I drove off early in the morning knowing he was standing at the gate, not understanding what was happening.
“I’ll be back soon,” I said while I gave him one last hug. “I promise.”
It’s always a heartbreaking experience to leave my dog while moving back to campus. However, the abundance of emotional support and service dogs at Pepperdine make up for the cuddles, nibbles and furry hugs I miss from home.
As I wrapped up my first day of classes and walked out of my last meeting of the day, I was lucky enough for my roommate to ask me to help walk one of the emotional support dogs living in Towers. I rushed to change into more comfortable clothes and dashed through the door with Kali, the white husky at my side.
Kali ran down the stairs tugging on her leash, eager to sniff every plant and blade of grass in sight. She frolicked down Lower Dorm Road, capturing the hearts of everyone around her. I could feel my body releasing endorphins, relieving the stress and exhaustion the first day of school brought.
As we passed through Mullin Town Square, smiling faces and stolen glances welcomed us. Groups of students gathered — asking to pet Kali as they left their Elkins class and made their way to dinner at the Caf. She soaked up all the attention, rolling over for belly rubs in the middle of the walkway.
We walked through Upper Dorm Road and back down Lower. The reflection of the sunset on the ocean created a picturesque view with Kali’s fluffy fur coat in my peripheral vision. Once Kali released all of her energy, we returned to Towers and I bid my goodbyes.
I returned to my dorm filled with joy, but also missed my dog Bruce more than ever. I scrolled through my phone, looking through the pictures and videos of him.
Even though I miss my dog, nothing brings more happiness to me than seeing all the dogs on campus. When I catch an elevator ride with one or stand behind another in line at Starbucks, I immediately forget about all my stressors and feel any tension in my body release.
Not only do the furry friends at Pepperdine bring happiness to community members, but the smiling faces of the students passing by proves that a lot of us have more in common than we might think. The floppy ears and wagging tails of Pepperdine’s popular pooches can brighten even the toughest days.
To all emotional support and service dogs, thank you for your service. Thank you for not only for assisting your owners, but for also sparking joy in all the dog-lovers you encounter.
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Contact Gabrielle Salgado via Twitter (@gxbrielleee7) or email: email@example.com