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On Having a Cat

Frances A.S., M1

I grew up in a house with pets, so I knew early on that I would want a pet in medical school to help me feel at home and ease stress. Little did I know I would end up with two! A friend of mine was re-homing two cats that I ended up adopting before coming to St. Louis. It was fairly easy to find an apartment that was pet friendly and had plenty of space, and through the WashU roommate spreadsheet I was also able to find a roommate okay with pets (who has grown to love them as much as I do!). Even with having two cats, taking care of them is a pretty low-maintenance task. Cleaning their litter box and giving them food and water takes a maximum of 10 minutes per day, and I probably spend less than $60 a month on pet expenses. I can honestly say that having pets in med school has been great for my mental health. Though they sometimes hop up on my keyboard and try to chew my headphones, it’s so nice to have a cat to cuddle and distract you when you get stressed. I know several classmates who have gotten cats from local shelters since being in St. Louis who would echo that sentiment. Our class in general is also very pet friendly, so I know that if I ever need a pet sitter, my cats will be in good hands!

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Frankie’s two furry friends

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On Having a Dog

J.B. and Karlee D., M1

My dogs are a huge part of my life, so I really had no choice but to bring them with me when I came to St. Louis.  As I come from a fairly rural area with a lot of green, open running space, I wasn’t sure how caring for dogs in the city would compare — but as it turns out, we all love it here! Where I live, there are grassy patches along the streets right outside my apartment that I can use to take my dogs on quick potty breaks, or I can take them to Forest Park for longer, more scenic outings. People are always walking their dogs in this area, so there are plenty of opportunities to socialize your pets (or if your dog is on the shy side like mine are, there is more than enough space to keep to yourself as you walk). Not only is the general area great for dogs, but my apartment itself is also very dog-friendly, and the door attendant gives my dogs treats every time we pass by. Without a doubt, bringing my dogs here was the right decision, and I can always count on them to lift my spirits when classes get heavy!


J.B.’s dogs

Adopting a dog before medical school was by far the best decision I have ever made. While it is a lot of work to have a high-energy Australian Shepherd in an apartment building, Percy brings so much joy into my life. The secret to having a dog in medical school is efficiency. I take Percy running in Forest Park with my friends most mornings, so I get to catch up with friends, exercise, and tire out my dog simultaneously. On our evening walks, I sometimes do Anki.

Being from Washington State, I was a little nervous about what to do with Percy over the holidays, as he doesn’t do well on planes. When I flew home for Thanksgiving, a couple of my classmates staying in the St. Louis area were more than willing to watch him for me. Another one of my classmates volunteered to take him home for Christmas (I didn’t even have to ask). This speaks to the kindness and supportiveness of the WUSM community; Percy and I are both happy to be part of it!

Karlee D.

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Karlee’s pup, Percy, on the day she adopted him

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On Having an Exotic Pet

Sarah V.S., M1

After committing to WUSM, my boyfriend and I knew that we would have to find a way to fly our rabbits from California to St. Louis. Arthur and Judy have been in our lives for the past three years, and they have since become part of the family. Alaska and Frontier airlines made the experience a breeze, and apartment managers in St. Louis are amazingly receptive to all kinds of pets.

Aside from getting Judy and Arthur to Missouri, we were concerned about finding vets and other resources for our furry friends. To our surprise, St. Louis is home to one of the largest House Rabbit Societies in the United States. It is a fantastic place to volunteer, to meet other owners, and to turn to for help. They also offer boarding over breaks.


10/10 medical school pet – They use a litter box and are an overall adorable study distraction.