The Most Difficult Part Of Leaving For College Isn't Leaving Friends And Family, It's Leaving Your Pets

The Most Difficult Part Of Leaving For College Isn't Leaving Friends And Family, It's Leaving Your Pets

There is no possible way I could express to them that I will return — that my time away from them is only temporary.

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This summer, I moved to the wide open spaces of Montana for college. Being a born-and-raised Californian woman who would rather spend hours cleaning my horse's stall than going to the beach, it has been a dream being in a place where I know I truly belong.

Although I love being here, moving so far away from home made me hesitant because of how emotionally difficult the move would be for my family and I.

Yet, I still have the comfort of my family knowing that I am going to come home eventually. However, both of my beloved pets, my horse, Boomer, and dog, Enzo, do not know when I will come home.

There is no possible way I could express to them that I will return — that my time away from them is only temporary. I think about them every day and miss them both with every bit of my aching heart.

Even as I write this, I feel that familiar, emotional lump in my throat. It hurts just thinking about my pets looking for me, wondering where I am, why I have been gone for so long and if I will ever come back. I wish I could tell them.

Yes, Boomer and Enzo look for me when I'm not there, and I can promise you that your pets look for you when you're not home. Our pets always look for us and always wonder when we will return.

When I pull in to the barn's driveway, I have the ability to see in to Boomer's pasture from there. When I step out of my vehicle, I will look to his pasture to find he is already staring at me expectantly and standing at the entrance gate of his pasture. Not only does it make walking over to him to put his halter on all the more easy, but seeing him patiently waiting warms my heart.

At my same barn, there is another woman who drives a truck that is very similar to mine. My trainer, who is there at the barn every day, has observed Boomer when I am not at the barn. She has told me how he will see the truck pull in and will watch it intently. When the woman steps out of the vehicle, he will presume munching on grass or bothering his pasture buddies with his toddler-like antics.

Even before my trainer told me Boomer recognizes my truck, I have always known that he watches for me. I will always feel a gaze on me when I am at the barn that never causes me to bristle or feel alarm. When I look around, I will find him watching me with a patience that can only be described as honest and kind.

Boomer August 25, 2016Photo Credit: Me

I have many more stories of my beloved horse that seems to identify more as a lap dog. I have always appreciated his innocent behaviors, but you never truly appreciate how the smallest of gestures can make you feel so happy and wanted until they're not around you anymore. This is such a cheesy and often repeated line that holds so much truth.

The same counts for my affectionate and terrifyingly genius border collie, Enzo. He spends most of his time doing "border patrol" and begging us to throw the frisbee just one more time. "Just one more time!" says Enzo, who is definitely lying and will ask us the same question over and over again. Then, he will look at us as if we have committed a grievous crime when we finally ask him to come back inside the house.

Enzo on July 4, 2018!Photo Credit: Me

"Border patrol" for Enzo, is when he excitedly searches our property line on all sides of our house to make sure nothing bad is in "his" territory. Enzo will do this any time he is outside, but especially at night before he is supposed to go to bed (key words: supposed to).

Knowing how protective Enzo is of my mom, dad, brother and I, I know he does this to protect us. It's just like when he bristles and stands in front of me when seeing a strange dog or person walking up to the both of us, barks at the door when there is someone there, and sits on my lap (he is 45 pounds) when someone he doesn't know tries to be near us on the couch. He wants to protect his family, and he watches out for all of us equally.

Just like with Boomer, I had always known that Enzo waits for us to return home whenever we're gone, but I didn't realize just how much he does until recently.

My brother, Josh, told me that a few weeks ago, my Mom couldn't find Enzo anywhere. She checked outside and throughout the house until she checked my room. She found him curled up underneath the covers of my bed with only his nose poking out of the duvet. Before I left for college, Enzo rarely slept in my bed, unless I asked him to.

Thinking about about my two lovely pets looking for me, and almost grieving that I have not returned yet, only makes me wish I could comfort them more.

I love my university and the town I plan to live in after I graduate, but hearing the stories about my beloved animals searching for me is almost enough to make me buy a plane ticket home.

However, no matter how much I miss my pets, I know they are both in safe hands. And after I graduate, I will be shipping Boomer up to Montana to live with me. I feel guilty for leaving them when I have been a constant for the entirety of both of their lives, but I know they are safe and are being loved.

Currently, Boomer is being used by my trainer as a lesson pony, taking care of young students learning to be equestrians. The students love to feed Boomer carrots and braid his mane and tail. He, of course, loves the attention.

Enzo is still being spoiled and loved by my family and friends back in California. He still loves to play frisbee and still lies when he says hes had enough frisbee time.

Boomer uses the hay hat to keep the aliens awayPhoto Credit: Me

Enzo with his pink frisbee!Photo credit: Me

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Confessions Of A Multi-Species Pet-A-Holic

THEY'RE ALL GOOD DOGS, BRENT!

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When I was a kid, my house was filled with animals. Whether it was the pets in our house, the animals in the zoo or the aquarium, or the local shelter.

I was obsessed, it was fairly (very) obvious from a young age. I had all kinds of fish growing up, raised frogs from when they were just little tadpoles, turtles, and, of course, dogs. Dogs were my favorite, although all kinds of animals have a special place in my heart.

Now, here I am, almost 22 years old and I already have three pets on my own. While I'm not trying to add any more pets into my family (right now at least — ask me again in six months), it is still so so so so hard not to get another animal.

For example, I was at a pet store and saw that the bunnies were on sale for $10, and they just looked so sad in their little cage and I know that they would be just so loved in my little home... and then my boyfriend took me away from them because he knew that I would actually get the bunnies, which would stretch my budget much thinner than it needed to be.

So, you could say I'm basically a shopaholic but for pets (and I'd much rather rescue).

My pets (Finn the dog, Kylo Ren the betta fish, and Anakin the hamster) are treated like my children, and they get everything they need and more. Especially because my mother is now the pet grandma she could ever want to be. All three are spoiled like none other and honestly deserve even more because of how wonderful they are. Anakin and Finn became close friends once Finn understood that Anakin was too small for him to play with. Kylo lives on his own and hides behind things like his emo namesake from Star Wars does with his mask.

Since I rescued my dog I followed many different pet rescue pages, and every time I see a new dog I feel the inevitable need to adopt them and give them the best life because they deserve so much more than the life they had lived. Seeing cats just makes me feel like I need to round out my group of animals with a cat, and when I see cats, sometimes we have a bond and it is just so very hard to walk away.

I love animals more than people (for the most part), and being a pet-a-holic keeps not only my life interesting but also the life of my family and friends a bit interesting as well.

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