For those of you who may be leaving for college, we have all read advisory articles on how to cope with leaving the city you grew up in, your family and your friends. But, where’s the advice for leaving behind your furry friends?

I have a dog and let me tell you, she will be one of the hardest loved ones to leave behind. Even if you are super tight with your parents, you’re lying if you say that you aren’t at least a little happy to have some space and independence. As far as your friends go, there’s FaceTime for keeping up with your buddies. Right about now you may be thinking: “Lauren, you can’t FaceTime your dog?”

I mean you could try, but chances are good ol’ Buiscuit doesn’t know what’s going on. So, how do you cope with leaving behind your pets? Riddle me that.

And I would like to tell you that you are right. It’s ruff – especially as an only child, my dog holds the equivalent emotional value of a sibling in my heart.

When I leave for college, I really wouldn’t want her to think I’m abandoning her. Also, I don’t know if you have seen those videos where someone holds up a blanket and then hides behind a wall or something to trick their dog into thinking the disappeared, but those dogs’ reactions do not help me feel better about leaving my dog.

As a result, here’s some tips to deal with it:

  1. Well, if you feel sad about leaving your pet, that’s actually kind of good. It’s a sign that your pet and you probably have a good relationship. So, in a weird way, that’s a plus.
  2. Just keep in mind that your pet still has the company of your parents, or other loved ones, so he or she is in good hands.
  3. Keep a picture of Scruffy handy – whether its digital or hanging above your dorm bed.
  4. Most colleges aren’t typically cool with you having a pet in the dorm unless it is a non-flesh eating fish, so perhaps invest in a couple of those. Although they are no replacement, they’re still fun to have as a little buddy. (Be sure to double check those dorm policies though!)
  5. Try to make peace with the idea that time away from your furry friends means they will be all the more excited when you return home on breaks.


As you might have picked up on by now, there’s no one magical way to fill that little paw-sized whole in your heart when you go off to college. However, dwelling on it certainly doesn’t help. And, honestly, you will probably be too busy to take care of a living thing that requires more care than a fish or a plant.

As a result, use your new time away from home to focus on yourself and your goals. College is an exciting time for you to learn about yourself and how you handle living on your own – even if you have a roomie.

However, whenever you start to miss your dog, make an effort to call home. Touching base with your family and talking about something as small as your pet’s well-being can cure even the toughest homesickness.