Home After College: A Hero's WelcomePublished June 7, 2011
Moving home: it’s what every recent college graduate fears. And for me? Well, for me it’s a reality. Despite the excitement of being reunited with my family, I’m not looking forward to an extended stay. How long will I be stranded? Will I ever escape the nest?
Before I even open the door to my Orange County New York home, I can hear the howls of the trio of pups my veterinary technician mother has taken in. When the door does swing open, the two golden retrievers and Jack Russell mixed breed terrier (Shamrock, Shenanigans, and Bean respectively) stand at the top of the stairs, tails wagging in utter jubilation—a welcome fit for a hero, or a king.
In all my life (brief though it has been), I have never met anyone or anything more excited for me to walk into a room.
Even though it’s been months since I’ve seen them, my pets unfailingly recognize me and, by their show of affection, love me. The love, present in the licks, the ill-advised jumping (I like to think of it as hugging) and the incessant howling, is completely and utterly unconditional.
When my two brothers and I aren’t at home, my mother tells us stories of how the animals get on their hind legs when she says one of our names, looking and pointing with their snouts at our high school portraits, which hang on the wall in our hallway. Intuitively, it seems, the dogs miss our physical presence.
When we arrive home it all pours out of them. They relax after a bit of excited whimpering, but the chorus continues for a good five to ten minutes before they even attempt to calm down. I believe they genuinely missed me. I know I missed them.
Pets are a part of what “home” means as much as the physical foundation of a house. There is no better feeling than being appreciated and loved wholly and unconditionally by your pet—possibly not even the feeling of landing a full-time job complete with big city apartment, right out of school (not that I’d know).
No, my welcoming committee convinces me that finally I’m home again and that, despite my reservations, it’s a good thing… for now.