Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: kerminsky on January 09, 2008, 09:29:54 PM

Title: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: kerminsky on January 09, 2008, 09:29:54 PM
so I've been through a semester of law school and figure I have time to take care of a puppy.  i don't want a cat.  my dilemma is what to do about summer associate positions, and later on, permanent employment.  i guess i could look into finding a professional dog walker, but i don't really like the concept of someone going into my home every day to walk the dog, plus it seems very inefficient to be spending ~$16 per visit for such a service.  furthermore, finding a furnished apartment in a big city that allows large breed dogs seems like it could be a daunting task.

i think i'd be ok with nighttime interruptions and the need to go home between classes for a couple months to walk it and give it attention.  to me, it's worth it.  i've wanted a dog for quite a while (probably 6 years) and i don't think there will be a better time to train a puppy than in law school, when my scheduled work is divided into 2-3 hour segments.  i'm just afraid that having a large dog is going to create some obstacles that I'm not sure how I'll get around (housing, long work days, loneliness potentially leading to misbehavior).  it seems like a lot of people suggest it's easier if you have an SO or roommate.  the irony is that the dog would be a companion replacement for an SO or roommate which i don't have, as it probably is for a lot of people.  i don't want to adopt a dog from rescue as i am interested in getting a particular type of purebred dog.

i guess my issue is if i don't get a dog now, there won't be a better time for it in the future as far as I can see, and i'm extremely reluctant to forego one of the things i think would actually bring me happiness.  so, for anyone out there who thinks they can answer -- is this plausible?  ludicrous?  deadly to my future success?  please advise.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: thorc954 on January 09, 2008, 09:54:19 PM
hey, well, not sure what place you are considering working in.  Different cities provide different opportunities.  For example, in DC, where most people live (those that reside in the city) you are between a 10 or 20 minute walk from almost every firm and sometimes closer.  So, you could easily escape during lunch to walk your dog/grab food at home.  this would be less feasible during an SA position, but only because there are often lunch obligations.  However, i dont think they would object to you sneaking home for a few, but I dont know. 

Id say, if you want a dog, get one.  Possibly consider a pug though.  They are obviously smaller, yet still masculine enough so that you do not have to worry.  This will make things easier.  Apartments will be tough to find especially with a larger dog.  Life is short though, so do what you enjoy.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: jimmyjohn on January 09, 2008, 10:12:04 PM
Deadly to your future success?  Get a grip.  It's a damn dog.  If you want it, get one.  If not, don't get one.  You make the decision just like everyone else and stop acting like a law student by being so overly dramatic about relatively trivial things. 
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: McLovin on January 09, 2008, 10:14:00 PM
Deadly to your future success?  Get a grip.  It's a d**mn dog.  If you want it, get one.  If not, don't get one.  You make the decision just like everyone else and stop acting like a law student by being so overly dramatic about relatively trivial things. 

Something tells you you've never taken care of a puppy.  You'd realize that it is not a "trivial thing."
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: jacy85 on January 10, 2008, 05:26:04 AM
Having a large breed dog is easier in some cities than others, but as long as you're committed to doing whatever you have to for your dog's health and well-being, then you can make it work.

As for work and SA positions - I'd say that you will absolutely NOT be able to just duck out for lunch everyday.  As an SA, I was going out to lunch EVERY single day with attorneys.  It's necessary to get to know them.

This is what my husband and I did to make it work.  We both are gone all day, and neither of us can come home mid day to let the dog out.  Our dog is well behaved enough to give the roam of the house during the day.  We also have a cat, and he's buddies w/ the dog so the dog isn't lonely.  We walk him at LEAST every other day, take him on "playdates" with other friends' dogs a few times a month, and he goes to "doggie day camp" at least once a week at a place we trust who takes care of him.  The days when he's in the house all day he's fine, no accidents, etc.  Would it be nice to come home and take him out, etc.?  Yes.  But it's just not a reality for most people.  As long as you provide him with lots of exercise and attention, and lots of "busy" toys, like kongs with peanut butter and a cookie in them to work on, he'll be fine.

We got our dog at the beginning of my 2nd semester 1L.  We had time to train him and work with him, and it worked out very well.

Finally, I know you said you want a specific breed of dog.  It makes me terribly sad that you wouldn't consider a rescue dog - they often don't have many of the health problems associated with some pure-breeds.  There are so many dogs (and puppies) already out there that really need a loving home.  Have you considered looking into whether there is a breed-specific rescue organization for the breed you want?
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: vaplaugh on January 10, 2008, 07:09:09 AM
I'll also second the "please consider s rescue dogs."  Not just for the emotional pull, but they can be a lot less work than a puppy.  I got one, and it was was already housebroken.  Puppies sometimes take a long time to housebreak.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: juliemccoy on January 10, 2008, 07:32:04 AM
I got a dog 2 years before law school started. I raised her from a puppy, and I love her, but...

Having a dog is a 10-20 year commitment. Forget about Happy Hour and be prepared to wake up at the same time every morning, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Expect to spend about $1-2K each year on vet bill, food and grooming, maybe more. If you travel, your dog will need to be boarded or kept with a trustworthy person. Unlike a cat, you can't just fill up the water and food bowl, lock the door and leave.

The first year is the hardest, and typically the most expensive. However, emergencies arise. This fall, my dog required emergency surgery that set me back nearly $3K. This was during my first semester of law school. I was very fortunate that my university has such a good vet school.

Dogs require attention, consistency and exercise. The most important thing is probably consistency.

They are wonderful companions, but they are a lot of work. I love my dog, but I know my life would probably be a lot easier without her.

I highly recommend fostering a dog with a local rescue group before committing to adopting one. There are breed-specific rescue groups. I myself have a purebred dog, and you can certainly find a purebred through a rescue group rather go the breeder route. If you do go with a breeder, make sure you do all of your homework on them. Breeders are shady people.

If I had to do it over again, I would not have gotten a puppy. It's so much more work than I ever anticipated. And I grew up with animals!

If you want a dog, get a dog. Just know that your life will be completely change to adapt to the needs of the animal you have volunteered to care for.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: Eva Destruction on January 10, 2008, 12:34:50 PM
I'm a part-time student, and a full-time employee.  I spend a huge number of hours at work and then school. 

But my dog is adapting just fine. She's a little older, so she needs a little less attention.  But when I am home, I make sure that I spend some time with her.  Taking her on a 30 minute walk every morning or every night is good for both of us.   I just make time.  She's a fantastic companion and it's worth it to find the time to take care of her.

It's really not a big dramatic thing.  If you want a dog, you can make it happen.

However, I would caution you against a puppy.  They are a LOT of work, and it's hard to work 40 hours and have a new puppy. A rescue dog would be a great idea.  They'll be older and calmer.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: txlawstu on January 10, 2008, 01:21:43 PM
If you desperately want a puppy, now is the time to get one.  You will have time to go home and walk the puppy enough to start the housebreaking processes.  I got a puppy the end of my 1L year to keep my older dog company and it worked out just fine.  And, hopefully by summer the puppy will be mostly there and you can just pen the puppy up in a confined area when your not home with paper down to piddle on.  Once you start working if your planning to do a firm job, forget the puppy route. 

However, if I was you, I'd check with a breeder and ask about dogs that are several months to a year old.  Many times breeders will hold on to a puppy hoping it is show quality and something will change and it no longer is.  They then need to place those dogs with loving homes.  That way you get a younger dog, but hopefully the housebreaking has already been done for you.  My mom had to place dogs like this all the time when she was breeding.

As far as long hours go, there are doggie day camps in most larger cities where they can go and not be home all day alone.  But then your talking expense like the dog walker, but noone goes into your house.

Life is much easier without dogs, but I couldn't imagine going back to that.  I missed having dogs when I didn't have one for practical reasons.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: McLovin on January 10, 2008, 01:48:36 PM
Do not get a dog from a breeder.  Get one from a shelter.  Please.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: Eva Destruction on January 11, 2008, 09:50:54 AM
...  I couldn't imagine going back to that.  I missed having dogs when I didn't have one for practical reasons.

I agree. I love having a dog far too much to not have one. Even if they are a commitment, I still think it's worth it.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: coquita on January 12, 2008, 12:00:59 PM
As everyone else said, I would reconsider getting a puppy. A dog at one year will most likely be house trained by that point and you will not have to wake up in the middle of night, odd hours to walk it. Also by that time they have outgrown annoying puppy behavior such as nipping.

Just make sure you are willing to make a 10-15 year commitment w/ a dog. Every time I see someone post their dog on craigslist b/c they are "moving" makes me sick. I moved cross country w/ two medium sized dogs and found a place to live...so that's no excuse to give up your dog.

 You should probably apply to be a foster before you get a dog. That is what I did with my dogs. I fostered each one and when I realized 1) I had the time to commit and 2) they were a perfect fit for my family I adopted them.

And lastly...w/ some dogs you do not have to wake up at the same time every morning to walk them. With puppies you will have to so they can have a schedule.  But my dogs do not wake me up to be walked and as long as I walk them around 11 p.m. they can wait until I am awake to get waled. But some dogs will wake you up at 7 am every morning to get walked.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: middlelanguage on January 16, 2008, 06:11:39 PM
Let me speak from experience. I am a 3L, but my SO and I adopted a dog this summer during my Summer Associate Position. The dog, who lies next to me right now, was allegedly 1-year-old when we adopted, but he seemed younger; he is a purebread. I wouldn't recommend getting a puppy (a friend of my in LS did this and it was a lot of work). Get a full grown dog that is already partly trained.

The up-front cost will likely be the greatest--adoption fee, vet fees, crate, etc. There are *always* emergencies, which cost another few hundred dollars. Over the summer, we got a dog-walker. It was $10 a day for one walk in the middle of the day. The service gave us a modest discount because we adopted our dog. It was a great service and definitely worth it.

The dog is also a lot of work, but that is relative. Personally, I like the fact that I have to get up and go outside three to four times a day with my pup. The only downside is that you cannot leave your dog for long periods of time, as one poster already noted. That, however, is a small price to pay as I look over and see my dog, sleeping like a person, head back and reclined on my couch.

Good luck.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: contrarian on January 16, 2008, 07:51:53 PM
Deadly to your future success?  Get a grip.  It's a d**mn dog.  If you want it, get one.  If not, don't get one.  You make the decision just like everyone else and stop acting like a law student by being so overly dramatic about relatively trivial things. 

I'm guessing you've never lived on your own and owned a pet. 

Getting a cat or a dog is a long term commitment and it CAN affect your future prospects.  I have a cat, and have had to turn down consulting jobs that would require me to be out of town for long periods of time.  I went with a cat because I can leave her alone for a week (i've gone up to 7 days) alone with plenty of food and water to carry her.  But you can't do this with a dog. 

As for dog-walking services, personally I wouldn't trust anybody whom I didn't know pretty damn well to have access to my home.  Call me paranoid. 

Plus you have to plan to give that animal care and attention for the rest of it's life.  There's a lot of considerations that should go into making that decision.  That is not a trivial decision to make. 

Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: dandlewood on January 17, 2008, 07:36:34 AM
Just wanted to Chime in, since I was in this position about 6 months ago.

I wanted a puppy too, because I'd always grown up with a dog and it's something I want in my life and I knew I wouldn't have time after I get a job to train a puppy appropriately.  So I did. I love her and she's great, but she does add a lot of complexity to my life and there are certain things you should consider.

No More:
Vacations without finding a dog sitter
Clean/undamaged furniture (my couch still smells like Pee...)
Personal Schedule. (you have a family schedule now, be home by certain hours to take care of the dog or else)
Loose money (vet bills add up in the first year.  Fixing a dog can cost up to 400 dollars)
Sleep (Dogs like to go out when they get up.  Either take them out, or find Pee in your residence or their crate.)
Absolute Concentration (Dogs like to Play. Puppys NEED to play.)
And many more...

Just some things to think about.  I wouldn't trade my pup for the world, but I have a SO and we talked this all out before getting her.  Best of luck!
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: Eva Destruction on January 23, 2008, 01:52:12 PM
My fully grown dog had a medical emergency and it was an unexpected $1700.00 expense.

Just something to think about.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: kerminsky on January 24, 2008, 10:12:47 PM
I appreciate all the responses.  If anyone cares, my conclusion is that I need a dog to get exercise and maintain sanity, and law school's the best time to get one as a puppy, so I'll get one the beginning of 2L year when it has a full year to grow before I work in the summer again.  My family has a history of high cholesterol and I'm living a very sedentary lifestyle right now.  I think the health benefits alone make it worth the time commitment.  I'm not really concerned about costs.  I honestly don't know what people need with all the money SA positions pay, except to pay off LS debt -- which should be paid off in a few years anyway at the market pay rate. 

I may foster a dog or two this semester to get a feel for the breed and to save them from euthanization.


Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: jacy85 on January 25, 2008, 05:11:23 AM
I would just keep in mind your job search plans for first semester 2L; if you have a puppy at home, you can't board her until she has all of her shots. This means unless you have someone willing to spend the night with him/her, you can't travel for interviews/callbacks.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: kerminsky on January 25, 2008, 08:11:39 AM
I would just keep in mind your job search plans for first semester 2L; if you have a puppy at home, you can't board her until she has all of her shots. This means unless you have someone willing to spend the night with him/her, you can't travel for interviews/callbacks.

Agreed.  I have a couple of friends willing to do so.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: Eva Destruction on January 25, 2008, 09:37:16 AM
I absolutely understand the "need" for a dog. They are great companions. And I absolutely love taking walks with my beastie. 

I think that you've given it some thought, which I really respect. Lots of people are too impulsive about taking on a new pet.  They are lured in by the cuteness and they forget about the responsibility that's required.

Kudos to you for recognizing that this is an issue that requires a bit more thought.

Lots of luck finding your new furry friend.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: kerminsky on January 25, 2008, 09:36:32 PM
I absolutely understand the "need" for a dog. They are great companions. And I absolutely love taking walks with my beastie. 

I think that you've given it some thought, which I really respect. Lots of people are too impulsive about taking on a new pet.  They are lured in by the cuteness and they forget about the responsibility that's required.

Kudos to you for recognizing that this is an issue that requires a bit more thought.

Lots of luck finding your new furry friend.

Thanks.  Yeah, I've given the whole thing a lot of thought, and it's only because I want a good environment for the puppy that I haven't gotten one yet.  I am paranoid about the time and effort involved in the whole affair, but I suspect that being cognizant of such concerns means that I will, one way or another, be a decent owner.
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: Eva Destruction on January 28, 2008, 07:07:46 AM
I'm a sucker for pictures of cute puppies. So, when you get your puppy, don't be afraid to share a few pictures. ;)
Title: Re: puppy in LS/summer
Post by: olive on January 28, 2008, 08:01:57 AM
I agree with almost everything said in this post.

Getting a puppy is a HUGE commitment, and will be very difficult if you are going to be a summer associate out of town. It's much easier with a roommate or even a friend nearby who can help you during the day.

I understand the burning desire for a pet -- I wanted cats for years but had to wait because I lived on campus as an undergrad and my 1L roommate was allergic. The week she moved out I adopted 2 kittens from a shelter and couldn't be happier. They are a big responsibility (food, scooping litter, vet bills) but it's well worth it. However, I don't have to worry about training them to go out, and they can be left alone for much longer amounts of time if needed. Most apartments are also more accepting of 2 cats than a large dog.

Right now might seem to be a great time to get a puppy but I'd caution you to wait a little longer. Figure out where you are aiming to be your 2L summer and after graduation and how conducive a dog will be for that lifestyle. Think about getting a roommate. A puppy will be very time consuming and your 1L grades are very important. It might be best to wait until after your 2L job search is over (you might be flying to interviews multiple times a week -- who will take your dog out?) -- which will also let you better establish your future plans.