College can be tough. Coming into the real world, with real responsibilities and a wide array of people can sometimes take its toll on even the best. While nobody is expected to instantaneously find people they get along with, this period of meeting and discovering new people can take its toll mentally. It is a period when you miss the familiarity of school and school friends the most. Coping with this transition can be hard, some turn to family, some to old friends, and some to four-legged furballs.
Colleges are known to treat animals with the utmost love and respect and even have internal societies or (external) non-profit organizations set up who actively take of these animals. Colleges like Lady Shri Ram college in South Delhi have animal non-profit organisations as a part of their National Service Scheme Programme (eg, Fiappo) as well as an internal animal welfare society that takes care of the food and overall health needs of animals on campus.
Many have found solace in the company of these on campus buddies, especially those with pets who find themselves in a different city, starting life over as an adult. Drawing from personal experience, having to leave your pet behind can be as difficult as having to shift out of home for the very first time. I, as well as many known to me have often found ourselves wanting to escape human interaction at times. Hot chai and the company of Batman, the friendly campus dog, are like therapy for the soul. Sunshine, Oreo and Hazel (among many others), are some of the stars that frequent the classrooms and grounds of Lady Shri Ram College, on the lookout for someone in need for unconditional love. Having a bad day? Missing home? Had a fight with a friend? No problem! If no one else, there are definitely a few you can make happy (who will return the favour) with something as simple as a belly rub, and they’ll repay you with warm licks (read as: kisses).
As time goes by, you also notice people who once terrified of animals, melt, by the overwhelming amount of love these friendly felines have to offer. What once was a scream when something fuzzy rubbed up against your legs in the canteen, now becomes a shriek of excitement on being visited by an old friend.
College hostels house some of our friends as well as some of our animals, who unlike humans, enjoy the perks of shelter and food, free of cost. Our college hostel is home to many cats, fed on a steady diet of milk, ensuring their return as company. These animals influence our lives to the extent that they may even find their way into college graffiti or society logos, shedding light on their important position in our lives. While not everyone may end college as an animal fan, but for the most of us, they become more than friends, they become family.
Feature Image Credits: Action for Animal Welfare
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