Story by Doug Close
Photo by Miles Furuichi
For Chris Im, living with two dogs in college is living a dream.
“I’ve loved dogs since I knew what they were,” Im said. “It’s fun, unconditional love when you come home. It gives you a reason to go out and meet neighbors, and having dogs helps keep me healthy. I’ve learned time management and the importance of responsibility. I’m so much better with time management and commitment to things because I have little ones who need me at home so I have to be at home by a certain time.”
Owning a dog is essentially like raising a furry, four-legged child. Taking proper care of them requires hard, but rewarding, work. The dilemma for Chapman University students, however, is whether the college lifestyle is an appropriate place for a pup.
“I adore having a dog in college, it has made me a far less selfish (person) and has really helped me grow up a bit” said senior Harrison Wells, who has a German Shepherd named Baron. Wells has had Baron since his junior year and personally believes that owning a dog is a “vital experience” for all college students. One thing that is clear though is that being a dog owner in college takes a lot of thought, effort, and time.
“It varies person to person, whether or not you should get a dog in college,” says graduate student Riley Schwartz, who has a Husky named Blue. “I got Blue my junior year after already living in a house for a year, and I’m not going to lie, it was a handful for the first little bit, especially finding time to train him and keep him calm in a loud house with lots of people coming and going. Once a routine that worked got established though, things started getting really great.”
The factors that need to be taken into account include time, finances, and responsibility of the individual, Schwartz added.
Dr. Ruth Barnes, a veterinarian in Orange, said there is more to taking care of a dog than just feeding and watering.
“They need proper exercise, love, and stimulation,” she said. “You have to take them out everyday. Walk them, and open up their world. Amount of exercise required is obviously going to vary from breed to breed, but it is just imperative that each individual dog’s needs are met every day.”
Chapman students who do own dogs make sure that they have enough time and space to take care of their animals. While they acknowledge the difficulties, they insist that the process of caring for a dog is unparalleled in its rewards.
Senior Sean Davis explains how taking care of his Labrador Retriever, Jack, has changed his lifestyle for the better. He said he stays home more often in order to take care of his dog, which also allows him to get more of his own schoolwork done.
“Having Jack added responsibility also helped me mature,” Davis said. “It prevented me from going out all the time, which at first was a pain and I would always try to find someone to watch him for me. But now, my housemates and I don’t mind kind of planning around the dog whenever we have to. Jack’s one of us as far as we’re concerned.”
For those looking to own a dog in college, be prepared for a challenge, but also be prepared for potentially one of the most rewarding experiences out there.