Leaving Your Pets For College

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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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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The Old Oak Tree

A short poem about returning to one's childhood home.

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Looming over the burned-out house is an oak tree,

Hundreds of years old at least.

The smell of smoke is gone, but skeleton of the house remains,

A mere speck when compared to the tree.

Whose branches reach out to me like hands,

Begging for me to come closer.

I do.

I sit under the tree like I did when I was young.

The ground is damp from the rain,

I feel the sogginess soaking through my jeans.

I remain.

It is cooler under the branches,

A limitless amount of leaves shades me from the daylight.

I stay there. All day.

Staring at the charred remains of my childhood home.

I stay there until fog begins to form in the crisp night air,

Cold and sharp against my cheeks.

No longer able to withstand the cold, I take my leave looking back once more.

It's nice to know that even when I'm gone,

The old oak tree remains.

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