A Puppy Before Veterinary School

Allie stands in a doorway holding her puppy Mack
Allie and Mack on the first day of veterinary school

I always wanted a dog I could call my own.

Growing up, I had family dogs that I loved but none that were actually mine. During my undergraduate years, I thought about getting a dog but was never able to because I lived in homes that did not allow pets.

However, after graduating in December, I stayed in College Station, and while I was working at a local veterinary clinic, I began constantly looking at shelters’ websites for dogs available for adoption, excited for the opportunity to adopt one once I moved.

Toward the end of May, a stray puppy was brought into my clinic by a client who thought the puppy had been hit by a car. Luckily, he was perfectly fine and was not actually injured but instead was just in shock.

The person who brought him in was unable to keep him, so we planned to have him stay at the clinic until we were able to find a home for him. After spending a few days with the puppy, though, I absolutely fell in love and knew I had to take him home with me.

Mack wears a graduation cap and blue bandana that says "Puppy Grad!"
Mack graduates from puppy class

It felt like it was fate—he had come to me right before I had to move and was needing a good, loving home. I decided to take him and I ended up naming him Mack, like the truck, because I thought it was funny that the way he came to me was because he was thought to have been hit by a car or truck.

But then I became nervous about starting my first semester of veterinary school with a young puppy. I knew I could handle it and that, in the end, it would work out, so, I worked with Mack all summer, potty training him, getting him used to what my school schedule would be, and doing puppy training classes. He quickly picked up a lot of tricks, including sit, lay down, wait, shake, spin, pray, weave, and kiss.

Once school rolled around, he was about 6 months old and, thankfully, was potty and crate trained by that time.

I was still worried about leaving him during school, but he has done fantastic and is used to our schedule now—getting out of bed when I’m done getting ready for class and sleeping in with me on the weekends. Sometimes it can be stressful having such a young dog that needs attention, but in the end, I think adopting Mack was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

Mack sits in grass wearing an American flag bow tie
Mack on the 4th of July

It makes me really happy to come home to a wagging tail and to be able to de-stress by playing with him and walking him in the evenings. It also helps that my roommates have dogs that he can play with, too, if I am busy with studying that day and don’t have a lot of time to play with him.

I don’t think having a young dog when starting veterinary school is a good idea for everyone, but I don’t at all regret taking him home, and I would recommend to those going to veterinary school to have a furry friend; it really is so nice having a dog there to cuddle with and lift your spirits after a long, hard day at school.

Mack is such a sweet puppy with an attitude and mind of his own that makes me both laugh and occasionally be mad at the same time. Not only do I now have a patient I can practice on, but I have a furry friend to help me emotionally survive veterinary school and beyond.