Does anyone have puppy or kitten that they care for while in Nursing school?

  1. i really want to buy a new pup. i'm in my second semester of nursing courses. however i live alone and would be the only one caring for the puppy. i want to get a yorkie or a yorkiepoo. my parents fear i won't be able to handle it and that the pup will be alone for too long. does anyone have any advice or previous experience in this area?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Achoo!
    If you can wait until summer break I think that would be beneficial. We got a lab puppy in April last year. We didn't have the time to put into him for training and we are now paying the price. He is now huge and still thinks he is a puppy. If you have a good solid few months in the beginning for training it would go much smoother for you. They take alot of time and effort-good luck!
  4. by   FNimuaeMae
    I'm gonna say wait.... I got my dog as a puppy when I graduated from my ADN program and was in my one year BSN bridge program. She did not get the attention she deserved, as the schoolwork and working as a new RN took all my time. Its just not fair to them. She has some separation anxiety issues now, and can be really needy. I love her to death but its like having a baby.... you need to be able to focus on them. School is just not the time to do that.

    Missy
  5. by   Jules A
    Hi,
    I am a huge fan of dogs and cats, couldn't live without them, but I would also say wait. Unless you would consider adopting an older dog and even then it would be best if you had more time to spend with them. When you are ready please check out petfinder.com because they have a ton of wonderful animals that need loving homes. Best to you, Jules
  6. by   nurseangel47
    Agree with above replies. It would be more fun for both of you if you could wait until you have more time available to spend training, bonding with future dog.
  7. by   RNfromMN
    Actually, this may be exactly what you want to hear :

    I moved out of state a few years ago, so I have no family or real close friends within state. Before I got into school, my socializing mainly consisted of going out to the bars a few nights a week .

    Once I got into school, I realized I could not go out to the bars anymore & I was caught in this catch-22: I couldn't go out anymore, but I also had a lot of time to spend at home. I had a lot of down time, but still couldn't go out to see my friends anymore like I used to because I was busy with school work. So, yeah, I get "nursing school" lonely!

    I decided to get a dog after being in school for about 2 months. I remember one of my instructors saying, "Don't you think you have enough on your plate right now?" I didn't even tell my mom about it at first (how sad...my mom lives 250 miles away from me, I'm a grown adult, & I still hid the fact that I was getting a dog from her! ) because I thought for sure she'd poo-poo the idea.

    Well, Scrubs is sitting here with me now, & he's honestly the best thing I could have done for myself.

    This is gonna be a little longer than I intended, but I think there's a lot that went into making this transition being so smooth for me:

    -Go on Petfinder.com: Adopt a pet and help an animal shelter rescue a puppy or kitten.. I'm a huge "pound puppy" advocate now because of my experience with the Humane Society. Scrubs was actually days away from the chopping block before I found him ! They'll tell you right online whether or not a dog is house-trained, gets along with kids, other animals, etc. Dig around a little bit, though...sometimes the first pets that are listed come from places that charge over $100 in adoption fees. I got Scrubs for about $80 altogether - & that included the micro-chip, vaccinations & neutering Humane Society does for all their pets. I also just recently found that a Human Society in my area has something called "Re-homing" for pet owners that had/have to give their animals up (for various reasons). These dogs have already lived in someone's home & those people can tell you how well-behaved they are, how house-trained they are, etc.

    -Plan on when you're going to bring your puppy home. The way my schedule worked, we always had a 3-day weekend, starting on Friday. So, I waited until Friday morning to bring him home, just so I could be there a few days to see how he'd react to his new home.

    -I recommend not getting a puppy. For me, I knew that even though I'd always have a 3-day weekend, I didn't feel that was enough time to house-train a puppy. Not just the potty training, but you have to think about all the stuff lying around your house right now that a dog could get into. Now, that being said: the Humane Society told me Scrubs was full-grown, but it didn't take long after I got him home to realize that he still had a lot of puppy in him! I got him a little over a year ago, & I'm guessing he's maybe a 1 year & 1/2 right now. And we did fine. So, maybe get a puppy...I don't know ! Had I known he was that young, I probably wouldn't have gotten him. We got lucky.

    -I got a Dogs for Dummies book. It really helped a lot. I'd always had dogs as a kid, but never had the responsibility of taking care of one on my own. This book helped a lot. It even has a section on what kind of dog you should get, depending on what your needs are & how much time you'll be at home, etc.

    -I also did a lot of research before I got Scrubs. I wanted to know exactly what I was getting in for...just do random internet searches with words like, "Should I get a dog?" "What do I need to know before getting a dog?", etc. Most of the sites I found stressed that getting a dog isn't just a 2 year, or even a five year committment. My friends just put their little weiner dog down after 16 years!

    -I decided early on that I did not want a little tiny dog. They generally have poorer bladder control & are more hyper, which is not my cup of tea. That's also why I decided that I wanted a male dog - less hyper.

    -Make sure your landlord's okay with it. I knew mine was, but still thought I could sneak Scrubs in just so I wouldn't have to pay extra rent for him every month. The Humane Society will actually ask you about this & in my case, they actually called my landlord to make sure it was okay. I read somewhere that apartment living is a #1 reason people give up their pets. The Humane Society wants to make sure this is going to work out for you.

    You know what you're schedule is going to be. Personally, I found that I had more time to spend at home when I was in school than when I was working, so it worked out for me. I'm actually worried about what I'm going to do when I graduate because once I start working full-time, that will be the longest time Scrubs has ever had to be at home alone (actually, I'm planning on getting him a little brother when the time comes). If you're not sure that you're going to be home enough, I'd recommend talking to a vet. I wouldn't ask the folks at the Humane Society, because although they may mean well, they may just want to tell you what you want to hear.

    So, a lot of people are giving you the thumbs down, & maybe they're right, but my experience with Scrubs has been wonderful & honestly, I couldn't have imagined it working out better. Had I waited until I got out of school to get him, I wouldn't have had as much time to spend with him for our first couple years together. He's wonderful to come home to after a long night @ clinical & it relieves a lot of nursing school stress to just take him out for a walk when I get home. I haven't had to resort to this yet, but I know I have a couple friends that would come over if I was stuck @ school for a long time that would let him out, if need be.

    Good luck. Remember, this is just my experience, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. You can PM me if you have any questions!
  8. by   not now
    Puppies require too much attention to adopt one while in nursing school. They need that time to play, house break an son on. Kittens on the other hand, not so much. I got my Ralphie during LVN school and he did fine, I got my Pernella last month during RN school and they are both happy. With cats they kind of do their own thing. Pernella will play with anything that makes noise or with Ralph. When I study they just lay next to me and nap.
  9. by   Daytonite
    i'm a big dog lover. my home as a child was like a barnyard. any animal that got a home with our family was there for the rest of their life. i was a 4-h kid and had a lot of projects going with all kinds of pets. but because i've lived in apartments most of my adult life, dogs just weren't a real possibility. cats, however, are much more suited to solitary life. i was very concerned about getting a pet at first, but i got a kitten back in 1978 and he was with me until he died at the age of 18. cats, unlike what many people might believe can be quite friendly. i have one who, very early as a kitten, showed a knack for fetching. that kitten i first had back in 1978, plus two that i currently have are very friendly and walk right up to visitors and want to be petted and be shown attention. you don't have to take cats outside for walks and all you need to do is keep their litter box clean which is not a major problem if you have only one cat. you can go away for a weekend and leave down water and dry food and they will be ok, although i really don't do that anymore. you can't do that with a dog. my experience with cats has been that it is best to get a cat as a very young kitten to avoid problems with the litter box. older stray cats that i have taken in just don't take to using the litter box the way they should--in fact, some of them are just dysfunctional in their indoor toileting habits because they are accustomed to toileting outside. indoor cats, in general, live longer than dogs. smaller dogs, in general, live longer than larger breeds of dogs. my cats are strictly indoor cats, all female, all calicos, so they have major attitude (calicos are always female and known for their attitude)! they sleep with me and they are usually somewhere close by me. one follows me around like a dog. they also "talk" to me, something i encouraged. one is now a insulin dependent diabetic. she's lucky i'm a nurse because some owners would have had her put to sleep. learning to do "fingersticks" on a cat is a interesting experience! when ever i have moved, whether or not a place would allow pets was a major consideration in choice of places to move into.

    i have taken in cats from the animal protective agencies (i cried when i went to what i called "death row" to choose one of these cats just knowing that most of them were going to get gassed in a day or two), strays i've taken in and kittens from litters that others were trying to get rid of. my experience has been that strays and those from the protective agencies have not lived long in good health. perhaps it was the stress from their early life, but many of them died too early, in my estimation. the cats that i've had and known of who have lived into their late teens have been pets since their early kitten age. my current cat with diabetes was a stray i got when she was about 9 months old and pregnant who is currently 12 years old.
  10. by   RENAISSANCE RN
    kittens are easy, if you have 2 and dont mind the destruction of your home.
    I think with a puppy, you should wait. Dogs need people for good socialization.
  11. by   locolorenzo22
    True, I grew up with my favorite pup from the time I was 3 until 16. We had a lot of wrestling, a lot of walks, and a lot of misunderstandings from time to time. Usually when I was waiting for the school bus, he'd jump over his pen fence, or dig under it and come running up just as the bus pulled up 3 blocks away. He was also known as the humping dog, as he usually humped all my friends legs whenever they came over...but only the guys.....
    In my own personal opinion, I cannot wait until I'm out of school and have the time to deal with a pup. I'd like one now, it'd be good with the landlord, but I can't focus on a pup with enough energy right now for it to be fair. I figure that may be my graduation present to myself.

    Consider your options, and know that having a pet is like having a kid. You OWE it to them to make sure they're always fed, happy, and secure.
  12. by   stpauligirl
    Quote from sethj
    i really want to buy a new pup. i'm in my second semester of nursing courses. however i live alone and would be the only one caring for the puppy. i want to get a yorkie or a yorkiepoo. my parents fear i won't be able to handle it and that the pup will be alone for too long. does anyone have any advice or previous experience in this area?
    i have to side with your parents. it wouldn't be fair to the puppy to be alone all day. puppies are like babies ....some puppies are actually worse than babies. i had a puppy that howled lowdly and disturbed the entire neighborhood when i only took a trip to the grocery store puppies need to be housetrained day and night...you won't get much sleep until he grows up and that might never happen either, i have an 11 year old beagle who still doesn't sleep through the night...i am not kidding
    cats are different, like someone said here: be ready for destruction in your home if you leave kittens alone for too long. i am not kidding you either on that one, i have 3 cats lol
    maybe you could get something less complicated, like an aquarium or such.
    Last edit by stpauligirl on Jan 3, '07
  13. by   kenzy
    Maybe this will help maybe not? When I was in nursing school I had two elderly dogs and 1 cat. It was really hard being able to give my animals the attention that they once received when I started school. I did however live with my boyfriend at the time and he was working full -time, so it wasn't much help. A few months down the road I lost one dog and then a couple months later I lost the other. After they passed I had mixed emotions, I was torn between feeling so guilty that when I was at school or studying they wanted to play or atleast have a quarter of the attention the once received. On the other hand I was terribly hurt over the releif I had when I had no dogs, no more feeling guilty. I'm not saying that It cant be done and done with a good job, but I am saying it would not be fair to the animal. This is your time to better yourself there is enough obsticals you are going to face in school, dont be the cause of one that may or may not hurt you in the long run. Since I have graduated I now have 2 dogs of my own and a third that was going to be just a foster for a short period and has been here for 3 months and he being (sarge) has no plans of going any where. I guess what I'm saying is I work full-time and its hard with the dogs but atleast when I come home from work I dont have to study just spend time with them. Hope this helps..!!!
  14. by   MB37
    What is your living situation? House? Apartment? Live alone? Husband/roommates? If you live alone in an apartment it makes getting a dog much harder. Obviously is can be done, even during NS, but unless like the previous poster you really need a companion it might not be the best idea. I got my first cat (he came with a roommate, the roommate moved out and the cat didn't) when I was in school for my first degree and working close to fulltime. Triton was fine, but there were two of us and we didn't work the same hours, so someone was frequently home with him. I don;t really remember any problems. The second cat though... I accidentally adopted a stray neighborhood kitten 4 years ago. He's the world's sweetest little cat, but when he was little he was so destructive! Every candle holder and picture frame that I own was shattered, anything paper left out was shredded (try explaining that "The cat ate my homework") - and my 3 year old cat started acting like a kitten again. Cats aren't hard to take care of, but they're not "easy" either, and they can be a 15-20 year commitment. That being said, I love my two little guys. They meet me at the door every day when I get home, and one always rolls over immediately for his welcome belly scritch. I joke to my husband that next time we should try to get one of those aloof cats I've read so much about, since ours are on our laps about 90% of the time that we're home and cry if we so much as shut the bathroom door with them outside. Definitely get a pound animal if you get one - don't encourage pet stores or breeders to make a profit when so many need a good home. Good luck, whatever you decide!

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