Being in vet school without a pet definitely puts you in the minority. I’m one of a handful of people in my class (and my whole school really) who does not own a pet and is not fostering one. I’ll have to say, it’s getting increasingly difficult to keep it that way.
Not having a pet is equal parts choice and circumstance. On the one hand, I choose to, because I live in an apartment and know I want a medium- to large-breed dog. My apartment is comfortable enough for me, but I feel a pet should be able to run free rather than be restricted. I thought about adopting guinea pigs at the beginning of the school year, but as it turns out owning a rodent of any kind goes against my lease terms. Additionally, if I get a pet in school, I would not be able to take it home with me. I’m sure I’ve described in previous posts that as a child I was never allowed to own an animal that couldn’t live in a cage or under water. That sentiment is still very much true today.
Logic seems to dictate waiting for a pet, but admittedly, this is becoming increasingly difficult as I continue my veterinary career. One case that particularly pulled at my heartstrings was one of the surgery dogs to which my group was assigned. I think in her I had my first moment of true bonding with a dog. She was a female lab mix that we thought was approximately 10 months old, and she had one of the best personalities of any dog I’ve come across during vet school. While I could always relate to how people felt about their dogs and cats (although I only ever had hamsters), I could directly connect with how special the human-animal bond is in this dog. And it was a moment I doubt I’ll forget.
For now, I’ll stay pet-less in vet school. But I look forward to the day when I can give a dog or cat a forever home!