Leaving your pet behind
By Noelle Zimmerman, Contributing Writer
When someone says “leaving for college,” everyone usually has the same picture in mind: the car is packed and ready to go, and a teenager is crying and saying goodbye to their friends and family members. However, pet owners have a slightly different image in mind. Saying goodbye to a pet is one of the most difficult things a person must do. Yes, saying bye to friends and family is hard, but at least they know that it is really a “see you later,” and they will see you in a few months.
This brings us to the first reason why saying “see you later” to your pet is so hard. In case you were unaware, most pets do not know what college is. How will my dog know that I am going to see her in a few months? How can I tell her that I am (hopefully) not dying? Trust me, I have tried explaining this to her. I spent about 20 minutes telling her that “I am going to college,” but she stood up and walked away. I even attempted to teach her a complicated system of communication where, whenever I am away from home for more than a night, I tap my finger on the ground for each day I will be gone. She did not seem to understand. At this point, we must accept that there is no way of explaining college to our pets.
Which leads us to the next reason why it is so hard: our pets will spend at least a few weeks thinking that we might come home at any minute. Do not be alarmed by that noise; it was just your heart breaking. The list of reasons goes on and on. Who will play with your pet? Who will entertain them? Will they forget about you? Worse yet, will they find a new best friend who they love more than you?
Those last few things probably will not happen, but unfortunately, everything else is still unbelievably sad. Luckily, there are a few small things you can do to make the situation slightly better for your four-legged, two-legged, eight-legged (God bless) or no-legged friend. If your pet uses their sense of smell quite frequently (dogs, cats, not quite sure what else), leave something that has your scent somewhere in your house for them to smell. For example, I will be leaving my pillowcase near my dog, Lola. This is probably the most effective thing you could do. If your pet has a crate or a bowl, you can leave a photo of the two of you right outside of it. Who knows? Maybe one day they will realize what it is.
The best thing you can do is show your pet how much you love them because, while they may not be your whole life, you are definitely theirs. Get excited for the epic and heartfelt reunion that you will be having in just four short months!