puppies

Perks of Being a Dog Mom

If you have been following the blog for a while you know that I recently became a dogmom and dogaunt. It has been a humbling and eye-opening experience. There are many wonderful things in life but very few can compare to the unconditional bond you establish with your pup. The loving connection since the first time you meet, the play dates, nights fallen asleep on the sofa together and the many silent but deadly farts that happen with your puppy are the beginning of a beautiful life together. Recently I became a doggie aunt and was able to live, care for and love a puppy basset hound named Leopoldo, whom you may have met on earlier posts of the blog. He is a sweet angel that showed me the wonders of being with a dog. Suddenly you feel happier in the morning, you have someone greeting you with licks every time you get home from a hard day at work. This experience really got me thinking that I wanted to establish that amazing bond with my own puppy. I set myself on the journey to find a puppy that would be perfect for my personality and that would be a great companion to Leopoldo…and I found him.

His name is Charlie and he is a charming F1B Goldendoodle. He is the epitome of love. He is everything I could ever hope for. This loving pup brightens up my day immensely. He was and is all I ever needed to finally feel good! He is my therapy and joy. I hope he feels the same way about me 🙂

I know getting a puppy isn’t possible for everyone for many reasons; long hours at work, restrictions in an apartment building, you name it. But seriously, at some point in life give yourself the opportunity to love in the most simple of ways. Open your heart to the possibility of a tail wagging companion to make this journey called life a little bit easier, even if it involves picking up some poop along the way.

-N

Why I Chose a Basset Hound

You have made the big decision to get a dog while in medical school, now which type will you get? As you may  already know from a previous my post, Basset hounds are my favorite breed. Also, I have more experience with them since I have only ever had Basset hounds as pets. So when faced with deciding what dog to get during medical school it was practically a no-brainer. Practically… I considered corgis for a while because their body habitus is somewhat similar to bassets and for some reason I am drawn to such dogs. Then after researching the breed I realized they were very active little crazies, and not all posh like the Queen’s… This realization brings me to the first point I want to make: do your RESEARCH.

Look into their energy level and exercise requirements. You will think you are getting a puppy as a gift to yourself, but remember they too have needs which have to be met so that they live the most joyful life that they can. Being a medical student, later on a resident, and so on, will limit you in what you can provide for the dog. I had to take into consideration my current lifestyle as well as my future. I had to think of my living arrangement and how that would bear a lot of weight into deciding what breed of dog to get. I would not be able to provide ample space for a dog to run and exercise as I will probably be living in an apartment for the next few years. I would need to look into dogs that don’t require much room and have somewhat a sedentary lifestyle. Emphasis on “somewhat” as Basset hounds need their fair share of exercising otherwise you will end up with an obese dog with various health problems. They do good with daily walks and otherwise just lounge all day. Something to consider when your schedule gets too hectic is a dog-walker.

Next think of the dog’s size as an adult. Chances are you do not want to end up living with a Malamute in a studio apartment, regardless of how gorgeous they look lol. I would recommend looking into dogs that will end up being small – medium in size if your living arrangement is like mine. A very important detail to factor in is the dog’s coat. A gorgeous coat can draw you in but think about the shedding. Basset hounds shed a lot, but not quite like a Siberian Husky or shepherds. This was the one thing I decided to look past because of how sold I am on their personalities and adorable looks. Luckily, my roommate has a Goldendoodle (Charlie), whose poodle genes make him a non-shedding dog, so I only have to deal with my basset’s shedding.

Lastly, something worth looking into is the dog’s personality. Basset’s have very unique personalities that will make you believe you are living with another human. They can be very stubborn, lazy, loving, and at times even have a bitchy personality. They will give you a judging look but still love you. I have to add that my adorable chubby puppy is quite the entitled brat. He will throw tantrums in his bed when he doesn’t get the toy he wanted to play with because Charlie has it. It is never a dull day with a basset in your home! Although his stubbornness will affect his training and housebreaking, once you use up all the patience you ever had with it, bassets will be very independent and a great addition to the family.

For a little background on the breed, watch this video!

 

Living with a Hound

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.

-I