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Muzzletime: facetime with dogs

Results for A Levels and BTECs are upon us. Here at NHHQ we do hope that you all get what you were finger-crossing for, and that you move seamlessly into the next phase of global domination and world-tackling. If not, if the letters and numbers don’t turn up on that page exactly as you wanted, take it from us wise old dog food enthusiasts, that that is all they are: just letters and numbers. Life is never a completely smooth ride of predictable perfection – and often it is the bumps and the obstacles that shape us in the best way, and create kinks in our journey that as adults we would easily claim as the highlights of youth. Love and courage to you all.

Leaving behind the family home and moving on to the next phase is such an exciting time, but it does mean that you have to say goodbye to a few firm favourites: Mum’s shepherd’s pie, Dad’s bad jokes and chauffeuring skills, and the family pet. It can be very tough leaving a pet behind, and only after leaving do many youngsters realise the importance in their lives of the familiar wag of the tail, the comforting snuggle, the daily exchange with the dog.

We think that there are various ways to tackle this. Therefore, herewith our Supreme Guide (we like giving ourselves overblown titles for – essentially – lists; it makes us feel more valuable as humans) To Helping Your Teenagers If They Are Missing The Dog:

– Print out a collage of dog photos for them to put up in their new bedroom (Ok, so it might not go on the wall – but it can go under the bed and be pulled out when no one else is around)
– Facetime regularly when dog is around. In our house we call it Muzzletime, but don’t feel obliged to follow suit.
– Send videos and photos of the pet often – silly ones, cute ones, crazy ones etc.
– Organise a weekend visit home for them in the first term to bring all their filthy washing and collapse wordlessly in a heap with the dog on the sofa for 48 hours.
– Bring the pet to see them in their new set-up (if they let you within 30 miles of the campus. Many kids don’t allow this. What? You haven’t heard that?? They do? Gah!!! )

It is an emotional time for everyone, this whole moving into proper adulthood thing. Dogs make great listeners – so go ahead and share your feelings with the hound. They have heard it all and can be extremely comforting in times of heightened emotion, excitement and sadness. Whatever the next few months brings – we hope that you experience it all, the whole gamut of emotions, with the knowledge that “this too will pass” and a few extra strokes of the dog, a slightly longer daily ‘head-sorting’ walk, and a lick of the hand will no doubt help you out. Thank goodness we all know the benefit of being an animal-lover and therefore that we don’t have to do this alone!

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