Jake Goes To Vet School


Many of you have met Jake, my wonderful German Shepherd-Golden Retriever mix, through my Instagram feed (on the right hand side of the page) and the hashtag #JakeGoesToVetSchool. After my acceptance to LMU-CVM, I started looking for pet-friendly housing so that Jake could accompany me to school. There’s been many studies on the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of having pets around, and several different studies on the positive effects that dogs have on students (especially medical students, who experience a similar stress load as vet students). I can honestly tell you that even though vet school is overwhelming, my stress levels overall are greatly decreased from my undergraduate years, and I believe much of this stress reduction has to do with having Jake to come home to.

IMG_1168Finding pet-friendly housing in the small town of Harrogate proved to be a challenge, but it was a task that I was willing to undertake in order to have my faithful companion at school. Some of my classmates, especially those with significant others, opted to purchase a house instead of renting. After discussion the benefits of renting and buying a house with my parents, I decided that renting was much more feasible. Plus, if there was major damage to the house from a natural disaster or an appliance broke, it would be my landlord’s responsibility to fix or replace it, not mine.

Jake reminds me that I need to take breaks when studying.
Jake reminds me that I need to take breaks when studying.

I had several requirements of an apartment or house; chiefly, a fenced-in backyard so Jake could stay outside sometimes during the day and I wouldn’t have to worry about him running off…and more importantly, the fence would keep out other neighborhood dogs and wild animals that could be dangerous. I also wanted a newer or remodeled house that would have a decreased chance of problems in the long run. One benefit of my current house is an ecothermostat–we can set the temperature to rise during the day when we’re at school and lower around the time we come home in the afternoon. This really helps us save money on our electrical bill each month; we typically only pay around $4 per day, where older houses with less insulation would cost more.

I also wanted a good landlord that would take care of problems promptly, especially if something critical like the water heater or air conditioner broke. I was able to meet tenants of my current landlord while looking at another one of his houses, and they were very positive about the way he handled problems since he had previously been a LMU-DCOM student and knew how hard it is to work around school schedules. Every time I communicated with him with questions from myself or my roommates, he promptly responded, which was a huge plus for me since I had some potential landlords who wouldn’t even return a call with an answer to a simple question.

Jake, my 55 pound lap dog!

I did a lot of research before house-hunting to make sure I didn’t end up in a house with black mold or leaky pipes. There’s a plethora of good resources out there; here are a few of my favorites. I also took lots of pictures that I could share with my roommates, who lived in South Carolina and Texas before moving to school; they depended on my judgment and pictures to make a decision. The pictures will also provide a reference when we move out as to the condition of the house when we move in, and that way we don’t get accidentally fined for damage that was already there.

There are several different websites that members of the community post houses and apartments for rent. LMU-DCOM’s Student Government Association (SGA) has an awesome website, DCOMDO.com, with a popular classified ad section; many of my classmates found their houses and apartments through these classifieds. LMU-CVM’s SGA is working on a similar site tailored to pet-friendly housing in the community so that future classes will have an easier time with their house hunt.

Jake participated in the first Anatomy Palpation lab.
Jake participated in the first Anatomy Palpation lab.

One of the unexpected benefits of having Jake at school is that he gets to participate in anatomy palpation labs and clinical skills labs. LMU-CVM is incredibly hands-on; they want us comfortable with palpating and examining animals from week one. Muscles are harder to distinguish on a live dog than a cadaver because of the additional skin and the added component of a dog moving around. We get to practice on dogs in and out of lab, which also helps us learn how to approach dogs that may be more timid or shy. He also gets to socialize with other dogs owned by my classmates, which is always fun to watch.

I love having Jake at school. He cuddles with me when I’m stressed and is my second alarm clock in the morning–he hears my alarm go off, and he’s nosing at my arm to tell me it’s time to get up. Do you have questions about finding pet-friendly housing or bringing your pet to school? Leave a message in the comments or send me an email!


Posted on October 1, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Dogs are a man’s (and also a woman’s) best friend. I had a daughter who stole one of our dogs when she went off to school. I had to replace him with a yellow lab.

  2. Chelsea Bailey

    I can’t wait to meet butter biscuit and hug jake!!!!

  3. You’re going to have to get a better butter dog.

  1. Pingback: The Test of Time | From The Horse's Mouth

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