Getting a Dog While In Law School

I made the decision to get a dog during my first year of law school and it has been challenging, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Getting a dog, or a pet, while in law school may not be the best idea for everyone, though.

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I rescued my dog, Caine, in October 2013. While the adoption fee was not that expensive and he was already neutered when I adopted him, the vet bills quickly racked up. He had fleas and parasites because he was not in the greatest environment before he was adopted, so we were in and out of the vet’s office every couple of weeks. Dog food, toys, treats, and training classes are all essential and all costly.

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In addition to the cost, dogs require a lot of attention. Caine’s separation anxiety was very severe the first few months, and he barked and howled for hours until someone came home. Luckily, I moved back home and my dad works from home, so Caine doesn’t spend too much time alone now. Dogs also have to be properly socialized with other dogs and with people, which takes a lot of time and patience. Despite always being buried under pages of case law during 1L, I always made time to bring Caine to play with other dogs, play with my little cousins, and if I needed to study and get work done, he would go to daycare and, hopefully, come back tired at the end of the day. Daycare, however, is not cheap.

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While dogs require a lot of attention and can cost a lot of money, they are the best stress-relievers. I went through a very tough time during and following my 1L year and Caine was there for me through it all. Without him, I really don’t know where I would be and I am so grateful that he came into my life when he did. He is my best friend and has been there for me when no one else has been.  He is funny, entertaining, and just a complete sweetheart.

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While dogs are extremely helpful and great animals, the bottom line is that if you don’t have the time or the means to take care of a dog, don’t get one while in law school. It is not fair to the dog to not have a human that is going to take care of him. If you are willing to give a dog attention and love, however, and you think you have the time and patience, then maybe you should consider adopting a dog.

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