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Discussion Starter #1
First, before everyone jumps on the "you're too young and unsettled" bandwagon, a little background on me:

I have depression and anxiety that have proven quite hard to manage and one of the few things that has been helpful to me has been having my animals around me.

I have already gone through 2 years of school working towards a biology major, but am now taking a year off to transfer as I have decided I want to go to school for Equine Studies, focusing on horse training/riding instruction and maybe I'll try to get a degree in equine therapy as well. I'm anticipating a minimum of 3 years in school for this, even with the transfer of credits from my old school, because of the huge shift in my intended major.

My life is fairly structured for a college student: I spend the fall/winter/spring at school and the summers working as a riding instructor at a dog-friendly summer camp. I usually spend a few months at home in NYC at my parent's apartment between school and work but they're downsizing to a smaller apartment and since I plan to be renting apartments and not live in dorms at school I may stay in the apartment I rent until work starts. The summer job also guarentees a fairly sizeable summer income that includes free room and board, so I would definitely be able to put aside a certain amount of money for vet care each year.

I had always planned to get a dog as soon as possible. Like I said, having pets is one of the few things I can always count on to relieve my symptoms. I love people, I'm a social person, but my life feels empty without a dog.

I currently have a rabbit who is an official emotional support animal that will be coming to school with me. I don't know how many of you have spent time with indoor, friendly rabbits, but for those of you that have you'll probably understand when I say that she's already nearly equal to the commitment of a dog (or maybe more appropriately, a cat) as it is- I'll already be limited the time I'm away from the house because of her, and feeling guilty for not being home the same I would as if I also had a dog. Basically, a lot of the reasons for not getting a dog at my age (being tied down, having to get home at reasonable hours to feed/walk, not being able to go on spur of the moment trips, general burden financially/time-wise) I already face with the rabbit.

Now, onto my main question:

my family currently has 2 dogs. We have a ~5.5 year old "black dog lab mutt" named Josie, and a 4 month old Boston Terrier named Evie. Now, we mainly got Evie because I pushed my parents to it. We had another boston before we got Josie that she grew up with and love the breed. We'd all been thinking about getting another boston to varying degrees, and since I've always been the one in the family that was best and most committed to training our dogs it made sense to get a second pup while I was home to work with her. I am about 80% responsible for Evie at this point in terms of training/feeding/etc, and I am undoubtedly "her person" to the extent that a friendly breed like bostons have a main person.

I will be home until june, and while I am home I will continue to be the one in charge of her care. Currently I'm home all day because I'm not working, she'll have to adjust to a more normal schedule where someone isn't with her all the time (depending on where I work, I may find work in a petstore or doggie daycare that lets me bring her with me if I'm lucky).

my dilemma now is I know I want a dog when I go to school. I look forwards to having to keep a schedule with a dog- waking up early, going to a morning walk, taking breaks during the day to let it out, and generally having to be in charge of something living other than myself. Having been raising a puppy for the past few months I also have a new, adult understanding of how much work a dog really is- more so than I did a year ago when these were all dreams. That does not change anything. I honestly feel like I need a dog to live my life to the fullest.

Now, I could take Evie with me when I go to camp, and then when I go to school. It would be nice to have a dog I raised and not have to deal with new dog stuff in college, but I'm not sure Evie is the right choice to take with me and I want to do what's best for her, first and foremost.

First, she's always had other dogs with her since she's been born, at the breeders and then with us. She's quite bonded to Josie and I don't know that she would be completely happy as a singleton dog. She loves my rabbit and we're working on the two of them being able to hang out under supervision since the rabbit is also interested in her when she's being less boisterous, so she wouldn't be completely alone, and I'd work to find places where she can socialize with other dogs as well.

Second, I know that a boston terrier is not the breed I would have chosen for myself given my lifestyle. Their temperament is good, and their small size is convenient, but their issues with weather extremes are not so much, as all my top schools are in places that get very cold and snowy in winter and hot in summer, and part of what I want from a dog is being able to hike, jog, etc even when its cold or hot.

Third, I know she would be happy if I left her at home. She is bonded to my parents- not as much as to me, but enough that she would miss them too. She'd have to adjust to me being gone, but she would have another dog and both of them and would go to doggie daycare during the day. I'm not pumped about them ruining the training I do with her (the lab mix is a completely different dog from the one I trained 4 years ago b/c of how they treat her, she's got a whole host of different issues now since I've been away at school and not been around in the summer to work with her), and I know I will miss her terribly, but her happiness is most important.

If I did not bring Evie, I would probably be looking for a young adult dog. I may break and get another (probably older) puppy, but having just been reminded how extensive puppyhood care can be I would not be jumping into that lightly. With a new dog, the majority of my summer money would be sunk into the initial care costs, etc. I would be able to visit shelters and look for the right dog.

My parents will let me bring her if that's what I decide to do, but they love her dearly and would also love to keep her with them. They know I can take care of a dog. Understand that I have a twin brother who would not be able to, so they and I know the difference between a 21 year old who is responsible and ready to do what she needs to for a dog versus one who has a fanciful idea of what having a dog is like and would crumble at the responsibility. They'd probably be more upset at me getting another dog versus bringing what is essentially "my" puppy with me, since they would worry about when I had to bring the third dog home for holidays and whatnot.

What I want from a dog:
- companionship, both laying on the couch and someone to go on weekend adventures with
- willing to do at least 2 (lengthy) walks a day, before and after classes, hopefully 3 walks a day. I lived in Oberlin, OH for 2 winters so I know I can brave negative temperatures to walk a dog if I need to.
- understand any dog will have problems; I will work around them

basically I'm wondering what all your ideas on this are, if you think one choice is better than the other, etc...
 

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Bring your Boston for a while and see how it goes. If worse comes to worse and you realize you can't keep her there then you can give her back to your parents. You should get settled before you get a new dog. And even if you can't have a dog you have your bunny.
 

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Bring your Boston for a while and see how it goes. If worse comes to worse and you realize you can't keep her there then you can give her back to your parents. You should get settled before you get a new dog. And even if you can't have a dog you have your bunny.
This. Even with the best intentions I've seen having animals not work out in a college situation. I'm NOT saying that things won't work out with you but, of course, we do need to think about what's best for the animals in a situation. If your family is ok with you taking the dog with you then I'd do that. If for some reason things really aren't working out then the dog shouldn't have any issues going back to live with your family. I suppose that if you find out down the line that a Boston really doesn't fit in with your lifestyle then she could go back to live with your parents. Some would jump on me for saying that (too much instability for the dog), but in my experience a well adjusted dog will do just fine going from one stable household with people he knows to another.

Figuring out what to do with a new dog in the event things didn't work out could be a lot more complicated. You're also famliar with this dog's routines, habits, and quirks. Having to figure out a new dog while in the process of moving in and adjusting does not sound like a good idea to me, regardless of the mental and emotional benefits it may afford you. I would not recommend it, especially if you want to have a dog immediately or soon after moving. Even if you'd be ok waiting a month to settle in before jumping into new dog ownership it would make a little more sense, but I don't know what your timeline is. Were it me I'd take the boston.
 

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Be prepared to hire a dog walker for when you have class 8:30AM to 10 PM. I got lucky and had a friend who didn't mind helping me out for a bit since it was only a few semesters, but I only got my dog around the end of my degree-not during the heavy lifting or long days minus one day a week for 4 months-big favour to ask for from friends!!).

Definitely go with your family dog in case it doesn't work, and you can always ask your family to take over. getting a new dog puts you in a situation where you can't win if *anything* goes wrong, and Murphy's Law is stronger than any of us would like. Evie will be a good match for you-no dog is perfect; there is always compromise. Buy her boots/jackets and get her used to being away from the other dog some of the time so there's less to worry about when you start school. You said you understand any dog will have problems - why not choose the dog you committed to already, then? :) See? it all works out lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've officially claimed Evie as mine. 1) because she's the perfect dog for me right now and 2) because I know I will end up wanting 2 dogs ASAP anyways because I like to have two so I can feel less guilty not constantly engaging with the dog and to make their lives more enriching.

I'm now realizing I don't want to work at a summer camp anymore and will probably make better money elsewhere, and I'm reconsidering working there this summer and thinking I might live in my house on long island and then move to where I end up going to college semi-permanently until I'm done with school instead of coming home from school every break and living at home in the summer. I'm also planning to get pet insurance for both Evie and the potential second dog to help with unforseen medical costs.

At this point in my life I don't think I want to get a dog from a rescue for several reasons
- I want to know as much as possible about genetic predispositions and history (my Boston before this one died of cushings disease and I wish we'd done our research about genetic history/testing of the line more)
- I'd like to do agility and rally obedience and am looking at breeds known to be successful in those things (ie, smart, want to please, agile, sporty)

things I'm looking for in a breed
- able to do obediance and agility but at the same time doesn't have constant energy- they don't need to have to be exhausted after a long walk but one that will "settle" indoors as opposed to still playing, pacing, etc even after an hour of walking
- one that doesn't love everything it meets (like my boston or a retriever (I understand this means I will need to do a lot of puppy socialization b/c these kinds of breeds are more prone to being weary of new things))
- as low a prey drive as possible so as to make my rabbit's life easier- right now she's free range and I'll probably cage her if/when I get another dog but I'd like her running around not to be a huge ordeal (I understand for high drive/working/herding breeds that this is always going to be present to some extent but mostly I don't want something like ridgebacks or sighthouds or pointers that are known for chasing down small animals and killing them, also understand this is something that needs to be trained and worked with on an individual dog basis)
- size wise I go back and forth. I really like bigger dogs but smaller ones will be much easier for someone my age to find housing with so really anything over 25lbs is cool with me
- note that I probably will not be able to count on having a fenced yard in the near future

my current shortlist of breeds are
- Border Collie (always really, really wanted one but worried about energy level w/o yard and that it will be too active indoors even after a lot of exercise)
- German Shepherd (another breed I've always wanted but worried it might be hard to find a place to live with a dog this big, also not sure how they do in agility?)
- Aussie Shepherd, either mini or standard (again worried about energy level)
- smooth coated Collie
- Poodle, either medium sized or standard
- Labradoodle or Goldendoodle

It's really mostly between a GSD and a BC, but both breeds are a lot to jump into for a young person and so I'm thinking its a good idea to keep an open mind to other potential agility/obedience breeds.
 

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I don't know about everyone else, but when I was in college I was either at class, working, or trying to get some sleep. There was no time for a dog for sure! I managed a fish. Personally I would not recommend any high energy dog. Maybe look into something more laid back. Hope it all works out!
 

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Sounds like you have a lot of big changes in your life coming up. Have you thought about how the change in majors is going to affect your free time? Outside of classes, from what I have witnessed in the equestrian world (I work 30 minutes from Wellington, which is gearing up for one of the biggest competitions in show jumping in the US) on top of schooling, you also have to work your way up. It's not a career that you get all of your respect from having a degree. You also have to make a name for yourself. So that usually means working as a groom or exercise rider, then moving your way up. If you are planning on doing something like this, it is going to require you to be away from home for long hours. Just all things to consider.

Honestly, I would take Evie and try it out. Don't get too excited about getting a second dog just yet. Work and train with one, and see how it goes. Also, for reference, Bostons are good starting dogs for both Rally and Agility. I am STRONGLY against someone who has never been in the sport starting with a Border/ GS and Aussie. They are intense dogs and don't tend to do well with green handlers. And as far as the weather, sweaters and cooling coats.
 
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In my opinion, two things would happen. Either you're going to not be fully devoted to the studies and the necessary socializing or not fully devoted to the dog.

I'd approach that with caution.

I live alone and work your regular 8-5 job where I rarely stay later. After work, I spend most of my free time with the dog, and I still feel that he could use more. He's not neglected and he gets more excercise than VAST majority of dogs, but it's still a challenge.

If I had to had classes, schoolwork, trying to do some socializing and taking care of a dog (this means doing more than just taking them out for a couple walks), I'd not have time for anything and something would have to give.

In my opinion, dogs are like children. They need more than just potty breaks and walks. They need socialization and interaction. So, in a way, it's like you'd be going to school while taking care of a child.
 

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I love my BC like I've never loved a breed before, but as someone who has one - don't do it. They require a TON of mental stimulation, way more mental than physical exercise is required. More than you can reasonably give if you aren't very invested (I'm home all day with mine) You might get lucky and get a lower-energy BC, but I doubt it. I have at laugh at those Kong Genius toys, because my BC empties them in under 2 minutes. And she wants to work. And work. And work. And she's only 6 months old. I think it's passed the "desire to please" trait some breeds have, I think it's an inner desire to work for themselves because they enjoy it so much. They are quite intense.

My Aussie is way more laid back. He's easy to train, but because he knows it makes me happy, not necessarily because he enjoys it. He again needs way more mental stimulation than physical exercise (although both my guys get around 2 hours a day). I would also be very surprised if a breeder would even consider you for an Aussie/BC without a yard, it's a requirement for all the breeders I spoke to. If you do end up pursuing the Aussie path, I would highly recommend you go for the Standard and not the Miniature American Shepherd. Depending on the sire/dam you can get a "mini" that is nearly the size of a Standard, or a standard that is quite small. In addition, the majority of the minis I meet are off-the-wall neurotic and crazy. So really make sure you meet the parents and see them in action.

I'm not saying don't get one, but I would wait until you're done school and are more settled. Smart just means they get into real trouble without an outlet, and oh boy can they find themselves in trouble ;)
 

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I agree with @readmeli I managed my cat while I was in college and not till my Junior year. Between working full-time , a second part-time job, and classes my cat was all I could take care of for companionship. I did babysit a lot of my friends dogs so I got my dog fix :). I would say focus on Evie and school and the move and a job and your rabbit first before thinking of adding.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've firmly decided to bring Evie with me. She's become even more bonded with me since I started letting her sleep in my bed instead of a crate and I think either way (me leaving or being separated from our other dog) she will be in for a huge adjustment.

I think going through college you have to decide what your priorities are. I've already done two years of school focusing 100% on academics and friends and it made me so depressed and anxious I had to leave. I know there are going to be times when I wishI weren't tied down with pets and could stay out late and didn't have to worry about walks/socialization/training/care, but it'll be worth it in the long run for me, I think. If sometimes my grades have to give that's ok. In a few years when I start a real job I will be looking with my animals in mind, just as I always do. They will always come first even if it makes my own life a little harder.
 

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It's do able (I did it, not well, but I did it). But you have to be realistic to what is the best interest for your dog. I really recommend that, with taking Evie, you don't look for a second dog. 1 dog will take up a lot of your time as is. Honestly, if she's really wanting interaction with another dog, then find friends that also have other dogs, go to dog parks, get involved in a training club where she can be around other dogs, but really dogs do adjust to being only dogs really quick when they are getting all of the attention.

Also be careful about saying it's ok to let your grades slack for care of the dog. At this point, your grades should be #1. Remember what your goal is for being there.
 

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Also be careful about saying it's ok to let your grades slack for care of the dog. At this point, your grades should be #1. Remember what your goal is for being there.
JClark's post, all of it, is spot-on. I also want to add a strong second to this piece of advice.

I'm presently on a hiring committee for a teaching position, and we rejected several candidates because they had spotty academic records. It didn't matter if an applicant got a "C" in a water polo class, but it did matter if they got a "C" or a "W" in one of their major classes or their GPA went below 3.20. You really should strive for a GPA of at least 3.50 to be highly competitive.
 

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I wish I could hit like 400 times of SusanLynn's and JClark's posts. It took me 6 years to graduate because I worked 1 full-time job and 1 part-time job (that by my senior year was basically full time) and knew that I need to maintain my grades.

I am not working full-time and doing Graduate school full-time and it is crazy hard and I barely have a waking moment to myself. I have 1 semester left (only 2 classes) and decided to adopt my pup but even still I end up asking my boyfriend (his schedule is much more flexible) for help often with things like chores around the house. Last semester I never could have had my house, my boyfriend, my cat, my job, my part-time job (this is my hobby and my me time), and a dog while maintaining a 4.0.
 
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I know a girl who lives in NYC and has a large spaniel (who has cancer!!!) and two parrots during her last two years at NYU. You can do it if you are mature, responsible, and willing to give up some opportunities because you have furry friends at home. That being said- do not get two dogs.
 

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It is definitely doable, but you are going to have to put your pup before yourself. I have a six month old little guy and I am currently in law school. It is hard, but coming home to sloppy kisses and tail wags after an (at most) 8 hour day of torture is wonderful.

And I totally get where you are coming from about the anxiety and wanting an animal- it is how I ended up with my guy. I have really bad anxiety and my dogs at home kept me sane, but a word of caution: your anxiety may get worse in the beginning. When I got my pup my anxiety went through the dang roof. Between him, being homesick (I moved about two months prior to getting him), and school there was a lot to manage. I waited to long in asking for some help from my color (adjusted my medication) and my grades definitely suffered for it... so what I am trying to say is- know yourself. Ask for help as soon as you start feeling overwhelmed, don't wait like I did.

Good luck!
 
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