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Will I be too busy for my dog?


Excellent Boiled Potatoes

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Excellent Boiled Potatoes
  • Law School Admit

I'm going to be moving for law school this upcoming September and I'm trying to decide whether or not to take my dog with me or to leave him back at home with my parents. He's a five year old husky and I've basically been his main caregiver since he was a puppy so I see him as my dog even though he's technically the family dog. He's pretty low maintenance for a husky and can easily get by with about 45 minutes to an hour of exercise a day. He doesn't have separation anxiety or any destructive habits, but I worry about not being able to find the time to give him adequate exercise and attention. I don't want him to be alone all the time while I'm in classes, even though he mostly just sleeps throughout the day, but I honestly think it might break my heart to leave him behind.

If you brought your dog with you to law school, can you share your experience with me? Was it difficult to find time to juggle both? I'm really struggling with this.

edit: the law school I'm going to is about a 4 hour drive from the city I live in now, so going back to visit him except during holidays would be difficult

Edited by Excellent Boiled Potatoes
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Diplock
  • Lawyer

This is a pretty dumb question, because it doesn't address your query at all. But if you're a four hour drive away, I get that makes frequent visits difficult but it doesn't make a singular trip too difficult. Wouldn't the best answer be to try it and see how it goes? If it turns out not to work well, it's not like you need to ship your dog back across the country or anything.

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Excellent Boiled Potatoes
  • Law School Admit
20 minutes ago, Diplock said:

This is a pretty dumb question, because it doesn't address your query at all. But if you're a four hour drive away, I get that makes frequent visits difficult but it doesn't make a singular trip too difficult. Wouldn't the best answer be to try it and see how it goes? If it turns out not to work well, it's not like you need to ship your dog back across the country or anything.

Not a dumb question at all - it's actually makes a lot of sense and is something I might consider doing! Just hoping to get an idea from others of what it might be like though before I uproot his whole life; especially if he's just gonna end up back home with my parents. Might be better to just spare him from any potential anxiety, etc, if it's not realistic to have him with me.

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LMP
  • Articling Student

Classes take up less time than you think. And there are often gaps between them. I don't think you'll have any issues.

Plenty of people had pets at law school and no one seemed to have any issues. 

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multilingualcat
  • Law Student

I had peers who got a puppy in first or second year of law school and they did fine. I think you should try and see how it goes. If you see that the dog's presence is more of a stressor, it might be a good idea to send him back to your parents. 

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Turtles
  • Law Student

Anyone who tells you that you won't have time for pets, family, hobbies, etc, are the same students who likely performed poorly due to specific personal difficulties and whose advice should not be blindly taken at face value. Though, admittedly, advice from most law students should not be taken at face value regardless.

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ccounsel2024
  • Law Student

No, you won’t be too busy for your dog. I have 2 dogs that I cared for throughout law school by myself and without family. Admittedly you will have to sacrifice some things i.e. instead of going out to bars, you’ll have to come home to walk and spend time with your dog. Personally I’ve gotten used to that because I worked prior to law school and I know when work is done, I’ve got to head back home to them instead of hanging out with friends.  

Edited by ccounsel2024
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Diplock
  • Lawyer
22 minutes ago, ccounsel2024 said:

No, you won’t be too busy for your dog. I have 2 dogs that I cared for throughout law school by myself and without family. Admittedly you will have to sacrifice some things i.e. instead of going out to bars, you’ll have to come home to walk and spend time with your dog. Personally I’ve gotten used to that because I worked prior to law school and I know when work is done, I’ve got to head back home to them instead of hanging out with friends.  

This was kinda the subtext of my comment above. I don't doubt that a person can care for a normal dog while attending law school. Whether you will care to arrange your life in a way that makes that work for you (and your dog) while meeting other commitments and, admittedly, trying to build the relationships that may form part of the foundation of your career...that's anyone's bet. Which is why I endorse the "try it and see but leave yourself an out while doing so" approach.

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ccounsel2024
  • Law Student
15 minutes ago, Diplock said:

This was kinda the subtext of my comment above. I don't doubt that a person can care for a normal dog while attending law school. Whether you will care to arrange your life in a way that makes that work for you (and your dog) while meeting other commitments and, admittedly, trying to build the relationships that may form part of the foundation of your career...that's anyone's bet. Which is why I endorse the "try it and see but leave yourself an out while doing so" approach.

Okay. Didn’t read your comment. Just giving my 2 cents. 

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flertalgerdal1
  • Law Student

I have friends caring for children and dogs while in law school. I have two old chihuahuas that I have also cared for while in 1L; I am moving into 2L.

Edited by flertalgerdal1
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SNAILS
  • Articling Student

You actually require something else in your life other than studying while in law school. For example, reading for 4-6 hours per day and attending all your classes will allow you to comfortably keep up with your work.

You don't want too much else going on, but walking a dog you really love is a good break and allows you to reflect on law materials. (By "too much" I mean if you wanted to have a  hyperactive dog and a part time job and play video games and go out with friends all the time).

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chaboywb
  • Lawyer

Law school seems like such an intense time sink when you're in the middle of it, but most of that is the swirling anxiety of grades and trying to find a job. In retrospect, my dog got tons of attention during those three years because of all the study breaks and gaps between classes. I also cooked more, spent more time with friends, worked out more... doesn't seem so bad, looking back.

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Diplock
  • Lawyer
1 hour ago, ccounsel2024 said:

Okay. Didn’t read your comment. Just giving my 2 cents. 

Oh, not arguing with you at all at all. You made a much better comment from knowledge. I was more just agreeing with you and expanding on what I wrote earlier.

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sarcasticlemon
  • Law Student

I have a dog who I adopted first year law school and it was an absolute joy! I actually met other people from the law school at the dog park, the walks were a great break from studying, and my second year placement even allowed me to bring him into the office (although I know this is unusual). 

some schools even have walking and running clubs and people bring their dogs. 

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Diplock
  • Lawyer
19 minutes ago, sarcasticlemon said:

I have a dog who I adopted first year law school and it was an absolute joy! I actually met other people from the law school at the dog park, the walks were a great break from studying, and my second year placement even allowed me to bring him into the office (although I know this is unusual). 

some schools even have walking and running clubs and people bring their dogs. 

Now there's a great way to address both my stated (and semi-unstated) concern and still accommodate your dog. Law school is a time when the connections you make, and the activities you are involved with, can be as important to your future career as the classes, papers, and tests. Anything that draws you away from that excessively (including part-time work, family, etc.) can be a problem. That's not to say you shouldn't have other things, but not participating fully in law school does come at a cost. But if there are dog-related activities with your fellow students, and perhaps other figures at the law school...that's a hell of a good suggestion. Follow that up.

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Excellent Boiled Potatoes
  • Law School Admit
Posted (edited)

Really appreciate everyone's insight on this. Thank you so much!!

Edited by Excellent Boiled Potatoes
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GreyDude
  • Law Student

I have only skimmed this thread. But as a husky owner and law student I can say that I’m glad I’m not looking after him on my own. Huskies are high energy dogs who can tend to be anxious. Mine is 8 years old and needs at least two hours of walking or running  daily to be happy.  I’m very glad my family is there to share the burden, especially around exam time. Also, huskies are more pack animals than individuals—meaning they bond more to the group than to one person (unlike German shepherds or Labrador retrievers, for example)—so I’m thinking that my dog, at least, is happier with my wife, daughters, me and for that matter our cats, than he would be with just me. 

So my 2 cents : I would not take my dog with me to school if I were in your position.  But I’m not you and your dog is not my dog. Obviously , your mileage may vary. 

Edited by GreyDude
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PzabbytheLawyer
  • Lawyer

I got a dog after law school when I started working.

It's easier to have a dog during law school than in the early years of your practice.

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happydude
  • Lawyer

I cannot see it being a problem in law school.

But the dog will still be around after you graduate. Then, it could become a huge challenge and it could end up being a very unfair situation for the dog, depending on your work circumstances.

What will you do if you have a very busy period and are doing a week, or 2, or three, of consecutive 12-14 hour days? Plus commute (but hopefully you live close to work if you are at a big firm where those sort of stretches are possible). Will the dog be on its own from 7AM to 9PM? Anyone to let it out to the bathroom or feed it dinner? And once you get home, how much energy will you have to look after it / give it some stimulation?

I recommend against single lawyers having pets that require active care and attention. I often get criticism for it. But I speak from experience. I am in house now. My hours are generally good. But busy periods do happen. If it was not for my partner, I don't even know what I'd do with the dog in those busy periods. I'd feel guilty and awful. You could pay for a dog sitter I suppose. Is that an expense you want? Lots of think about.

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