Woman's Best Friend

by: Sarah Shoen

I never pegged myself as the type to have a pet in college. I always thought it would be too much work and too big of an inconvenience. That idea changed quite a bit when my roommate and I decided to “just look around” the humane society on a Saturday afternoon.

    Walking into the humane society was a bittersweet feeling. The atmosphere felt exciting and happy because I was around so many animals. However, the sense of sadness also loomed because all the animals were either abandoned or strays. That’s not such a happy thought. As we browsed around the cats and puppies, I realized I could never have a puppy. If I had a puppy, I would probably sleep less than I do now. Plus I would have to buy dog food. After fawning over the cute little terriers and playing with pitbulls, we decided to call it a day and head home. As we started to walk out, I saw a sign that read “Adult Dogs.” An adult dog. Now there’s a concept. I guess I had never thought about how older dogs end up at the humane society too.

    “Let’s just look.”

    As we walked into the room with older dogs, the mood seemed to change. These quiet, generally docile dogs were clearly those who had been left by their former families. I couldn’t help but wonder why someone would abandon these eight and nine-year-old dogs. We probably looked at about seven cages before we walked by Gabe’s cage. Gabe was the kind of dog that just caught your eye the second you saw him. He was much more striking than most of the other dogs we had seen. His shiny fur and loving face made it impossible to pass him by. We immediately went to the nearest volunteer and asked if we could have some time to visit with him.

    His border collie side, mixed with an unknown other breed, made him the perfect size and temperament. His sweet, scrunched face combined with his lion-like mane around his neck gave him a sweet but strong look. Once he started to warm up to us, we knew we were in trouble. My roommate and I signed his papers not even 20 minutes later.

    Deciding to bring Gabe home that day was one of the best decisions I’ve made in college. For those of you who do not have a dog, the idea of one might be a little threatening. I myself had a dog growing up, so it was a little weird not having one anymore once I moved out. When we brought Gabe back to our house, it was like the entire house felt more complete. Everyone seemed more centered and home-oriented once Gabe became part of our family. When my roommates and I come home at the end of the day, we have something else to focus on other than ourselves. We now get to be responsible for something other than our tasks and schoolwork.

    Studies have shown the relaxing effects dogs can have on college students. The stress of college can be all too real. For me, coming home to my dog at the end of a bad day is one of the greatest things in the world.  There’s something very unique about coming home to a dog and not a human. Sometimes, you just need to sit and think about nothing. There are days I don’t want to talk to anyone, but having a dog gives me the option to be around someone without having to talk or make conversation. A dog is someone who would never judge me for the stupid mistake I made that day. A dog is a cuddle buddy with no strings attached. A dog the ultimate non-boyfriend for the girl who just wants someone to sit on the couch with them.

    For those of you reading this who already have dogs, you know the joys it brings. Those of you who don’t, think about it. And especially think about adopting a dog who lost his/her home. My dog might be one of the best friends I’ve made in college.

© 2016 Insight Magazine