What It's Like to Adopt a Dog

Earlier this year, I adopted a dog on my own for the first time. A semi-terrifying decision as a college student, but, looking back, I know it was the best decision I’ve made since being an adult. Here’s my personal experience of what it was like to adopt a dog as a college student.

By Jennifer Meseck

Meet Bennie!!

Meet Bennie!!

Let me start out with a disclaimer: this was NOT a split decision. I thought about adopting for a whole year before I committed to doing it; however, choosing which dog to bring home was spontaneous for me. I went to two different shelters and thought ‘this isn’t going to happen today’—which was disheartening. When I finally got to the Austin Animal Center, there were two dogs I had interest in. One couldn’t be adopted yet, so I took the other one outside to play.

With only an hour till the shelter closed and Labor Day sales (dropped adoption fees) around the corner, the volunteer informed me that this pup would surely be adopted tomorrow if I didn’t get her tonight. She cuddled up in my lap as soon as I sat on the ground, and I knew then that this sweet dog was going to be mine. I signed the adoption papers and that was that. I was officially a dog owner.

At first, it was really difficult. I thought I’d easily be able to balance being a dog mom with work and school, but it took a lot of time to get used to my new responsibilities. These included vet visits, getting her heart worm medication on time, taking her outside, etc.—typical stuff that comes with owning a dog; however, you’d be surprised at how long it takes to adopt these additions into a daily routine.

Looking back on everything, I’m so glad that I adopted my dog. Her name is Bennie (after the song Bennie and the Jets), and she is the world’s sweetest dog. When I’m sleepy, she’ll sit and cuddle with me. Once I get up, she’s ready to play. She has never torn up any of my things and only bites her dog toys. Her wagging tail always greets me when I get home which makes my days so much better.

I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t gotten Bennie. She’s my personal support system. This past year, I struggled with anxiety more than I ever had before. In all honesty, I believe that my dog has been the greatest therapy for me. Anytime I’m getting overwhelmed, she sits with me and lets me hold her till I’m feeling better. I’m not saying you should just go out and adopt a pet simply because they can help with anxiety, but I know my dog has helped me through so many difficult events this past year. I simply can’t imagine doing life without her.

When I adopted her, she was 10 pounds, you could see all her ribs and she had matted, dry fur. Now, she is happy and healthy. A full-on fluff ball! She’s no longer super scared of other dogs and can run faster than any other pup I’ve seen.

Things are easier now. I’m not stressed about taking care of her anymore because it’s become second nature to me. I wake up, work out, and immediately take her outside, and I also load up on food so I don’t have to worry about running out. She fits in to my life so well. Not one bit of me regrets my new life with Bennie. Overall, it’s been 8 months since I adopted her, and I can’t wait to take on the world with her by my side.