Tips for Parents
Missing the (Furry) Loved Ones
For some students, one of the hardest things about being away is missing their animals. From dogs and cats to horses and goats, our furry companions provide us with love, devotion, humor and friendship. It can be hard for students to fill that void while they are away from home.
What You Can Do
Recognizing the struggle your student may be facing means that you are validating her feelings. Just allowing her to talk about her feelings without feeling like they are dumb or strange will help her work through this aspect of being homesick. You can also keep your student in touch with her animals with the following ideas:
- Send a postcard or an e-card each week from the animal to your student. Head to www.smilebox.com for a free resource to create these cards and lots more including slideshows and scrapbooks that you can send online or through the mail.
- Facebook offers free applications called "Dogbook," "Catbook," "Horsebook" and even "Ferretbook" (plus others too). You can use these applications to create a profile for your favorite animal. Once you've created it, your "animal" can post messages, share photos, friend others and more. This is a great way for your student to stay in touch with her pet.
- If you are close enough and the animal is small enough, surprise your student with a visit. You may not be able to bring the animal into the residence hall, but outside on campus grounds or a local park could work.
- Start an online photo album and post new pictures of the animal each week so your student can see the latest and greatest.
- If the animal will cooperate, get a print of his paw (or hoof or foot) using washable paint. Put his name and the date on it. Then, frame it and send it to your student as a keepsake.
Missing one's animals can be tough on students ... especially if there aren't any on campus. Help fill the void with creative expressions of endearment from your animals to your student this year.
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