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This is going to be all about pets, fyi.

If you're worried about finances, fostering pets can be a great option. I fostered dogs during grad school and my only requirement was no puppies. Why? Well, the rescue group covers the food and vet bills, in exchange for you taking the dog into your home, treating it as a member of you family, and being willing to bring it to adoption events (which, in one rescue group's case, were held once a month for two hours on a Saturday morning). The "no puppies" rule was because puppies must be closely supervised and cannot go without using the bathroom for very long (biologically speaking). My age minimum was 6 months, which gets you to 4-6 hours between bathroom breaks and beyond most of the chewing stage. 

That said, I also (was) adopted (by) a dog while writing my dissertation. This dog was 8 months old, pretty much perfectly well behaved and already housebroken BUT had far more energy than any of my previous fosters. I structured my dissertation writing around dog care, which basically gave me built in breaks. We would go on a 1-2 mile morning walk, then I'd work, then midday bathroom break, followed by more work, then a late afternoon/early evening dog park trip (followed by doughnuts for me!) and then back to work or to relax depending on the day. I didn't find it any more inconvenient, except that my dog park trips were 2 hours long... 

I will say that it structures your personal life in its own way. Back when I was dating, having a dog meant that impromptu sleepovers at someone else's house weren't an option for me. Even now, it forces me to think about when I teach (which is to say that I used to have a dog walker because I routinely had 6-7 hours of teaching/meetings on the same day). Happy hours after work can be difficult for me depending on when I left home. Obviously, all of this is easier if you have a doggie door and a dog that will use it but I've never had either of those things so I (or someone else) has to physically come home, put the dog on the leash, and walk them outside. 

I'm a dog lover but, it does change your life. I wouldn't get a dog during your first year, mostly because of the impacts on travel and social life. It's much, much easier to get a dog once you already have an established network of friends, ideas of who can watch your dog when you're out of town, etc.

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One super alternative to owning a dog that will make you money: walking/dogsitting on Rover or another app. You're not responsible for a dog 100% of the time, plus you get paid! I've found that some cities are easier to find dogsitting gigs, however (i.e. bigger cities with young professionals are more likely to have dog-owners using an app to find sitters).


(Edit: I've been creeping on this thread for a while, because you guys have some great ideas on getting through grad school! Please pardon the biologist intruding :D)

Edited by AllieKat

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