If you saw me two weeks ago on campus at Villanova, you may have also seen my dog, Violet. A yellow lab, almost two years of age, dragging me around right and left as she eagerly stopped to meet a new face every minute or so. I had been begging my mom to bring her to campus for weeks, and she finally obliged on a Tuesday morning in late September.
While we were only a few days past the Autumnal Equinox, it may as well have been the middle of July. We took a nice walk to enjoy the weather, stopping here and there in the shade or on the grass. The sun beat down in its 78-degree heat, made obvious by the aggressive panting coming from Violet and the obscene amount of drool dripping down from her tongue. Nevertheless, happiness was inevitable, for me, for my mom, and of course for Vi.
And shockingly enough, for everyone else who encountered me that day, too.
"You seem to have a lot of friends, Annie," my mom noted at least three times.
She was referring to the absurd amount of people who confidently walked up to me, said hello, and asked if they could say hi to Vi. Walking around the Oreo, past the Connelly Center, and sitting on the Quad, people seemed to come from every direction. The truth was, I had never met at least 85% of the people who did that. I'm normally not very good with strangers; in fact, I'm all about the "pretending to be busy on your phone in order to avoid eye contact" strategy. I do that quite often. But on that day, what would have normally been an awkward smile at the very best turned into an unexpected but wonderful meeting of a lot of new people. And why? Because I had a puppy, of course.
A dog on campus made everyone more friendly, and I felt a happiness in the air that put a smile on my face. Many people even told me that meeting Vi made their day. There's something about the unconditional love and care of a dog that makes everyone feel good about themselves and about the world.
Meeting Violet is a prime example. She is always happy to see a new face, and she wants to meet everyone she sees. It's easy to feel down around midterms. Fall break is approaching, but in slow motion it seems. You're overwhelmed, tired, maybe even a little homesick. And somehow, a dog's love on campus can give you a piece of home.