Thanksgiving break provides opportunity for students to reunite with pets

Dani Chadbourne, senior in family studies and human service and Purple Paws volunteer embraces Chloe, an Australian shepherd mix during Purple Paws during Pet Away Stress with Counseling Services on March 9, 2016. (File Photo by Emily Starkey | The Collegian)

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many Kansas State students are filled with joy as they make their way home to see their families and beloved pets.

Many people look forward to school breaks to catch up with family and friends who have been away at other schools, but what about those four-legged family members who’ve waited weeks upon weeks for their best friend to come home? Greeted by tail wags and slobbery kisses, soft furry cuddles and sandpaper tongues, family pets all over the world will be happily reunited with their loved ones.

“Having and raising animals is a family affair, so caring for them on a daily basis brings my family closer together,” Sarah Krehbiel, senior in agricultural communications and journalism, said. “We have to care for them 365 days a year, even on the holidays.”

Krehbiel said her family has two indoor cats, two dogs and various farm animals, including goats, pigs, cattle and horses.

“I go home every weekend, so I get to see them every weekend, but I wish I could have my goats with me at school,” Krehbiel said. “I love my goats.”

Molly Ross, senior in mechanical engineering, said she will get to see her dog again.

“I have a dog named Roosevelt,” Ross said. “We grew very close while I was in middle school and high school, but now I only see him every two to three months.”

Ross said Roosevelt almost never leaves her side from the time she gets home until she has to leave again.

“My favorite part about going home is seeing him, especially the first 10 or 15 minutes,” Ross said. “He always wags his tail so hard that his body moves, and then he goes to get his favorite toy and brings it to me.”

Ross plans on running with Roosevelt every day over break and cuddling with him.

“I have three dogs, a lot of barn cats, some cows and show cattle,” Samantha Albers, junior in agricultural communications and journalism, said. “I only see them twice every three or four months because I don’t go home very often.”

Albers said she misses her dogs, Max and Holly, and her cattle, Molly and Maddie.

“I miss being able to pet and cuddle them whenever,” Albers said. “Over break I plan on feeding them, grooming them, playing with them, petting them and loving them.”

For Krehbiel, there is more to taking care of a pet than playing and feeding.

“As silly as it sounds, I talk to my animals,” Krehbiel said. “I feed and care for them every day while I’m home and when I’m not there I miss talking to them, feeding them and caring for them.”

Ross said she would not make Roosevelt move to Manhattan with her.

“I wish that I could have him in Manhattan, but I am almost never home and it’s not fair to him to be cooped up in the house all day just so that I can be with him at night,” Ross said.

Karissa Severud, senior in animal sciences and industry, said pets have taught her much in life.

“Living with pets all my life has taught me how to love unconditionally, to be responsible and weirdly to time-manage,” Severud said.

Those life lessons have also been passed to others in the family, Severud said.

“Having animals has brought my family closer and helped teach the younger kids life lessons that can be difficult to teach,” Severud said. “It has helped to open the eyes of my family to the importance of dogs and pets in general.”

While pets brought Severud’s family closer, Albers said she sometimes misses her pets more than her family.

“Sometimes I miss my pets while I’m at school more than I do my family,” Albers said. “I am able to constantly be in contact with my family, but my pets I can only interact with when I go home.”