I have a fourth roommate now. She naps all the time, loves to cuddle and sometimes gets so excited when someone comes to the door that she urinates on the floor. No, she is not human. Polly the Golden Doodle has made a welcome addition to my house.
Living off-campus has its pros and cons. It’s a bit of a hike to get to class, and I have to deal with real-world “adult” issues like possible mold infestations (don’t worry — it was a false alarm) and the evil empire that is Verizon. But it has its benefits. One of them being that our landlord gave us the green-light to have my roommate Kate’s nine-year old dog live with us.
Polly might not live with us all year because Kate’s parents miss her a lot, so we are making the most of our time together. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to come home after a busy or stressful day to find a dog jumping on me. She’s always so excited to see us return. Looking around our house now, it feels like a real home. We now have a dog, a coffee table and a George Foreman grill — we’re basically a real family.
There is a science to how animals help us. It’s the reason Earl Gregg Swem Library brings dogs during the stressful finals season. Dogs’ unconditional love and affection make even the most stressful days feel better.
Polly is extremely well-behaved. Except for her nervous urinating, which has only happened twice, she is perfect. She loves it when I pet her, and if I deign to stop, she lifts of up a paw and nudges my hand. Polly is friendly with all houseguests and assists us as a vacuum cleaner.
Yet, it’s not just about having a fun, sweet companion. There is obviously a lot of responsibility that comes with having a dog. She needs to be walked, fed, brushed and all of the other things that come with taking care of a pet. We take this very seriously. Kate does the brunt of this work, but my other roommate and I love to help out in any way that we can. If Kate thought Polly was uncomfortable or unhappy being away from her parents, she would take her home immediately. But Polly loves college!
Because of all of this new responsibility, it feels like we’re transitioning into adulthood. Our home has made us deal with things that we never would have had to face if we still lived on campus. I hope that this transitory period will help me as I prepare to be a real adult next year.
Next week is Homecoming — one of my favorite times of year. The week after is Halloween, so it’s a very fun time of year right now. It’s also very busy academically, which means there is never a dull moment. Check back next time for stories on my last Homecoming as an undergrad.