I love basset hounds. In fact, I’ve had two and a half bassets in my life; my first one was a mix, hence the half 😉
Basically, I don’t know life without a dog. That is up until medical school. My last basset passed away senior year of college. During medical school I spent the first three years debating whether I should get a dog or not. I kept being advised not to, while others told me I should. I ended up deciding medical school wasn’t the best environment to bring a new puppy to, not for the canine companion and not for studying. At least it wouldn’t work for me. I was dog-less for almost 4 years, until now.
Based on my experience I believe fourth year of medical school is best time to bring a puppy home. There are no Shelf or STEP exams to study for ’round the clock like in third year and the interviews are pretty much done by the time second semester comes around. Once your interviews and away rotations are done, it’s all autopilot until graduation. The schedule allows plenty of time to get your new puppy settled in with you and potty trained before starting residency.
I finally took the plunge around Thanksgiving and found a litter of basset hounds that would be ready to go home in January, perfect timing. (More on why a basset hound in future post). I have a roommate I had to convince, a roommate that wasn’t too fond about basset hounds. Luckily, she’s my best friend of 10 years so convincing her was kind of easy. I contacted the dog owner and the countdown began. I had to puppy-proof my apartment and buy chew toys, collar, bed, etc. (A list of essentials can be found in another post by N)
I had a full week off before rotations began to dedicate time to potty training him and getting him used to his new home. I was lucky to have scheduled “easy” rotations during this second semester meaning I have been able to come home very early to feed and enjoy him!
A little over a month into this adventure I realize this was the best time to get Leopoldo and even regret not allowing myself the joy he’s brought earlier. Despite the teething induced piranha-like attacks and potty accidents, he has been the perfect stress relief for one exhausted and dog-loving medical student. In summary, deciding if you should get a dog in medical school depends a lot on your time management skills if you’re thinking of getting one earlier on in medical school. If not, you can wait like I did.