The first thing I do each morning is check my e-mails. Oddly enough, I get a feeling of anxiety combined with eagerness as my mail app refreshes with 10-20 new emails each morning from professors, school announcements, Amazon, and other retailers I don’t even remember subscribing to. This particular morning, one of my professors sent our class an email saying he was canceling class for the day, which granted me a class-free Thursday morning. My only class for that day was at 2:45 p.m., and I could not have been happier.
On my not so “day off,” I decided to take a much needed and long overdue trip to the Arboretum or “Arbo” as we call it, Conn’s 750-acre lush and mysterious terrain that includes and surrounds our beautiful campus. I try to make it a priority to visit the Arbo at least once a month, for three reasons. One reason I do this is because I’m convinced that one day I won’t get lost and will find my way out in under an hour. The second reason is because it’s my favorite place on campus to take pictures, and third, because there’s something quite enchanting about the makeup of the different areas that gives me the sense of being in a foreign place, far away from campus. My personal favorite part of the Arbo, the Native Plant Collection, is the area I chose to explore that day to take a few pictures.
I wandered around and laboriously switched between both my digital and film cameras while trying to skip through songs in my library. When I was finally satisfied with the shots I had, I began to make my way back to where I started. I saw a dog that looked like a sort of pitbull mix sauntering by with two students. They asked me if it was my dog and then tried to follow him to catch him once I said he wasn’t mine.
I put on my bookbag and started to walk out of the Arbo, but turned right back around because I felt bad for leaving the dog, even though two other students were already with him. It reminded me of the times I got lost in Macy’s as a kid, coughing through the fragrance department, searching frantically for my mom. It also made me think of when I was lost during my first year, not knowing what I wanted to major in. I was freaking out because I thought I had everything all figured out. Luckily, I had advisers and upper-class students to help me understand that it was okay to not know what I wanted to major in right away. So I decided to help. I joined the other students and petted the dog while talking to him like a child as most people do, as if the dog would respond. We found the dog’s tag and saw that his name was Brody, then called the number on the tag. After a few more phone calls, we reached Brody’s owner, Marie, who’s the assistant director in the Office of Residential Education and Living (REAL). She met us in the Arbo and Brody immediately started wagging his tail and bolted over to her. She thanked us and gave us all hugs for staying with Brody.
As we left the Arbo, we all told stories of when our dogs escaped and how we found them. The experience made me think, too, about how this is the kind of place where people come together to help each other. I have experienced this many times already at Conn and was happy to be able to return the favor in some way.