When I was a junior in my undergraduate career, I decided to make the decision to adopt a lovable furry best friend. I will admit up front, he has been my #1 fan and a huge support system as I venture my graduate career.
I went to the University of Arizona for my undergraduate (Go Wildcats!) and found myself missing that special someone. As most people would think that would be a human being, I knew that I wanted to adopt a pet. In April 2011 I decided to get my little man from an adoption agency, his name is Krispy. Once I graduated from Arizona, I was accepted into Texas A&M University Kingsville for my Master’s degree. I decided that I would take my dog, rather than leaving him at my parents’ house while I went off to graduate school (with the assumption I’d likely move back to Arizona after this). Well I’m writing this article as a fourth year doctoral student at Texas A&M University. This little fella has traveled across state lines with me throughout as I pursuit next steps in my career.
One of the biggest questions people ask themselves, “Will I have enough time for a dog”? I highly recommend that all graduate students take a thorough look into this question because you are adopting an animal that requires time, love and resources.
So what should you expect if you own a dog during graduate school? Expect that you cannot leave them to themselves because they look up to you as a role model and best friend. I make it a point in my life to take him on a walk at least 5 days a week in the morning, when its warmer outside I also take him on an afternoon walk. It makes my heart happy when I see him “smile” as we walk around the park. You should also expect that there will be expenses with a dog. I have likely one of the smaller breeds, the larger the breed is equivalent to the larger the cost of the dog! Some of the costs associated include vaccinations (annually), heartworm/flea prevention (monthly), food (daily), toys (monthly), treats (weekly), accessories (leash, bowls, collar etc.) and emergency medicine (hopefully never). These costs begin to add up, I promise you, so ensure that you are financially ready to invest in your furry best friend.
What can you “gain” from getting a dog? This is kind of strange to talk about because ideally if you want a dog, you hopefully truly want a furry best friend. My dog makes my day always start and end on a positive note, he is a very happy dog that is always excited to play and cuddle. In addition, on those days that are very stressful or emotionally demanding, I come home to a peaceful and loving dog. It also motivated (sometimes forces) me to be active by taking him on walks, runs and to the park. Lastly, there are times that events are “dog-friendly” and I find this to be a great atmosphere to meet up with local pet owners that may potentially become good friends.
Ultimately the choice to get a dog is up to you, I highly recommend that you do some prior “research” and “thoughtful consideration” prior to making this decision. For me, this was one of the best decisions of my life because I’ve had a partner to love and enjoy for the past 6 years (with hopes of many more to come).
If you’re looking to purchase a dog here in the Bryan-College Station area, check out some of the local animal shelters first! Here are a few resources for you:
Thanks and Gig’em,
Kristen Hicks MS, RD, LD, PhD Candidate | Nutrition and Food Science
is a PhD Candidate and Registered Dietitian in BCS who aspires to improve the health of all Americans.