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On Having a Cat

Zahra D., M1

I grew up with a variety of pets and spent a lot of time volunteering at local pet shelters in high school and during my gap years. When I decided to commit to WashU School of Medicine and do the cross-country trip from New Jersey to St. Louis, I also had in mind that it was time to get a pet of my own. As much as I love dogs, I knew I wasn’t ready to commit to the dedication it takes to care for a dog in my first year of med school. When I finally settled in in St. Louis, I decided to adopt a cat from a St. Louis shelter instead. I spent a lot of time browsing through cute cat profiles and interviewing foster parents before I decided on adopting a sweet, chatty, 5-year-old tortie named Cinnamon. She has been with me since Day 1 of medical school, and honestly I couldn’t ask for a better study partner! I love playing and relaxing with her after a long day of lectures or research too. It is also easy to find pet sitters if I’m out of town, etc. especially within the med school class and the WashU community since a lot of people have pets. My cat has been a beam of joy in my life, especially throughout a lot of virtual school and activities during the pandemic.

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On Having a Dog

Karlee D., M2

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 WashU School of Medicine community; Percy and I are both happy to be part of it!

Karlee’s pup, Percy, on the day she adopted him
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On Having an Exotic Pet

Savannah S., M1

Having a rabbit in medical school is fantastic (as is every other aspect of owning a rabbit). Bad day? Rabbit. Great day? Rabbit. Any day? Rabbit. Many do not know that rabbits can be litter box trained, love having space to free-roam, and can be very affectionate. I have two bun babies running around my apartment: Ohana and Gobi. If you ever need some bunny therapy, feel free to reach out to me or your nearest medical student bun parent. We are always happy to show off our perfect pets.