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Discussion Starter #1
*warning: long!*

I'm wondering if anyone here is currently raising a dog (or dogs) and juggling college at the same time, or if anyone on here has done it before. If so, I would like to hear your experiences and thoughts.

I will not be graduating and attending college for another year and a half, but have mostly everything planned ahead.

I will most likely go out of state and leave Trent at home for the first year, while I get settled and get a good feel for college. My parents are more than happy to take care of him until then. After the first year, I plan to take Trent to come live with me. Housing should not be an issue - I will most likely be staying with a family friend who does not have a problem with dogs. If that does not work out for whatever reason, I will hopefully be able to rent a place with a couple of friends.

I am fairly sure money won't be too large of an issue. I already work a job and have been saving up, and will apply to a number of scholarships. If worst comes to worst, my parents will provide the money for Trent's care, especially in case of any emergency situations.

My biggest concern is how Trent will do with my college schedule. I am used to 3 hours of sleep a night, and by the time I graduate from high school, I will have completed 12-13 AP courses, which will give me college credit. This means I may not have to take as many classes as other college students, but I also plan to work a job as well.

I am more than willing to get up early in the morning to take Trent out and get him the 3-5 hours of exercise daily. I enjoy being with friends and attending social events (parties, dances), but since Trent, I have given up just about all of that. I have no problem with that, and will gladly turn down parties to spend time with Trent in college as well.

I just hope it will be an okay situation for him. Me being gone for 8 (sometimes 10) hours a day is nothing new for him, but there has always been someone home. I'm confident that I can give him 3-5 hours of exercise and do training sessions on top of that, but I can't help but feel a bit guilty.

Does this sound like it would be stressful for him? He'll be 2 1/2 years old when I graduate, and has never had any issues with separation anxiety or destructiveness. He sleeps all day when I'm gone, despite having free reign of the house.

This is not a "shoot, I should've thought of this before I got a dog" thing. I did think about everything, and extensively. I just want to put my thoughts through everyone and get some feedback. Thanks!
 

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I'm currently juggling college and a 6 month old and couldn't be happier! I am graduating this may and have a slightly less stressful course load but honestly she is my life line lol She saves me when things get to be overwhelming! It can be hard when you have finals and no time but its not any worse than if you had a job and had to work overtime. If you think you can do it then I'd say try it out, your parents seem very willing to work with you so if it starts to go south then you can hand him back over to them for a while. Good luck with your decision!
 

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I adopted two dogs when I was 16 so yes, I have experienced that. However when college came around I stayed near home so I was able to live at home. Although my parents were not caretakers for my dogs (they did not feed, train, or walk my dogs) it did mean there was someone at home most of the time with them. I never was big on partying and the school I chose doesn't have dorms so there were not really any parties and things anyway so that wasn't an issue. I'd rather go out places with my dogs for fun anyway.

My suggestions would be to get him used to being alone gradually ahead of time. It will be less stressful than going from having someone around most of the time to being alone for long periods suddenly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Jen, that makes me feel better


Part of me is selfish enough to tell myself I'll never want to separate with Trent. Luckily, a larger part of me is smart enough to know that if it comes down to it, I will make sure the situation he is in is the best situation for him, no matter what.

I am very lucky to have parents who are so supportive and love Trent so much. My only concern with handing him back if things don't work out is how he'd feel, for me to leave for a year, only to take him into a new environment, and then send him back to my parents. It can't be good for even the most stable, adaptive dog. I simply don't know if I wouldn't just rather leave him back home for good, than put that stress on him. Although for all I know, considering the dog he is, it may only have a minimal effect on him.

Thankfully, I don't think I'll have to, and that this college plan will work out.

Thanks for the encouragement! I really appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Originally Posted By: Chicagocanine
My suggestions would be to get him used to being alone gradually ahead of time. It will be less stressful than going from having someone around most of the time to being alone for long periods suddenly.
Thank you, I will try this.

Trent is nowhere near a highly independent dog (being a GSD, after all), but he does seem to enjoy his occasional quiet/alone time. He also has never had a problem with being left alone at home. This leads me to believe (or hope, more like) that it will not be too hard to get him used to being alone, even for long periods of time, especially if he gets the exercise he needs. We will definitely start slowly extending his alone time.
 

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Both you and doublemintwin sound like very responsible young dogowners. It is great to read your plans for keeping your dogs in your lives.

Two of my sons have graduated from college and are working to pay off student loans. The third is currenly unemployed; all have expressed their hopes to add a dog to their lives...we have had dogs as part of our family for all of their lives. But none of them are in living situations that will accomodate dogs, and they have no time to spend with a dog. So far, thy are satisfied with getting their puppy fixes here at home. With four dogs at this time, I try not to encourage or discourage but to explain that a dog is a long time committment, that they can't just decided that it's not working, and that I'm not in a position to take in any more dogs at this time.

Sounds like you both have figured that out on your own
 

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Thank you for your encouragement, Carol. It truly makes me feel better, because sometimes I am trying to figure out if I'm doing something out of selfishness or because I really think it's the right thing. I always know that Trent is my #1 priority, but I am not always the most practical person. I like to step back and think about my plans, or better yet, get opinions on them from more experienced, knowledgeable people (ie: everyone here).

Now, ideally, I would forget college and just add dog after dog into my household
However, even I have figured out that's not a very good idea, for both me and for any dogs I may choose bring into my life! And of course, Trent is already a bit of a handful as it is!
 

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I adopted Meega from AC during my 2nd year in college. I did not work, but I took 12hrs and did an internship. Meega was 9mos when I got her. I had no yard to let her run in so I took her out to the dog park in the morning before classes and had a group of dogs that she loved to play with. It can be done as long as you exercise them. It sounds like to me that Trent would be in great hands while you are in college. You end up with more breaks to go home and take care of the dog in college than you ever do in HS so that makes it much better. Plus, if you are lucky you can schedule classes in such a way that you have plenty of time in the morning, afternoon or evening.
 

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Congrats on the AP classes. I know it is hard work-but it pays off when you go to school. Less classes to take.

Many, many years ago while I was in college and dating my now husband-he had a dog and lived off campus. His dog would go to class with him. I never could have a dog at school because I lived on campus-but several of my friends did have dogs. All lived in apartments and houses. It never seem to be an issue with them. Most of the dogs were mutts and medium to large.

The dogs that went to class were always well behaved and usually just laid down during class.

So it is possible -just takes a little more effort.
 

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Now if you don't finish college and get a good job, how are you going to feed all of your future dogs?

I ran away from home when I was 12; I needed a dog in my life so bad. I have had at least two dogs since I was 18; had to leave one home with my parents for a couple of years while I situated the housing. Those two dogs were there when all of my children were born and lived until they were 15 and 16.

I have been accused of filling my empty nest (none of the boys live at home anymore) with dogs and my response is: " What's wrong with that?"

Best of luck!
 

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warning warning:your parents will NOT want to give up Trent...that being said, you can do it. I have a med student client who has gone out of his way to keep his dog. I am his pet sitter and I am on call. He also has both his parents helping him.He runs his dog in any weather very early before he goes. I really admire his committment to casey, his dog. It says a lot about him.
I own my own biz. I have been known to work 80 hours week.I have had three dogs and done this. I used to work 2 jobs AND go to school AND had a young child. Like my client I ran Paige early AM in ANY weather. The dog has walked everyday (almost) of her life for 11 yrs regardless of my busy life.
keep in mind as well that dogs are not as needy as we believe them to be. dogs need to be walked/exercised, fed, shelter, love that's it.They can go 9 hours until they need to be let out. The key is to exercise your dog. Having been a pet sitter for 7 yrs I can tell you that dogs basically sleep when we are gone.
you absolutly can do it.
 

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and to directly answer your question-this is NOT stressful to your dog at all! Sounds like he would be living a dream life for real! can you take about 50 more from Detroit that are chained to a tree?
 

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I got Grace when I was in college. I had plenty of free time and feel it was a great time to raise a dog. Found it much hard with Kira when I was working full time after I graduated...even harder now just to have them because I am working full time and working at my Masters! I depend on my parents a lot even to this day...we share custody
 
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