This is my PhD Pet Aspen! She helps me manage my depression, anxiety, and the pressures of grad school because I know that she's relying on me to take care of her, and that makes me want to take care of myself, too.
Aspen is a 3-year-old husky pitbull mix who my partner and I adopted from someone who couldn't handle her energy, and tbh they had a point. We got her at the beginning of my second year of grad school, while I was writing my qualifying exam and moving apartments (12/10 do not recommend getting a dog while doing either of those things).
She would bite us on the arms CONSTANTLY and needed to run on average 8 miles a day or she would eat everything in our house (sometimes she still did anyway). She ate a couch, a pair of AirPods, 2 pairs of leather hiking boots, and our coffee table, just to name a few of the more expensive items. She's lucky she's so cute! But somehow, we survived my qual with a brand new, bitey dog, worked with her for a LONG time on training, and figured out how to beat manage her energy. Now she's the best dog! She snuggles in the bed every night, is a great off-leash hiking buddy, and never leaves my side.
She knows when I'm having a rough time and literally lays on top of me like a canine weighted blanket. And she teaches me not to take myself or life too seriously by singing loudly (husky owners know) or rolling on her back in the grass.
In summary, would recommend a dog as a grad school survival buddy, as long as you don't get her during your qual.
Thank you to Aspen's human, Kasey Skinner, for sharing this lovely PhD Pet! Follow Kasey on Instagram and Twitter at @k_skinz