College is tough no matter what your circumstances are, but having a dog while in college can make things especially tough.
There were several things I didn’t think of and I didn’t prepare for when it came to being a dog owner in college. Here are some important things to consider:
Finding people to live with is harder
I desperately wanted to live with one of my best girl friends my sophomore year, but she was allergic to dogs. She didn’t want to be sneezing all the time and I didn’t want to have to confine Gatsby to only my room and keep him banned from all communal areas of our house. She and I weren’t able to live together.
Finding a place to live is harder
Unfortunately, many college campus apartments are “not pet friendly”, or if they are, they allow cats and not dogs. Having Gatsby always made finding a house or apartmentmuch harder. Because I knew I would need to be coming home throughout the day to let Gatsby go to the bathroom and exercise him, I always tried to live as close to campus as possible. More about this in #4.
There’s almost always an extra pet security deposit
I lived in both a house and an apartment in college with Gatsby and both places charged me an extra pet security deposit. This is not uncommon so don’t feel like you’re getting ripped off if your landlord requires one. Landlords use pet security deposits so that if the pet damages the house in any way (scratches up the floor, leaves a urine odor) charges come out of that deposit instead of the regular deposit. At each place I paid an extra $300 pet fee. Gatsby is cleaner than most people so I’ve always gotten all my money back, but that extra money was still on hold until I moved out.
Having guests over is harder
I was by no means a huge partier in college, but having any sort of a large gathering at my house in college was out of the question. Parties in college grow by word of mouth very quickly and before you know it there’s 20 people in your house and you don’t know half of them. While I trusted my closest friends, who’s to say a drunk stranger I don’t know wouldn’t try to feed my dog beer? That’s not cool by me.
Your class schedule needs to be spacious
A lot of my friends arranged their schedule so they could be on campus all day and get their classes done without going back and forth from home to campus several times. For me, as a dog owner, that wasn’t an option. As I mentioned before I always went out of my way to find a place that was as close to campus as possible. While other kids were going to the coffee shop and catching up with friends in between classes, I was jetting home to take Gatsby for a walk.
It helps if your job is flexible
While I was in college I had two pretty low-key jobs. The most frequent one was nannying for a 10 year old girl. I picked her up from school, made her a snack, and made sure she did her homework. At the most I was gone for 4 hours working. I arranged it with the parents that on select Fridays I could bring Gatsby with me because the little girl adored him and loved playing with him. I was getting paid and the little girl was exercising my dog, it worked out great.