Written by Rachel - The Bark Blogger
Flashback to 2014. Damn, it’s hard to believe it was THAT long ago! I was transferring up to Michigan State University and moving into an apartment BLIND with no idea who I was living with. Once I got all moved in, I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing.
Back home, we had two dogs, and as badly as I wanted to, I couldn’t take just one; they would be lost without each other! I told my mom I wanted a dog to keep me company, and she said there was no way. So, naturally, I called my dad and he told me I could (thanks Daddio!).
As soon as I got the green light, I looked online at the surrounding shelters in East Lansing. Due to my apartment restrictions, I couldn’t get certain breeds. Sadly, that is what all the shelters were full of. My next option was to look up puppies on Hoobly.com. I didn’t have a specific breed in mind at the time, but once I saw Dawson’s face, I knew he was it..
I set up an appointment with the breeder and said “I’m just going to look.”
I knew DEEP down that I was bringing home a puppy that night. And I did! He was SO little when I got him and SO scared. I remember wishing I could tell him that everything was going to be okay because I was his new momma.
I’ve had dogs my entire life, but I don’t think I was ever that involved in the puppy-training process. So I was not expecting all that came with raising a puppy. All of this on top of full-time classes and a part-time job. Although, with all that stress of having a puppy in college also came some valuable lessons.
Here are 5 things that getting a puppy in college taught me:
I think I’ve always been a pretty responsible person. But with a puppy, it’s an ENTIRELY different story. There was no “sleeping ‘till the last minute before class” because you have to have enough time to let them out and feed them in the more drink too much and spend the night at your friend’s because you have a puppy to take care of at night. Luckily, this was never really an issue for me. In fact, I was actually able to use it to my advantage most of the time.
“Sorry I can’t stay late, I’ve got to go home to take care of my dog.”
You also have to be responsible about other things, like food, grooming, toys, vaccinations.
Dawson gave this word meaning. A companion is a person or animal with whom one spends a lot of time or with whom one travels. He went EVERYWHERE with me. He loved riding in the car with me, which made traveling easy! It truly is special to have a companion to tackle life with. Dawson has seen me through a lot of different stages of my life, and he will continue to be there for me. I’m so thankful for him in SO many ways (hey, maybe that’ll be another blog).
In all caps, because damn. I like to think that Dawson was such an incredible puppy to train. I think I was blessed! He was potty-trained very quickly and rarely had any accidents in the house. But, being a puppy, he acted like one. He was very energetic as a pup and tried chewing on most things. I would come home and something ELSE would be chewed up, and I would want to LOSE it, but I wouldn’t. (Okay, maybe a couple times, I did... #DogMoms). I also LOVE my sleep, but in the middle of the night, he would WHINE to go outside--sometimes even multiple times in the night--and I would have to get up and let him out. I swear it’s like having a baby--just a bit more furry!
Ooh boy, I remember this. I would have to plan my day and sometimes even my school schedule to when I could come home and let him out. I would ALWAYS make time to walk him if I had extra time between classes or when I was done for the day. Trying to balance it all required some SERIOUS time management skills. Thanks, Dawson for teaching that to me!
Loving an animal is different than loving a human. Loving a puppy that you get to call yours is a feeling I can’t even explain. Dawson is the first thing I have loved from the moment I got him and has truly taught me what unconditional love is. He loves me no matter what I do. He’s always excited to see me and is always there for me (even if he doesn’t want to be). Knowing he will be excited to lay with me or play with me anytime, anywhere is what unconditional love feels like.
So, it’s safe to say that I still have a lot to learn in this life--even right now. But one thing’s for sure: Dawson will be there for me through it, loving me and teaching me new things along the way.