Law School Discussion

puppy in LS/summer

puppy in LS/summer
« on: January 09, 2008, 08:29:54 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.

Re: puppy in LS/summer
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2008, 08:54:19 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.

Re: puppy in LS/summer
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2008, 09:12:04 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. 

Re: puppy in LS/summer
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2008, 09:14:00 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."


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Re: puppy in LS/summer
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2008, 04:26:04 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?


Re: puppy in LS/summer
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2008, 06:09:09 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.


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Re: puppy in LS/summer
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2008, 06:32:04 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.

Re: puppy in LS/summer
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2008, 11:34:50 AM »
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.

Re: puppy in LS/summer
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2008, 12:21:43 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.

Re: puppy in LS/summer
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2008, 12:48:36 PM »
Do not get a dog from a breeder.  Get one from a shelter.  Please.