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Dogs: A College Essential

Campus | October 26, 2009

Bed sheets? Check. Laptop? Check. Textbooks? Check. Kanye album? Check. Thirty rack? No comment. Almost any college kid can fill out the rest of this list, but an essential part is missing: a dog! Nothing fits quite so perfectly into college life as a dog. Everyone knows the saying that dogs are “man’s best friend.” Dogs are the super pet: they make everyone happy, give neverending love, make you more responsible, save you from the freshman 15, act as your ultimate wingman, hang out with you whenever you want, and act as a loyal best friend. Did I mention neverending love? Barring allergies, there’s no excuse not to have some sort of contact with dogs.

At this point I’ll admit I’m a dog lover: when I see dogs my mood immediately shoots up and my day is made better. Something about the unconditional love that dogs give people and their need to please us results in one of the most heart-warming bonds imaginable. Petting or hugging a dog is great for relaxing, and you can do it while watching TV, talking on the phone, indulging in your thirty rack, or whatever else you can imagine. More importantly, your dog will never tell you it’s too busy to cuddle, and you’ll always be right when the two of you argue. Your dog is the most loyal friend you’ll ever have, and it’s life revolves around you. No one can love you as unconditionally as your dog: they’ll be there for you every single day.

Even if you have a heart of ice, you can always turn to dogs for your answer to the freshman 15 (that extends to sophomore, junior, and senior years too). Your dog needs to get out of the house on a daily basis and loves the long walks sure to keep you in shape. If only to avoid being driven crazy by the dog jumping on you and chewing on everything in sight, you’ll bring your canine companion around Medford and Somerville, simultaneously working off last night’s Natty Light and Pizza Days.

When you walk your dog on a college campus, brace yourself for all the girls (or guys) who desperately flock to your dog and tell you how much they miss their own dogs back home: your dog will be a better wingman than any of your buddies. While your dog is enjoying all the attention, you’re free to chat up cuties, and you start off with automatic bonus points courtesy of your dog. It’s amazing how much smoother you become while walking your dog. Plus, when your daily walks have helped you lose the beer belly, you’ll be feeling good and looking good.

As if there weren’t enough advantages already, your dog’s needs will force you to become more responsible. Dog owners can’t really procrastinate. Saying “I’ll feed the dog tomorrow” doesn’t quite cut it. You need to walk your dog every day (or convince some poor dog-less sucker to do it for you), feed your dog twice a day, and reciprocate some of your dogs love with quality time together. Don’t worry, your dog will remind you of these requirements by following you around and harassing you until you fulfill your end of the bargain, so it’s harder to shirk your responsibilities than you think. Hopefully, this responsibility will carry over into other areas of your life, possibly even saving you from sleeping through your nine a.m. bio class because your new best friend will wake you up at eight for a walk.

For some of us, caring for a dog may take up too much time or cost too much money. And, yes, they’re not allowed in dorms. But who says that should stop you from enjoying quality time with a dog? Anyone who ventures down to Fletcher field in the late afternoon will see the puppy pile of dog love, and the owners who socialize while their dogs play are more than happy to let you hang out with their pets. Not enough? Sign up to be a dog walker with the Leonard Carmichael Society and get to know local dogs while exercising on your own schedule. While your own dog may exist only in your dreams, you can still spend time with dogs, sans huge commitment.

There you have it. Why not a cat, bird, or some other pet? The short answer is: they’re not dogs. Dogs are the only animal so in tune with people’s needs that they spend most of their time trying to please us. If you don’t believe me, you clearly haven’t spent enough time with dogs, and I suggest immediately finding the closest one to bond with.