I really (really really) want to buy a new puppy. I’m not sure what I want to get yet: either a royal corgi; a pedigree beagle; or a straight-up animal-shelter straat brakkie. Regardless of which one I end up choosing, doing research beforehand is pretty important, I’ve come to realise.
At first it may sound like a good idea to get a fluffy little puppy that will lick your face each afternoon when you get back home from work. What you may not realise is that there are many things you need to take into consideration before getting one of these cute little instant mood-lifters:
1. Are you really ready for a dog?
Raising a puppy takes an unexpected amount of work. You can’t just buy a doggie to keep you company. You need to train it, exercise it, give it attention, feed it, and more (it’s basically a hairy four-legged baby). If you get home from work in the afternoon, will you be too tired to give your puppy attention, or to take it for a walk?
Raising a dog is a lot like starting with part-time studies: you need to give it enough attention, while balancing it with your personal and work life. If you get home from work in the afternoon, will you have the dedication to sit down and start studying? (Suddenly playing with a puppy after a tiring day at the office doesn’t seem all that demanding).
At College SA, however, we want to make part-time studying as easy as possible. To us, part-time studying should allow you to balance your work life and your studies quite easily. Part-time studying at College SA means:
• You will have a dedicated tutor to help you wherever he or she can. Your tutor’s job will be to listen to your problems, to assist you with your course-related questions, and to see that you finish your course!
• You will be allowed optimal flexibility when it comes to the length of your studies. If you can’t cope with the workload, you can choose to extend your course for another month or two.
• You will have a limited number of free study breaks. If you are having a difficult time, you can take up to three months off from your studies.
2. What breed are you going to get?
Different breeds have different needs and personalities that should be taken into consideration. My sister-in-law studied veterinary science, so I just send her pictures of all the puppies I’m thinking of adopting, and she then gives me her expert (and often quite frank) opinion:
“No, you can’t get that breed, except if you are willing to go jogging with him every day.”
Or: “Are you sure? Those dogs are high maintenance and need a lot of grooming.”
Occasionally she’ll say: “These are perfect! They are medium-sized and aren’t too energetic, yet they are playful and friendly.”
Choosing a ‘breed’ also applies to taking the right course for your part-time studies. A great way to figure out what to take is to start with a College SA short course. Taking one of these in your field of interest will allow you to test the field before committing to a more demanding 2 or 3 year study programme. (You don’t have this luxury when choosing a puppy).
If you enjoy the short course, you will be able to go directly into a more advanced course. Some of our short courses will even allow you to move on to a full diploma programme if you decide to keep on studying.
3. Where are you going to buy your puppy?
It’s important to find a reliable seller, since there are too many instances of people buying falsely advertised or sick puppies without being aware of it. I’ve gotten a couple of sketchy e-mail replies from puppy owners (“Just transfer the money and then we will ‘courier’ your puppy to you. We promise!”). You need to make sure the puppy actually exists; is healthy, inoculated, and dewormed; and that it has the correct documentation.
Now, a distance learning course cannot be ‘inoculated’ and ‘dewormed’, nor does it have ‘breeder papers’. But you can research your college. Go take a look at our ‘About Us’ page, as well as our ‘Accreditation’ page, to find out exactly who and what we are.
At the end of the day, I’m still not sure what kind of puppy I should get. At least I know what to look for now. Likewise, if you want to take a part-time course, it is important that you know what to expect. If you want to find out more about part-time studying at College SA, simply give us a call on: 0800 21 23 22.