Student Life

Missing your pet 101

It’s official: October is here and fall is in full swing. If you couldn’t tell from the leaves changing or all the sweaters around campus, that crisp autumn wind is a telltale sign. Somehow we’re already addicted to pumpkin spice and apple everything, and it’s only a little while before the Halloween decorations get put up. While we all start layering up and leaving our windows open at night for that fresh cool air, there’s a strong desire to avoid homework. So put on a classic fall favourite and curl up under some blankets next to someone whose ears pop out from under the blanket and gives you a big slobbery kiss on the cheek. Yep, welcome to missing-your-pet-101!

As a relatively diverse and international university, McGill attracts students from all over the world, who make the exciting journey to Montreal through planes, trains, and long automobile rides—trips that are hard for our furry friends. The reality is that most pets get left at home; even if they could journey to Montreal, uni-student life and city living space are often not conducive to pet ownership. This means we’re left missing our best friends, texting in our family group chats for pet pictures, and then getting upset when they’re too cute. 

For many students, one of the greatest losses of leaving their pets at home is the lack of a constant stress reliever. How can you relieve stress if you do not have that big dog hug, those purrs from that tabby, or the hiss of your (friendly) serpent on call?

Animals can be the best help when you’re overwhelmed as they offer a loving, non-judgemental companionship—something that is so often sorely lacking at university where everyone’s stress levels run high. Whether you’re missing your cat, dog, bunny, or lizard, don’t worry: Here are The Tribune’s tips for staving away the pet blues.

1. Attend a Student Wellness Hub Animal Therapy Session

Hosted every Monday and Thursday from 1-2:30 p.m. in the Brown Building, these therapy sessions are the perfect time to get some puppy love and de-stress while having snacks and conversations in a relaxing setting with other attendees.

2. Make friends with a neighbour who is a pet owner

Although having a pet as a student is hard, many other city residents have pets, which can work in your favour. Make friends with your neighbours and offer to pet sit when they’re away. Maybe you can make some cash while also satisfying the need for a little cat cuddle. 

3. Say hi to pets on the street

Sometimes all a day needs is a little hello from a dog or cat. Politely ask someone who’s walking their pet if you can give them a pat (try to hold yourself back from a whole-body hug—I know it’s hard). A little hello from a furry friend always leaves me smiling!

4. Volunteer at an animal shelter

If these activities aren’t enough for you, and you have some spare time in your schedule, consider volunteering at a nearby shelter such as the Montreal SPCA or Friends of Humane Society International where you’ll get to work with animals one-on-one for multiple hours. Helping an animal find a new home is always rewarding, but the hardest part will be not taking one home with you!

Although you can never stop missing your pets, I hope these tips will help you decompress a little and enjoy the fall. As schoolwork and other stresses accumulate, make sure to take the time to relax and maybe make some new furry friends!

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