of the days. That being said, if having a dog is a way for you to have fun/be sane, do it.
 

athenaparthenos

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The idea of NOT using the air conditioning duringthe summer just baffles me. Are there places where you never use the A/C? Crazy.
Here in Western Oregon, we get maybe 2-3 weeks a year where A/C would be really nice, usually in late August when it gets to the point that your house just can't cool itself overnight. But we get very few days over 90 degrees, relatively speaking, and maybe 2 or 3 a year over 100, so as long as you keep everything in the house shut up with lights off during the day, and open all the windows in the evening for cool air to come in, you can get by quite easily. Especially if you have a basement, mmm.

Personally I'm not allowing myself to get a dog until I live with my boyfriend so that there would be two of us to care for it. I'd love to get ferrets again but I'm going to CA, alas...
 

lissette10

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Since you will be gone long hours at school I would say getting 2 smaller dogs might be a good idea so they can keep eachother company. I wish I could take my dogs with me to school but housing is way too expensive:thumbdown:.
 

TCVM808

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I guess one of the first questions I would ask myself would be about how well your current kitty might get along with a dog. Has he ever lived with dogs before? It is my experience that the more active breeds tend to bother kitties more. Since you will probably be living in a fairly small space, this is not a minor concern. However, you know your kitty best and can probably gauge what type of doggie personality he would click with. :)

I imagine having a 5-month-old puppy waiting at home during first year might be a bit much. You have issues of bladder capacity as well as the intensive levels of training required at that stage. When was the last time you had a puppy around? I swear, the longer it's been the more romanticized the whole thing probably is in your mind! :laugh: I don't doubt that it can be done, but you probably just want to carefully consider the demands on your time. Basically I think an older dog (1-2 yrs.) or second cat would be much more manageable.

However....if you end up with a nutty hyper dog, I have one looking for a Fort Collins playmate! ;) (see avatar)
 

Steelmagghia

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...
I imagine having a 5-month-old puppy waiting at home during first year might be a bit much. You have issues of bladder capacity as well as the intensive levels of training required at that stage. When was the last time you had a puppy around? I swear, the longer it's been the more romanticized the whole thing probably is in your mind! :laugh: I don't doubt that it can be done, but you probably just want to carefully consider the demands on your time. Basically I think an older dog (1-2 yrs.) or second cat would be much more manageable...
Oh man, I second this.
I got my puppy (rescued) last year. She was six months old then and she still hadn't gotten full bladder control (though she is PERFECT now, just an awesome dog).
Also, I've always gotten older dogs, since I prefer to rescue one than to pay money for a dog that would likely get a decent home anyway. So my little girl is my first experience actually having a puppy and oh. my. lord. do they get SICK!
My Shih tzu only had one, maybe two trips to the vet that weren't health checkups, including her final vet visit when we put her down (very aggressive staph infection at about 15 years old).
My Pap is just constantly getting little infections and she had roundworms when I got her so that was fun (vomit and diarrhea every day). Admittedly, the Papillon is more well cared for so I notice her issues more easily, but it's just different having a baby. She's finally getting a good immune system built up, but I am so glad I had a great discount at the vet's office I worked at or it would have been terrible trying to pay for all her bills (and shots!).
Just a thought there.
 
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greenie53

greenie53

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Thanks for the input everyone. I still haven't decided especially because a lot of the decision is weighing on where I decide to live in Ft Collins. I think my cat would do pretty well. He's been around dogs a few times and once he gets comfortable sharing his space, he will start playing with them. By that I mean, when I took him to my SO's house (they have shih tzus), he sat on a chair and took great joy in batting them as they passed by :laugh:. My mom just got a border collie puppy who is now 4 months old, so I've been following her progress. But of course this is mostly over the phone and not the day to day issues. I've also never had experience with adopting an adult dog, not to say that I'm against doing it at all, I just don't have the experience. Is it much different trying to train an adult?
 

hoodle

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Depends on the adult. If the dog has been abused, neglected, or is afraid of people, training it going to be more of an uphill battle (of course, this goes for puppies too, but most them haven't had the bad experiences quite yet). Additionally, just like people learn languages best when they're young, animals are easier to train during their "formative" years. This isn't to say that you can't adopt an adult and have a great experience with it, though! You just have to know what you'e getting in to.

If you love training dogs and want a challenge with a big reward, getting an adult with "issues" might be OK for you. If you want a dog who will be easy from the start, an adult without baggage will be easier for you to deal with then either a silly, happy, crazy puppy, or a scared, scarred rescue dog.
 
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CanadianGolden

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Personally, I'd say getting a puppy the summer before vet school isn't a great idea. An 8 week old puppy would be...5-6 months when vet school began. That means he'd still need to go out at least every 6-7 hours (preferably twice that often!) and would be very lonely all day by himself. Not to mention, how much time will you have for training, housebreaking, etc if you're just learning to adjust to vet school? It's really not fair to a puppy. For an adult dog, it might work, depending on the dog's personality, activity level, and any prior issues. I would say waiting until the summer after first year would be a better plan. (But what do I know...I have tentative plans to get a puppy during vet school!)
 

twelvetigers

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We got Chloe (see icon) when she was three. She came potty-trained and well adjusted, and she was used to being alone for about six hours/day. The previous owner was just moving and I guess didn't think that she would do well there...? I'm not sure. Chloe has kidney and bladder stones so she gets a rotating CD/SD diet and radiographs twice yearly. That may have even been why they gave her away (although they seemed really sad to see her go!) But she's the most well-behaved dog you'll ever meet. Getting a dog like Chloe would work pretty well for you, greenie. Question is... did I just get really lucky in finding such a good doggie? I think a little research, looking, and patience could yield similar results.
 

Steelmagghia

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We got Chloe (see icon) when she was three. She came potty-trained and well adjusted, and she was used to being alone for about six hours/day. The previous owner was just moving and I guess didn't think that she would do well there...? I'm not sure. Chloe has kidney and bladder stones so she gets a rotating CD/SD diet and radiographs twice yearly. That may have even been why they gave her away (although they seemed really sad to see her go!) But she's the most well-behaved dog you'll ever meet. Getting a dog like Chloe would work pretty well for you, greenie. Question is... did I just get really lucky in finding such a good doggie? I think a little research, looking, and patience could yield similar results.
My Shih tzu also came leash and potty trained (from the pound, even).
She was a bit hard headed and didn't like being left alone, so she would definitely break the potty training when left for more than 4-5 hours without a person, but I think had anyone in the family been familiar with dog training at all, that habit could have been broken fairly easily, and she could have been crate trained as well. I was, however, 7 when we got her and my sister was 5, so training was not exactly the first thing on our minds. My dad trained her to "dance" and that was really it.
I think if you took your time deciding on a dog you could easily have a great experience with an older one.
 
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greenie53

greenie53

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So I went to volunteer at the animal shelter today and decided on a great compromise: I'll foster animals (dogs and/or cats) all summer long to fulfill my animal craving for now, and then when I move to colorado, I'll get a feel for how much time I have, if theres a yard/park , etc. :) This way I won't have to move with another animal, have any second guesses about what species/breed I got, and maybe I'll find something really cute and in need of rescue at vet school!
 

VetMed555

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One of the doctors I worked with got a dog while in vet. school. He was married to a vet. student as well. He said the dog became very lonely, and that during their 4th year they barely had time to just let him out. I wouldn't get a puppy, adult dog may be an option. I'm not the one talk though, I have 2 dogs and 2 cats coming with me, and their being neglected terrifies me. :confused:
 

twelvetigers

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If they're important to you, you can make time for them. Consider it an obligation rather than an option. You might have to make an odd combination of study time and play time with the critters, but hey. 4th year might be hard, but I think you can do it. :)

Greenie, that sounds like a great plan. Now, don't get too attached to any of the forst pets... that would be my problem. Haha. Kinda defeats the purpose.
 

Electrophile

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Twelvetigers is exactly right! In vet school, you will make time for what is important to you.

I have 4 dogs: 2 Malinois (the one in my avatar just turned 1 years old yesterday), 1 Malinois/German shepherd mix, 1 husky mix. I couldn't imagine coming home without them and it feels really good to take trail walks with them when you need to get away. I got my pup in June at 8 weeks, so by the time it was time for school in August, he could hold it for about 4 hours, so I came home every single day at lunch to let him out. Didn't make socializing with friends at lunch very easy, but by second semester, he would be fine when I got home by 3 PMish. There's other folks in my class with younger pups, but I don't see how you could do it with a pup much younger than 5-6 months or so. Having 3 out of my 4 dogs be from rescues or shelters, that can definitely be the way to go! :D
 

Wolf Vet

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Greenie, thanks for starting this thread, its really helped with my own descision. I've been desperately wanting to get another Siberian Husky (my last one died naturally of old age over 3 years ago). While I love rescuing adults, they all tend to be Cat-Eaters/Chasers and I have 2 cats. Hence, I'm limited to raising a puppy, a concern for all the reasons above. IBut I think I agree that the 1st summer is a bit too crazy, but possibly the 2nd summer (assuming I have a yard). Either way, I think I will try to avoid temptation this summer.

Oh and Athen:
Here in Western Oregon
Personally I'm not allowing myself to get a dog until I live with my boyfriend so that there would be two of us to care for it. I'd love to get ferrets again but I'm going to CA, alas...
I am a Cali girl and know at least a dozen people who own ferrets. All the petstores sell ALL the ferret products and most vets are willing to "look the other way." My vet even lists ferrets as "Exotic Felines" in our computer, just in case. We even carry ferret vaccines. CA law states that vets can see and treat ferrets, but are not allowed to hospitalize them overnight. Crazy CA government:rolleyes:
 

winglessflight

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Out of curiosity, what is the reason that the government gives for banning ferrets?
 

Electrophile

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Basically, that they are biters (mine never has bitten me) and are wild animals (who have actually been domesticated by humans by ~2000 years) that could wreck havok if accidentally set loose in the wild (which there has never been a case of in the whole rest of the country). :rolleyes: This site has more info:

http://www.ferretsanonymous.com/
 

athenaparthenos

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Glad to hear it may not be so difficult for ferrets after all in CA... but where would I find them to buy? I assume bringing them in from another state would be just a wee bit iffy... But they're awesome little guys and I'd love to have them again. My grandpa found a lost ferret in his garage when I was a kid and nobody claimed him. Zucchini was the best ferret ever -- playful, cuddly, leash/harness-trained, super friendly -- and was just generally awesome. *g* I'd love to bring a new weasel into my life... and no, I don't see them escaping and destroying all of Southern California when a) they'd be spayed or neutered and b) would probably die of heat stroke, considering they do very poorly over 80-85 degrees...
 

winglessflight

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Basically, that they are biters (mine never has bitten me) and are wild animals (who have actually been domesticated by humans by ~2000 years) that could wreck havok if accidentally set loose in the wild (which there has never been a case of in the whole rest of the country). :rolleyes: This site has more info:

http://www.ferretsanonymous.com/
C'mon, their logic makes perfect sense, its not like dogs, cats, turtles, etc ever bite, and cats never go off to the wild and wreak havoc.

Ok, sarcasm over. That's really ridiculous, especially coming from a state where its legal and I have never once seen a "wild" ferret causing trouble.
 

BruceCaboose

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After being told for the millionth time that ferrets stink and bite and are destructive it makes me really happy every time I find out someone else actually likes ferrets. Mine has never bitten anyone in his life, smells no worse than a cat, and has never broken anything (though he gets in mischief constantly... :D). Nothing makes me happier than coming him home and playing with my giggling, dancing weasel. I'm getting a puppy this summer with my fiance- we talked to a vet who went to the school I'll be going to and she said it would be a great idea to have a dog to escape from veterinary school and remind me why I got into all of this in the first place. Plus it's somewhat easier for us since we're caring for him together and will have different schedules.
 

Tiraka

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Aw, every ferret I've met has been a cuddly, perfectly decent pet. A tech I used to work with had two and fostered rescue daschunds, and they made a hilarious sight chasing each other around on their stubby legs.

As for getting a dog, I'd recommend going through a rescue that fosters and can give you a better idea of your dog's personality before you adopt. My shelter pup was calm and well mannered when I was evaluating her, but turned out to have severe separation anxiety (lots of work and time later, it's manageable, but I worry about next year). I know there are plenty of great adult dogs at shelters, but I suspect working with one that did turn out to have behavior problems would be difficult on a vet student's schedule.
 

Wolf Vet

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Glad to hear it may not be so difficult for ferrets after all in CA... but where would I find them to buy? I assume bringing them in from another state would be just a wee bit iffy...
You will be hard pressed to buy them in CA. The majority of my friends and clients go to Las Vegas as they sell LOTS of ferrets there, and then they drive back with them (you could do it in a 1-day trip). The trick is to drive the speed limit and not get pulled over:cool:. If you want more details (exact locations, etc.) just let me know and I can give you some references:)
 

slainte

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First of all definitely adopt. That way you can save a life and have a grateful lifelong companion! I would say yes to getting/having a dog in vet school. But not to getting/having a pup. Puppies require sooooo much work and time even if they are mostly trained they really can't be trusted home alone uncrated until at least one year. Adult dogs are Waaaaaay easier. Usually have some basic knowledge (ie- I don't pee/poop where I live) and housebreaking even a stray is fairly easy. Also adult rescued dogs are so eager to please. My rescued Rottie mix (rescued her at 2 yrs old) has this sense of gratefulness that my purebred Bloodhound just doesn't. I love my hound dog to death but I get the feeling that my rottie really knows how good she has it.
 

PAThbrd

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Back to the topic of puppies...

I am in the middle of 2nd year and just adopted an 11 week old german shepherd puppy from the shelter, on top of my 4 year old GSD that I already have. The pup is crate trained and I can go home at lunch, too. I also have 2 great vet student roommates who don't mind helping when Im in a bind, and my parents live an hour away if I need to take them home for some reason. And I live in the city. So it is doable. And worth it. If you want a pup, just spend the time over the summer to do the housebreaking and basic training and whatnot and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. My dogs are my sanity. I find time to take both of them to dog school every week, they are properly exercised and socialized, and great dogs. I got the pup specifically so my older dog wouldn't be lonely when I get to clinics. The older one doesn't stay in the crate all day, and eventually the pup won't either.
 
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