Residency and Dogs

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by Snoopy, Jun 16, 2002.

  1. Snoopy

    Snoopy Senior Member
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    Do any residents out there have dogs? If so, can you talk about how you manage your schedule as a resident and fit a dog into your life? I have plans to get a puppy next spring and will start residency in July 2003 (either EM or IM) by which point the puppy will be 6 months old. I have thought about doggy daycare and pet sitters as possible solutions but would like to hear from any of you with actual experience in this area. Please don't suggest I get a cat--I hate cats. Thanks!
     
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  3. Ryo-Ohki

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    What kind of puppy do you want?
     
  4. LaCirujana

    LaCirujana Smoking Gun
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    I'm just about to start general surgery residency with my 7 year-old German shepherd. We're trying to figure out the same issues that you're thinking about. During med school, I always had roomates who covered for me when I was on call (they had dogs too, and I'd do the same for them). I know my dog is extremely well-behaved and is really good about the housebreaking issue--ie, she's not going to tear the place up or have an accident if she's left alone for long periods of time (yeah, that has been put to the test--during 3rd year--and I feel guilty as hell about having to do it to her even more). It's the call nights that have me worried.

    So far, one of my neighbors has offered to take her running with him in the mornings, and his wife has said she will feed the dog and let her out when needed. They happened to come over while I was moving in--they knew one of the residents that was helping me with the heavy stuff--and just volunteered out of the blue. Since I don't want to impose on them, I'll probably only take advantage of their offer once in a while and pay them to do it.

    My next best thought is that there have got to be other residents who also have dogs and therefore have the same conflict--why not try and arrange a sort of dog sitting co-op? Not taking the dog home with you, but just walking it and making sure it has food and water while its owner is on call. A lot of residents where I am are married (and have kids), so I was also thinking that perhaps a spouse might be interested in making a few extra bucks each week to walk the dog. Additionally, the town that I am in seems to have a service for absolutely everything you can think of, including lots of dog-walkers. If I need to, I will consider hiring one for my call days.

    At any rate, asking neighbors, fellow residents, and exploring the options of the city you end up in seem to be the best options as far as I can tell. I'll let you know in about a month how they're working out.

    Oh, yeah--if you happen to choose a small breed, I saw an actual box training kit at Petco the other day. Yes, it appears to be for real: you can box train a dog, just like a cat! How's that for nifty? I actually think it's doable, but the size limit stated was 35 lbs--my dog tops out at about 85.

    Just as an aside, a 6 month-old puppy really isn't going to be old enough to be thoroughly trained and you won't know how he or she is going to handle the situation. Have you considered an older dog? Also, think about breed characteristics--energy level, need for stimulation, coat care requirements, amount of space required, general temperment of the breed, etc.

    (I hate cats too!) <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  5. Snoopy

    Snoopy Senior Member
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    Thanks for your great thoughts, LaCirujana. I am going to get a labrador. My family has always had labs (we currently have #5 and #6) and I love the breed. I have considered lab rescue but am concerned that many of those dogs have "issues" to work on such as abuse, abandonment, etc. I also really want to go through the puppy phase and bond with my dog as he grows up. Labs tend to be a more energetic breed, though I would probably try to choose a more mellow puppy. That's why I was thinking along the lines of doggy daycare. I wouldn't want to leave my dog without any stimulation during the day. I like the idea of a dog co-op, especially for nights on call. I am ultimately planning on training my dog to be a therapy dog and was thinking perhaps a nursing or retirement home might like to dog sit during the day. Please do let me know how things go and I would love to hear from others.
     
  6. tussy

    tussy Senior Member
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    I really don't think a dog and residency are compatible. Unless you have roommates or a spouse it will be a lot of work to arrange someone q3nights to take the dog out. What about those long 12 hour days? someone has to go let the dog out halfway thru.

    I could understand it if you already had the dog to start with, but i can't understand getting a new puppy under those circumstances. I'm a huge dog lover, and i've tried to rationalize a way that i could get a dog, but as a single resident it just doesn't seem possible or even fair to the dog.
     
  7. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I guess it depends on a few factors...ie, how predictable your hours will be and how willing you are to either ask others for help or to pay for it.

    Frankly, I have to agree with tussy (then again, we're doing surgery and the hours are far from predictable). Some of my fellow interns have dogs but they either have a spouse who can take care of the dog or literally live across the street from the hospital and can run home sometimes during the day to let him/her out.

    I would LOVE to have a dog but there has been no way this year that my hours are predictable enough that I could plan on being home at a certain time. Plus I don't think it fair to a dog to leave them alone for such long periods of time. Cats are much more residency friendly.
     
  8. Meeko1452

    Meeko1452 Member
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    Snoopy, If you are going to get a dog, I would strongly suggest NOT getting a lab puppy unless you know for sure you will be doing residency in a city where you will have friends/family to help. As you know from growing up with labs, while they are among the sweetest dogs, they are VERY high energy puppies. Why not consider an adult from a Lab Rescue? Residency with an adult dog would be doable--residency with a 6 month old lab would be a disaster. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />
     
  9. Meeko1452

    Meeko1452 Member
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    Sorry, I see now that you mentioned rescue. If you got one now (you could foster it before you adopted) I bet you could work out the issues before residency starts.
    Also, be sure you look into the cost of doggy daycare. They tend to be pretty expensive, and you won't be allowed to moonlight for your first year of residency, and so funds will be fairly tight.
     

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