How to Cope with Losing a Pet While in College

Saying goodbye to your childhood pet when you move to college is hard enough. What happens when you’re not there when they take their last breath? Finding out that your best friend and life-long companion has passed away can make you want to isolate yourself from everyone and cry in your room forever. Last week I found out that my beautiful dog Sheba died after providing my family love and cuddles for 15 years. I saw the text from my dad right after class and had to hold back tears the entire walk back to my dorm. Sheba was small, white, and extra fluffy with an amazing level of emotional intelligence. She could sense whenever you were sad and would come and comfort you, but also sensed anger and knew when to steer clear. I knew her time was coming to a close; she had since lost her hearing and sense of smell and was almost entirely blind. But having to hear the news of her death was still heart-breaking. It’s been a few days, and I am okay. Here are a few things that helped me cope with this loss:

  1. Looking at pictures of her. My roommate and I sat in my bed for an hour, scrolling through my camera roll and laughing at her different haircuts and funny faces. Reminiscing on all the good times we had made me appreciate the 15 years we spent together, and nothing can ever take that away.
  2. Talking to my family. Only my family will ever truly understand the love we had for Sheba, and the love she had for us. It helped me a lot to check in with my siblings and see how they were doing. I felt like I had a support system, even though I am on campus and far from them.
  3. Realizing that this was probably for the best. No one lives forever, and death is just as natural as birth. Sheba lived a long and fulfilling life, but her time on this earth was up. She went without pain and died peacefully in the home she had lived in for 15 years.