During Zeta Sigma’s preference round of recruitment, a sister said something in a speech that really stuck with me. She was telling her Sigma Kappa story and mentioned how home is not a place to her, it is a feeling. When she moved to Birmingham, she wasn’t just feeling homesick from missing her family but she was missing that feeling of home. I listened to her say it during practice and during preference round multiple times and every time she said that line all I could think was, “What is home to me?” I love my family. I love my friends. Vegas will always be my home, but at this moment in time I realized that I wasn’t missing my home of Vegas, I was missing something much more.
If you read my last blog post, you know that before moving to Birmingham, Ala., I was living in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia brought me many memories and opened new doors, but the best thing that Virginia gave me was “my” dog, Alfie. I use quotes around my because he is not “actually” my dog, but he is pretty much mine. The hardest part about leaving Virginia was leaving Alfie behind. I love dogs, who doesn’t? I love my doggies that I grew up with, I love my friends’ dogs, but I LOVE Alfie. I have never felt more homesick than after my first week of being in Alabama. After a long hard day, I went home to my empty apartment and all I wanted to do was cuddle with Alfie, but he was not there to comfort me.
In Virginia I had some hard days and some long days. I worked two jobs, both working with young children, and I was so far away from home and trying to find myself in a new part of the country. There were days when my anxiety was high for no reason and days when I missed my friends so much but I felt like they didn’t care or miss me. In this time when I was in a gloomy place, Alfie was always there to comfort me. It was like he knew when I needed to be greeted at the door with the big slobbery kiss, when I needed a belly-flop hug, and when I just needed him to lay with his head on my chest to calm me down. The best part of my days would be coming home to see Alfie, take him to the doggie lake, run around the backyard, and laying on the couch to watch Netflix together all night. When I was sad, he knew I was sad; when I was having high anxiety, he knew and was there to comfort me; when I needed a good laugh, I could count on finding Alfie in a sticky situation. Alfie might not have the title of being an emotional support dog, but he was the emotional support I needed in Virginia.
I truly believe that all dogs have a sixth sense for these things, but it takes a special relationship for it to fully to develop. Emotional support dogs provide comfort and support in forms of affection and companionship for an individual suffering from various mental and emotional conditions. I may not have a mental or emotional condition, but the best medicine for me when I was going through a rough patch was to have a dog that made being together, no matter the place, feel like home. The comfort, joys, endless snapchats together, and countless times Alfie and I got into trouble gave me that warm fuzzy feeling of love and home. Even though I’m “homesick” and not able to be with Alfie, I have found ways to cope with being away from him:
- Make your dog your phone’s screen saver so you always see him.
- Have photos of your dog all over your apartment.
- Sleep with the blanket that you and your doggie cuddled with together.
- Have someone send you daily snapchats of your dog.
- Any chance you get, tell everyone about how amazing your dog is.
Alfie is what made Virginia feel like home. And any time I was away from Virginia, I missed Afie so much and was “homesick.” I’ve been living in Alabama for almost two months now. The people, the culture, the environment are all different from Las Vegas and Virginia but I am loving being in a new place and exploring the South. I have not yet found that thing that has made Alabama feel like home, but the sisters of Zeta Sigma have been so welcoming that I know I soon will. I can’t wait for the day I get to see Alfie again. I hope he is enjoying all the socks and teddy bears I left him before I moved.
Miss you so much, Alfie. I’ll see you again someday soon.
XOXO Em Srok