My lovely Corgi-Dachshund mix, Tucker.
It’s common to be excited about studying abroad, but one thing you might forget to account for is leaving behind your beloved fur baby. I know I did and, if I’m being brutally honest, sometimes I missed my dog more than my family! (Sorry mom). I decided to share my tips and advice for dealing with separation anxiety for your best bud back home — or at the very least, make coping a little bit easier during your time abroad.
Take some pictures with you, create a new folder in your phone, or have your family send some to you over Wi-Fi! Whether you’re about to go to bed or you want to show all your new study abroad friends what you’re missing, having pictures will make all the difference. And seeing that cute little face can make your day a little easier.
Although there is debate on whether or not your pet can actually see you on video chats or not, being able to see and speak to them in real-time is so, so worth it! I can’t tell you the number of times my host family probably thought I was a little crazy, talking in a puppy-voice trying to get my dog’s attention. But it was so nice to see him react to my voice and watch him wag his tail!
3. Look into volunteering at a shelter
I wish I had thoroughly researched my options while I was studying abroad in Costa Rica, because I might have learned about the “Land of Strays” and been able to visit. It’s a free range shelter that could have 900 stray dogs living there at one time. If there isn’t a huge paradise like this, maybe look into volunteering at local animal shelters in your area or visiting with neighbors who have pets. Anything that could give you the kind of animal love you’re missing. There wasn’t a shelter close to me, but luckily my host family had a small chihuahua named Loto, who loved having his head rubbed. Volunteering can boost not only your study abroad experience and emotional state, but your resume, too!
4. Buy them a Souvenir
Okay, so this one might be a little extra, but I bought souvenirs for my friends and family, so why not my furry BFF back home? It could be as simple as a dog treat, or as extravagant as a handmade blanket. It depends on how much your willing to spend and what you think would make your pet happy.
Hopefully these tips help you cope with being away from your pet while studying abroad! I loved my time in Costa Rica, but being away from my pet was tough. However, when I think about the opportunities I had that I couldn’t have done with him by my side, I wouldn’t change my decision to go abroad. And the bonus at the end is: You’ll both find a new sense of appreciation for one another, and probably be met with lots of snuggles and kisses to boot!
Do you have another tips or advice for how to cope with being away from your pets at home? Let us know in the comments below or tag us @studyabroadUSAC on social media!