By Katherine Wright 

Every pet owner knows that one of the hardest parts of going to college is leaving your animals behind. They don’t understand why we left, when we’re returning and where we could possibly be. And they definitely don’t understand FaceTime. 

After spending the last six months or so quarantining at home, I got used to having my dog around. We went on walks almost every day to the same place, with her enthusiasm for the experience never subsiding. If I ever grabbed my car keys to leave the house, she tricked me into letting her come with me, manipulating me with her adorable tail-wagging and stuffed animal toys. 

It’s been a difficult transition to return to our normal routine, far away from the walks, games and sneaking-food-under-the-table situations. Every photo I receive of my dog laying in my room absolutely breaks my heart and leads me to Google: “how to cope with being away from your pets in college.” 

It definitely helps to think about the next time we will see our pets or to scroll through old photos. When my family sends me photos or videos of my dog, it’s simultaneously wonderful and sad, making me wish I could be there. 

My mom has sent me a few videos of the walk routine my dog and I went on during quarantine, so it’s helpful to know that she’s still thrilled about her daily laps in the same location. For dogs, taking routine walks must be like watching your favorite movie over and over again, where you notice new and exciting details with every re-watch. 

It also helps that Boston is filled with a ton of happy, well-trained city dogs. It’s almost guaranteed that you will run into a dog if you walk around outside for a few minutes. Some are so disciplined that they trot alongside their owner gracefully without a leash and instantly respond to being called. 

The pandemic might mean that we can’t pet other people’s dogs anymore, but it’s still so fun to see all the happy pets prancing along on the street.

It’s definitely difficult leaving your pets at home, especially after all those months where we were inside all day and spending constant time with them. In the meantime, however, talk about the struggle with friends who understand, ask your family members to send videos and think of all the excitement your dog will have for your well-traveled walking routes when you return to them.