A tried and tested guide on how to cope with missing your dog at uni

Sorry Mum, I don’t miss you, just the dog.

Every year that I return to uni I face the same world-ending dilemma: leaving my four-legged fluffy best friend behind. Living apart from my soulmate, my German Shepherd, Bodie (informally know as Princess Buttercup or Pee Pee Head), is the ultimate heartbreak.

So, to save you the same despair, I have compiled a list of things to do for when this crushing reality sets in.

Stalk the dog park

Probably the most obvious answer to filling the hole in your heart is hanging out at the dog parks and getting the puppy cuddles you need. Wollaton Park is a prime spot for meeting four legged friends and so large that you can cover more ground, and more potential pup spots, without looking like you spend 15 hours a day sitting on a park bench.

TOP TIP: hang about in some workout gear with a water bottle pretending you’re just taking a break from your run, so people don’t think you’re a total nutcase.

Build A Bear Factory

Not only does BAB offer stuffed dog toys but with the new sounds effects available you can also opt for puppy noises to take you a step closer to the real thing.

Finding true love and puppy snuggles at Build A Bear

Befriending the pigeons in town

My recommended hotspot is the benches outside Greggs down Lister Gate. They all know how flaky that vegan sausage roll is and will get as close as they can to try and coerce you into dropping them a few crumbs. Very friendly lot with a 10/10 fearless attitude towards humans that helps you feel a little closer to nature and recreates the unbeatable feeling of your dog choosing to come and sit next to you on the sofa, as opposed to using treats as a way of manipulation (not that I would know).

Hounds gate

Finding the statue of the pooch by the Hounds Gate shops sign and being absolutely overjoyed at having a faithful pup that will stay by your side whilst simultaneously reliving the pain of having to leave him behind as you walk away, the heartbreak continues.

He might be a statue but he’s still loveable

Puppy videos

Trawling through endless YouTube videos of puppies running around and playing with each other really tugs at the heartstrings. For a fully immersive experience I would highly recommend a bottle of wine to console yourself as you reminisce the many moments spent with your pooch who was once as small as these tiny fluffy bundles of excellence. Fluffy blanket to cuddle also recommended to imitate fluffiness of your pup. TOP TIP: limit this to once a week or the sympathy of your flatmates will soon wear thin as your never-ending wailing continues day after day and the recycling stacks up with your emptied wine and beer bottles.


Sending 50 million messages to your family members still at home and continually wishing on stars that your dog will magically be able to use a phone to FaceTime you himself. Evidently, everyone else is absolutely useless at sending any pup-date pics or videos as clearly no one understands the pain you are suffering in being away from your fur baby.

Long distance relationships


Spending your days, lectures, seminars, and even nights out, checking the availability of small animals for sale in your area. We’re talking along the lines of hamsters or something small enough to chuck the cage under your bed or in the wardrobe should you have a surprise visit for the landlord or lettings agency as you know that there’s no way in hell it would actually be allowed in the tenancy agreement.

The break-up phase.

Similar wavelength to the wine and pup videos – bleaching and/or dyeing your hair as if this is the most painful break up you’ve ever endured. New look, new dog-less life. This year I made it a whole five days before reaching this stage. I wouldn’t recommend this coping mechanism unless you are very dedicated to pulling off the brown roots with a majority head of ginger look.

However, eventually you must give in and recognise that nothing comes close to the real thing. Ultimately, spending a ridiculous amount of money on trains for the weekend, just so you can go home to cuddle your one true love.

Related articles recommended by this author:

• Lectures from your bedroom? How to manage first term remotely

• Freshers isn’t always as good as it’s made out to be and here’s why

• ‘I woke up to a stranger watching me sleep’: My student halls horror story