Canines on Campus: An Essential Tool to Surviving College

Krista Clark graduated Cum Laude from Suffolk University in Boston, MA. Earning BA of Science in Journalism and majoring in advertising. She is currently working freelance for several different companies but is a full time employee at Invest Financial Corporation. She is an avid animal enthusiast who recently launched her own website dedicated to her passion, www.TheUltimateAnimalLover.com.

There’s an old saying that a dog is man’s best friend. Lets expand on that. During your college years one of the smartest things you can do is get a dog. Some of you might think I’m crazy but I’m about to explain why a dog can be your greatest ally during school. If you look up the term college in the dictionary it states:
Col-lege:
noun
1.
an educational institution or establishment, in particular.

2.
an organized group of professional people with particular aims, duties, and privileges.
That’s all well and good but I think you might get a somewhat different explanation from those of us who have actually been. Some words that come to mind are: drinking, parties, new people, new city, and freedom. I think it’s safe to assume that I’m not alone in this definition. Let’s just say, while the parents are away the kids will play. This brings me to my first point pro-puppy topic.
Let’s face it, when you go to college you’re going to spend a lot of time drinking and wondering what bar you’re going to try to get into next. Hey, I did it, and I’m pretty sure the majority of students out there did too. What does this have to do with adopting a dog? Well, I’ll tell you. Once you’re free of your parents rules you are going to let loose and unleashed your wild side. Whether your drink of choice is liquor, beer or wine; you’re going to pack on the pounds. We call it the freshman fifteen and it’s a harsh reality of college life. How can you win the battle of the muffin top? Adopt a dog. For all of you who don’t know out there, a dog cannot flush a toilet and prefers to do it’s business outside. What that means for you is actually getting up and having to walking the little guy.
I bet some of you are thinking, “Why the hell would I want to get up early to walk the dog when I’m hung-over and dying?” Well, lets think about this. Personally, I always feel better once I’ve managed to drag myself out of bed and start making some moves. I think you’ll find that a brisk walk outside is a great cure for the morning after spins. A little fresh air never hurt anyone. So, having a dog will force you to stretch your legs and get some exercise. This will help combat the vicious cycle of binge drinking and drunk munchies. There are two more pros to your walks with Fido, in addition to keeping things sexy.
First off, a lot of kids go away to school. Whether that means another state or town, you’re going to be living somewhere new. That being said, you’re most likely not going to have the support system you had a home. You’re going to have to make new friends, unless you’re a hermit, in which case this bit doesn’t apply to you. No matter how outgoing or confident you are, it’s still daunting to think about forming new relationships. Having a dog is the best icebreaker in the world.
I adopted my pup Roscoe when he was 4 months old and I was a sophomore in college. Whenever I would walk him around the city I had people stopping me on the street to pet him and oooh and ahhh over his irresistible puppiness. People of all shapes and sizes would approach me to introduce themselves to the gentleman known as Roo. Once introductions were made the stranger and I would start talking. I met so many people with the help of Roscoe, most of which I probably wouldn’t have. Having a dog forces you to get out there and embrace your new surroundings.
So, now you’re walking and meeting new people and what goes hand-in-hand with those two things? Exploring! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots between walking and discovering new areas. Personally, I think it’s more comfortable to walk with a dog instead of aimlessly wandering around alone. But, to each is own. Having a dog forces you to get out there and get to know where it is you’re living. I went to school in Boston and had never visited before so I couldn’t tell you which way was up or down. It’s amazing how quickly I got to know my way around through my leisurely strolls with the Roo Boy. After about two months I could have been a damn tour guide.
This next reason why you should get a dog applies to everyone. It’s a well-known fact that having a dog reduces stress. This is one of the biggest upsides to having a pet because I’m telling you right now; you are going to stress out in college. Between the term papers, Public Speaking 101 and back-to-back finals, it’s inevitable that you’re going to fell the pressure. From my personal experience, pulling an all-nighter is a lot easier when you have someone there to keep you company. I would look at Roo during one of my cram sessions and immediately calm down. His wrinkly little face and goofy ears saved me from many a meltdown.
Speaking of company, it’s always a great feeling to know you’re not alone. When you’re in a new place with new people, it is amazing how fast that feeling can sink in. A dog is the ultimate companion. All they want to do is be with you, have fun and make you happy. Adopting a dog during these years makes for a much easier transition in my opinion.
Finally, having a dog teaches you responsibility. Boring and cliché; I know, but hear me out. Earlier I talked about how you’re going to go hard on the party scene while you’re away at school. Perfectly acceptable at first but, a lot of people don’t know how to balance work with extracurricular activities. But, if you get a dog you’ll begin to appreciate the value of a schedule. You can’t go out partying for 10 hours and expect to leave them home that long. I went out to bars and met up with friends just as much as the next person. But, I also knew when it was time to call it a night. Like the saying goes, “Never be the last one to leave the party.” Having Roscoe gave me structure and a schedule to keep, a structure that I carried over to my personal and professional life.
I could go on and on about why a dog is a brilliant idea. Some of you may or may not agree with me. By the way, those of you who don’t, are wrong. The long and short of it is this; having a dog while you’re in school provides an avenue that allows you to make the most out of your college experience. Between exploring, meeting all those wacky new characters out there and having someone to lean on when the stress builds and loneliness creeps in. There’s really just one question to ask yourself, “Why wouldn’t you get a dog in college?”

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