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There's no doubt that law school is stressful and that pets are great for reducing stress. It would seem that the two are a perfect pair.
However, pets require a certain level of attention and care that might be too much for some law students. Depending on the pet and the law student's living situation, it can be really beneficial or an additional stressor, especially if the pet is not suited to the environment, or solely dependent on the law student for care and attention.
Below you'll find three very important questions to ask yourself when deciding to get a pet while you're in law school.
Do You Have Reasonable Accommodations for a Pet?
If you're considering getting a pet of any kind, you need to have a good environment for them, and your landlord needs to allow pets. Luckily, for cats, you don't need much space for one to roam so long as there's a window sill big enough (for a cat) to lay in, and places to jump around. For Dogs, you need much more space, and even more space depending on the size of the dog. Additionally, having a yard, or enclosed outdoor space, will make your life much happier, along with your dog's bladder.
Do You Have Time (or Help) for a Pet?
Even cats require a bit of time from their humans. Dogs tend to require a lot of time and attention. Fortunately, much of the time and attention required by pets tend to all be very beneficial for their owners, with the exception of poop scooping. Dog owners must be on a more disciplined sleep schedule in order to let the dog out at night and in the morning, and when the dog gets a walk, so do the owners. Walking may not be the best exercise, but it's better than no exercise, and it gets you outside for some fresh air. Also, feeding pets on regular schedules is important, and doing so can serve as a reminder for yourself to eat regularly, and more healthily.
Another big time consuming activity is training baby pets like puppies and kittens, as well as cleaning up after them. If you adopt an older pet that is already trained, you won't need to devote as much time to training. Also, having roommates that aren't in law school, or family, that can help you train and take care of your pet when you're out for long periods of time can be immensely helpful. If you don't have help, you might want to consider getting a cat, as keeping up the regular schedule for a dog while prepping for exams could be overwhelming.
Can You Afford It?
Typically, the cost of pet ownership adds up to at least a few hundred dollars or more a year if you bargain shop for food and basic health care. For more complex and serious health problems the cost of care can quickly get into the thousands. If you're living off law school loans, you can probably afford the basics for a dog or cat, but if something serious came up, that could result in a serious financial dilemma for you.