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Hi there everyone! I am thinking about getting a dog at some point this summer from a rescue.  I have had dogs my entire life and recently lost my last one, and really miss having one around.  My only reservation to getting one is PA school- people say its impossible to have a dog during and act like you have absolutely no time for anything but studying constantly. Is this true? Can anyone who has had a dog or contemplated having a dog in PA school and decided against it give me any advice? I have already thought about the whole apartment-living-vs.-exercise debate and think I could make it work.  Opinions? Also, if it helps at all, I am not looking to get a super high-energy breed like an aussie/border collie/GSP/etc, and won't be starting PA school until 2021 at the earliest.

Edited by dottie7
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It is entirely possible to have a dog while you're in PA school. I've had my beagle since I was a sophomore in college. I was worried he wouldn't get the time and attention he deserved while I was in PA school, but it was never a major issue. I lived in a dog-friendly apartment with no roommates. We'd go for short walks together in the morning, again when I got home from class/rotations, and again before bedtime. He stayed in his crate when I was not home. At first, I felt bad about leaving him in a crate all day, but he actually really likes it. It's not cruel as long as you don't use the crate as punishment and you don't leave them locked up for excessive periods of time. He has treats, toys, and an orthopedic doggy bed in his crate that is more comfortable than my own mattress. 

If you're going to run into an issue having a dog in PA school, it's more likely going to be the financial burden than the dog itself. Be prepared to spend money on food, supplies, veterinary bills, etc. Pet insurance was one of the best investments I ever made; I just wish I'd bought it sooner. 

If you can afford it, I say go for it! I love my little guy more than anything and can't imagine life without my best friend! 🙂

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It's not impossible but it is more difficult than doing PA school without a dog.  I'm the opposite of the above poster...financially my dog was not a burden...but time wise felt like I couldn't juggle school and enough quality dog time.  Honestly they both suffered a little....dog wasn't getting my full attention and neither was school.  Ultimately I decided it was best for both of us if my (willing) parents kept her while I was in school.  My dog lived the LIFE for those years and she's no worse off for it.

Myself and a few of my classmates started with our dogs and at some point had our families take care of them - for the benefit of the dog and us as students.  I also had some classmates keep theirs the whole time - however they had multiple roommates who helped out or parents who paid for daily doggie day care.

For me the issue was that I didn't feel it was fair to the dog.  Gone all day for class.  Need to come home and study.  Didn't feel like I could stay after class on campus to study with groups because I needed to get home to let her out.  Sometimes would have to make a trip home just to let her out if we had late labs otherwise she would be home alone for 12+ hrs (or you could get a dog walker but...$$$) - which meant instead of studying with classmates or socializing, I was making the 40+min round trip rushed to take care of the pup.  Sure we had time for walks but overall not as much attention as she was getting when I was just working and could hang out with her more.  I also had NO intention of trying to keep her with me during clinical rotations - schedule changes every six week, working off shifts, being gone 16 hr days on surgery rotation and coming home ready to crash....no way was I going to be able to add a few extra miles to each end of my day for walks.  Not to even mention away rotations where you have to find temporary housing that likely isn't dog friendly (or you will be paying a lot more to FIND dog friendly housing).

Basically if you're going to do it, make sure you have a backup plan and think through things like clinical year and travel and what will happen if half way through school you need significant help (either financially or time wise).

Edited by MT2PA
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