Don’t be ashamed of missing your pet



Confession: I’m obsessed with my pet.

Our family dog, Max, is a 9-year-old Miniature Schnauzer who doesn’t know how to play fetch, who runs across the house at the slightest crinkle of a chip bag and takes up entirely too much room for a 26 pound animal.

Every time I go to visit my parents, I usually tell people that I’m going home to hang out with my dog.

If you have a pet, it isn’t unusual to gush about them to other people, pet owners or not. Other pet owners will talk about their cats or dogs while non-owners couldn’t care less. Sometimes you can even see their eyes gloss over.

For people who didn’t grow up with pets, the slightly insane attention that we give our pets can seem ridiculous; I have a cousin who won’t go into a bar unless they let her bring her dog. But much like being a parent, or so I’ve been told, it’s something you can’t understand without actually having one. Even if your pet isn’t furry, having something like a goldfish or a bird can make a world of difference in your life.

One of my friends me that she didn’t think she could leave her pet at home when she went back to school, and I understand that feeling all too well.

It’s hard to leave your pet behind when you head off to college. Pets are there when you’re sad or lonely, when you’re happy and all up in your grill when you’re trying to get something done.

My freshman year in the halls, I knew a girl who had a rat and a sugar glider. As a resident advisor I saw two cats and two rabbits make their way into the confines of the Blanding/Kirwin complex.

And I’m going to come clean — I did not immediately report those animals because I wanted to cuddle them.

I might not have been the greatest RA in the sense of policy, but as the person you could open up to, I think I did a pretty good job. The students who brought in these animals were lonely, which is easy to understand on a college campus where it can be hard to find a group of friends among thousands of people.

Service dogs often make their way to people with mental illness because they can help a person cope with anxiety, depression and PTSD.

So the next time your cat-loving friend starts talking about going home for the weekend to see their cat just nod and smile, and the next time you’re feeling down, ask your parents to send you a picture of the pet you left behind.