BPOC: I spent my student loan on a miniature schnauzer

The fluffy little idiot cost £450

national

Some students can’t afford to feed themselves, that’s what everyone has always said to me in the run up to university life. So there I was, heading into my second year and wondering, “why aren’t I broke yet?”.

Maybe it’s because I don’t go out anywhere near as often as my mates or maybe I can actually budget. (I really can’t, that’s a complete lie).

Ever heard the phrase: money burns a hole in your pocket?

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Well, mine burned right the way through and when I was back home in England for Christmas, it landed me in Stoke-on-Trent watching two little balls of fluff running towards me.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m that idiot student that decided to buy a dog. The worst part is I don’t even have a solid explanation as to why – I just wanted to.

I was smart enough to run it by my roommate first. And let me tell you, Lauren Owens is a gift from the heavens, a place they are evidently very tolerant. All she said to me was: “You look after it and it better not cast.”

So I bought a miniature schnauzer, who don’t cast and so far I’d like to say that I’ve been pretty good at looking after him. I’m going into my third year now, so he’s at least lasted the year.

I’m not advocating you buy a dog. It’s ridiculous, spend your money on booze and food and the occasional book like you’re supposed to. But I would also like to stress that in no way shape or form do I regret Alfie.

The first few months of having him were a novelty.

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Puppy patrol

It felt like every conversation I had was just waiting for the lead up of, “Look, I bought a dog!”. Not even a cheap dog either, I spent £450 on the fluffy little idiot.

Those first few months were hilarious, because Alfie was small enough that he could fit inside my jacket. And predictably, it was almost a game to see how many places we could get him into.

The Student’s Union was one of the best times because the woman in Clement’s thought he was a teddy bear until he moved. He’s also been to Tesco, Marks & Spencers, Boojum, Easons and one notable time, McDonalds. Notable because the woman behind the counter was terrified of dogs and she screamed.

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Alfie in formal wear

But now he’s grown up and fluctuates between looking like Disney’s Tramp or a weird skinny idiot with bald knees and stupid ears.

He has got a new role.

Have you ever been on the Ormeau Road near the Hatfield and the Rose and Crown and thought, what the hell is that barking? Oh, that’s just my dog thinking he’s the Bouncer of Belfast and trying to inform just about everyone that, “OhmygodIjustsawthepostman”.

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Got any ID?

So I took the logical approach, I bought him a security hoodie. Obviously.

Alfie isn’t a very good bouncer at our house parties though. He’s more of the “come on in and let me jump on you” sort of dog. I don’t know who enjoys parties more, me with my bottle of Schnapps or Alfie because he has more people to torment.

He is the world’s most sociable dog, but it does prompt the question of: Who are my friends here to see, me or the dog?

The downside of having a dog – because there are definitely downsides – is that Alfie really doesn’t care if you have a deadline, if you’re hungover or if it’s raining and cold outside. He still wants to go on a walk.

I did luck out though with my roommate, because she’s good enough to walk Alfie for me sometimes and play with him when I really can’t be bothered.

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So if you’re wanting a dog, make sure you have someone that’s a good human and will do those things. It makes life a lot easier.

The downside of the whole situation is I may walk him, feed him, pick up after him and generally do all the unpleasant tasks, but who is it that gets his undying adoration? Lauren.

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I may have the money, the time and the inclination for owning a dog but it’s not something I wouldn’t recommend doing it yourself. You’ll be forced to discover that there are two seven o’clocks in the day and not even get the proper appreciation for it.

I wouldn’t trade waking up to that face in the mornings though, not for anything.