To own a pet or not while in nursing school...

Posted
by kroyce kroyce (New) New

You are reading page 3 of To own a pet or not while in nursing school.... If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

doublehelix

doublehelix

165 Posts

Honestly, if you are just starting nursing school and don't already own a pet, I wouldn't recommend it. It's a lot different if you already have a pet, but it's a little silly to bring in a new puppy when you're going to be overwhelmed enough as it is. After your second term and you're feeling good about school and balancing life, I say go for it. You have to be able to find a good balance.

I know a puppy isn't exactly like having a baby, but it is another being to look after other than yourself that needs to be fed, played with, and needs attention and exericise which not everyone does. Especially if you get a large dog, consider how long that do is going to be locked up while your at school.

Proper dog food is not cheap (I have a little dog, and he goes through 70$ of dog food every 2 months or so, not including toys or dental treats) You're going to need a lot of time to study and do your homework, and the last thing you're going to want is a puppy peeing on your books or scratching at your door at 2am to go to the bathroom. If you've had dogs before in your life that could obviously make it a lot easier for you, but if not I would at least consider waiting or getting a less demanding pet.

Get a pet - just not a puppy. Get a tank of fish, a pair of cavies, or some mice. Get something that won't suffer from being away from human contact for 10 hr stretches. Dogs are social animals. Even the quiet ones becomes restless when locked in a room alone and bored for 8 hours. Years ago I had a young lab-x: when I was away at work, he had a day where he got so upset/bored/stressed he chewed massive holes THROUGH the drywall. I came home to 2' holes with the studs and wiring showing... yikes!

If you want something to cuddle with get a ferret or a stuffed animal or a boyfriend.

How about something that isn't a dog: Get something that won't get eat your school textbook out of anxiety. Get something that won't bark out of loneliness and boredom when he's crated 8 hours at a time (and who gets you evicted for being a noise nuisance in an apt building). And when you do graduate, since this is an apartment odds are you'll move. A cute puppy now will be an adult by then -- just old enough to be unwanted, if he's dropped off at shelter (and at the shelter unwanted adult dogs are usually the first to be put down). I don't know how many times I've heard "we're moving but we can't take the family dog because the new place doesn't allow pets..."

Keep in mind also the budget: pet's food, other necessities, vaccinations, pet deposit for apartment, and $300+ in the bank for an emergency vet bill. All pets seem to get sick on a Friday night when the regular vet offices are closed. Where I live the 24 hour vet charges $175 just to walk through the door. :eek:

If you're really set on having a dog or cat: can you foster a suitable pet for your local animal rescue league? They often cover vet bills and sometimes even food expense. You'd just have to work with them to find a dog or cat who would not mind being alone so much. And when your situation changes, the dog can go back to the rescue into a different foster home.

katie07

katie07

22 Posts

I actually just started fostering dogs! I would suggest going this route. I am 6 hours from home and my family and live with two roommates whom love dogs too. It works well for us when i am gone all day at clinical they play and let the dogs out.

Also being 21 and in college i know its not the best time in my life to adopt a dog and commit to a 10-15 year commitment. So fostering dogs is the perfect solution for me! The rescue group I foster for pays for all medical and food bills and supplies me with crate and others doggy supplies! It really is the perfect solution for me, i get doggy love and am helping out homeless pups before they get adopted out to forever homes :)

So look for local rescue groups in your area to find out how you can help/foster!

Purple_Scrubs

Purple_Scrubs, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 8 years experience. 2 Articles; 1,978 Posts

As a huge animal lover (current count: 4 dogs, 4 cats, 4 horses, 4 goats) I would never say don't get a pet if you really want one, but I might recommend waiting until at least halfway through the first semester to make sure you still really want to invest the time and money. Keep in mind though that your schedule will likely change throughout nursing school, so you will have to remain flexible.

gumby1411

gumby1411

288 Posts

Spawn of satan or not (:D), I love my kitties. I have 3 adult cats, which keep each other company while I'm gone and snuggle on my lap while I'm studying. Sometimes they're annoying when they like to curl up on top of my books while I'm studying, but it always makes me laugh. Plus, I don't have to worry about them going to the bathroom on the carpet while I'm gone (well, most of the time anyway). I'll get a dog when I'm done with school, but for now, the cats are the perfect pets for my hectic schedule.

ShantheRN

ShantheRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hem/Onc. Has 4 years experience. 646 Posts

I wouldn't get a dog just yet. I love dogs and can't wait to get one.....which won't be until I graduate, pass boards, get a job, and get 6 months to adjust to everything. I have a classmate that has no kids, but 2 dogs. Even with her husband coordinating with her, every week she stresses about how her dogs are gonna get potty breaks and food when the house is empty. We have 12.5 hour clinicals, so combined with the commute time....that's a LONG time for a dog to be cooped in a house.

I had no intention of getting my cat but my friend took in a stray that happened to be pregnant. I had no dealings with cats but one look at her adorable kitten face and I melted. Granted the kitten shenanigans made me laugh and pull my hair out at the same time. My cat rocks - just the right combo of affection, feline disinterest/disdain, and playfulness. She has no interest in going outside and thinks draping herself over my nursing books (only while I'm reading them, naturally) is the best game ever :D I thought about getting her a friend but she's been the solo cat for all her 8 years and is perfectly happy with it.

If you happen to live in a climate friendly place (I'm in Ohio so our weather sucks lol) then a dog might be more doable. You could leave it outside all day and it would be fine. Dogs are awesome companions.....but cuddling a purring cat is pretty therapeutic too.

Before you get anything - including a fish tank because those things take forever to clean! - you should wait till you figure out just how much free time you'll have outside of school.

sandyfeet

sandyfeet

Specializes in Emergency Nursing. Has 5 years experience. 413 Posts

My boyfriend and his dog were a two-for-one special during pre-reqs. There were a few unexpected medical bills and impromptu barf clean-ups that got a little annoying (but we managed) and once I was accepted to nursing school we worked out an exercise and feeding schedule. It's true that dogs can be work, especially ball crazy Golden Retrivers, but they are SO worth it. Right now my dog is laying under my desk cuddled up to my feet. She knows she can't nose me in my white scrubs and she patiently allows me to listen to her lungs and heartbeat with my stethoscope. I listen to recorded lectures when I take her to the beach to throw a ball around. I'm working on getting her to hold flashcards.;) As a dog person, I can't imagine life without a dog. But it's up to you to be honest with yourself about the amount of time you are willing to devote to a relationship that will give back much, more more.

CuriousMe

CuriousMe

2,642 Posts

My boyfriend and his dog were a two-for-one special during pre-reqs. There were a few unexpected medical bills and impromptu barf clean-ups that got a little annoying (but we managed) and once I was accepted to nursing school we worked out an exercise and feeding schedule. It's true that dogs can be work, especially ball crazy Golden Retrivers, but they are SO worth it. Right now my dog is laying under my desk cuddled up to my feet. She knows she can't nose me in my white scrubs and she patiently allows me to listen to her lungs and heartbeat with my stethoscope. I listen to recorded lectures when I take her to the beach to throw a ball around. I'm working on getting her to hold flashcards.;) As a dog person, I can't imagine life without a dog. But it's up to you to be honest with yourself about the amount of time you are willing to devote to a relationship that will give back much, more more.

There's also a difference with two folks to share the work of dog ownership.

gumby1411

gumby1411

288 Posts

she patiently allows me to listen to her lungs and heartbeat with my stethoscope.

I did this with my cat! Too funny! It wasn't really helpful, though because his "purring" was much louder than his heart or breath sounds. I guess I could pretend the "patient" had a thrill. :lol2:

Having my 3 cats and a dog is nothing. It's the 2 kids and husband that makes nursing school harder, lol.

tokyoROSE, BSN, RN

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 2 years experience. 1 Article; 526 Posts

I did this with my cat! Too funny! It wasn't really helpful, though because his "purring" was much louder than his heart or breath sounds. I guess I could pretend the "patient" had a thrill. :lol2:

Omg, I thought I was the only one who did this! My dog would lie there dead still for however long I wanted as soon as I pulled out the stethoscope. Its the cutest thing. OP, if you are prepared for the responsibility, I say go for it! My dog has brought me so much love and joy through out the years. I got her my freshman year in college and I couldn't imagine life without her. And THANK YOU for adopting & saving a life. I deliberately adopted an older dog (2 years old) and she was the easiest thing to train. She basically house broke herself.

limestone

limestone

1 Article; 29 Posts

PLease don't get a dog. They are more work than you think and need lots of companionship, not just the few rushed bits of time here and there that you have left over from the demands of school. I have watched colleages stress out about getting home to their dogs after work. What if you have to do 12's at some point? What if you meet a sweetheart and want to stay over? Or go out with friends after work? What about days in clinical and then hours in the library afterwards?

Cats are more self-sufficient, especially if you adopt 2 adults.

I've volunteered with the local humane society for years, and we got so many dogs in that students wanted for company but couldn't realistically look after.