I am all for having a furry companion during med school. I’m pretty sure my cat is what kept me sane sometimes during test weeks. Dog ownership in med school could be pretty tough, but it could also be very manageable. Depends on a lot of factors:
Things that would make dog parenthood manageable:
- having a significant other or roommate to share doggy duties
- fenced in yard where the doggy can run and play with a doghouse or some shady/cozy area the dog can rest in if left outside during the day
- doggy door
- non-mandatory lectures that can be skipped or watched from home
- housing location close enough to school / hospital that you could slip home during the day to let the dog out
- certain dog breeds (some can’t hold their pee for anything. I’m looking at you, weiner dogs)
- a well trained dog (invest in obedience school)
- nearby dog park or regular park where you can walk / play with the dog
Things that would make dog parenthood harder:
- all the furs everywhere
- apartment life (I don’t like the idea of doggies cooped up all day)
- 3rd and 4th year erratic schedules and long shifts
- arranging for doggy care during away rotations and vacations
- 3rd and 4th year rotations at multiple sites
- sick puppies at the most inopportune times (like right before tests)
- RESIDENCY and busy life after med school
I love dogs, but the reasons above are why I have a cat instead.
I got no one to help me out with a dog, I travel, I lived in an apartment with nowhere nearby to walk a dog. But my cat is happy to chill by herself in the house all day and can even manage without me for a weekend if I need to go somewhere. And alls I gotta do is feed her, supply her with toys and catgrass, and clean a litterbox a few times a week.
I just wanted to add a bit to Wayfarings wonderful response!
I have a German Shepherd called Copper and we live in an apartment! Everyone thinks that it’s terrible to have a pet in med school but it’s really not that bad so long as you’re responsible and have your shit together. Like Wayfaring said, there’s a lot to consider.
Copper’s great because I always have a companion, but he can also be a pain in the rear when he wants to be (albeit a cute one). I have to schedule everything around being home for him. He has to stay in his crate during the day (or he’ll freak out and eat my apartment- he’s got some anxiety issues) so the longer I’m gone the more he’s locked up, which I hate.
I have to make it a point to study at home so he can run around- personally he’s great to practice percussion and some anatomy stuff with. And he’s a very good reason to get my lazy bum up and go for a run and walk twice a day.
As far as staying out late or doing night shifts- those have to be planned meticulously around him to make sure #1. He doesn’t wake my neighbors, #2. And making sure he’s worn out enough not to notice I’m gone. (Bonus points if like Copper yours likes to sleep 20+ hours a day). Having someone who lives close who can let him out during long days is more helpful than you could ever imagine.
Like most people I also travel a lot- I live in freaking Poland. And it costs $800 roundtrip for a dog to go to the US, plus all the stress of having to travel with him in the first place (on him and me). So when I go home for breaks he has to stay at a kennel, which stinks but I think he enjoys it. (Lucky for me a kennel here is WAY cheaper than back home). On the up side I can take him more places here than I probably could in the US. (He came to Berlin on the train with me last summer and we went to the zoo!)
Anyway, getting a dog is a BIG thing to consider, I know students who have gotten dogs and then couldn’t handle it which isn’t fair for the dog. And as a medical student you already have enough stress without having to worry about a dog. Every part of it has to be very carefully considered before you take the leap! But, if you plan it right it is doable.