Leave the Pet Behind

When it comes time to start preparing to go away to college, included in what you will want to bring are some special things that will remind you of home and make you feel more comfortable when you are miles away from family and friends.  As you are packing, the temptation to bring along your dog or cat might enter your mind, because what better source of comfort to have around when you are missing home.  However, a small college dorm room and your busy schedule would not be the best arrangement for your buddy.  Then of course there are the dorm rules, one of which will undoubtedly say – No Pets Allowed. 

So what do you do when you are at college, really missing having your dog curled up on the end of your bed at night or your cat stretched out on your desk while doing homework?  Now starts the what if questions. Some students are tempted to adopt a kitten, feeling they can keep it hidden – at least for a while.  But the additional roommate is usually discovered and then there is the question of what to do with it.  Unfortunately, in this situation it is not uncommon for students to make the decision to just turn the kitten loose on campus.  They rationalize that people, including themselves, will feel sorry for the now homeless cat and bring it food from the cafeteria, or there are always the dumpsters, plus mice or birds to catch.  In most instances these cats are not spayed or neutered, so what is one cat now, multiplies into one litter after another.  On some college campuses the stray cat problem gets so out of hand they have exterminator companies trap and euthanize the cats - a tragedy that should not have to happen.

Thankfully, more college dorms now have a resident dog or cat.  There are even sign-up sheets to have the four legged furry friend in your room for a sleep over.   You can also sign out the dog to take them to the park or on an early morning jog.  If you are still not getting enough of an animal fix, then you may want to consider volunteering at a local animal shelter.  Spending an afternoon giving dogs a bath or playing with a litter of kittens will definitely put a smile on your face and the animals will enjoy the added attention.  If you chose to help with adoptions this will provide the gratification of seeing another animal get the forever home they deserve.  And who knows, you may just find you like working with animals in a shelter environment and make a career change or finally make the decision of what you want to be when you grow up.  The rewards of working in the animal welfare movement can be endless.

When the day arrives to head off to college, remember – instead of packing your four legged buddy be sure you have lots of photos of them to look at when you are away.  And, when you return home for breaks or at the end of the school year you will have a wonderful reunion to look forward to, complete with juicy kisses and lots of tail wagging.

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