We’ve seen them and heard them on video calls. Tails flashing in front of webcams. Barks breaking up team meetings.
Though some come with cat-titude and others are relentless in their pursuit of that next game of “fetch,” they’ve also been wonderful sources of company and comfort these past few months.
Meet the #PetsOfMSVU.
Humans: Dr. Martha Walls (Department of History) & Dr. Corey Slumkoski (Department of History)
Pet: Fauci. Since he’s a pandemic puppy we named him after Dr. Fauci, the voice of reason during these trying times.
“Fauci is only about 10 pounds, which is small for his breed. But what he lacks in size he makes up for with personality! He’s also a very gentle puppy, who is great with our two cats and with our daughter.”
Pet’s nicknames: Fauch, Fauchmeister
Pets’ ages: He will turn one on February 25! We’re having a party!
Type: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Do you have any other pets (not listed above): Yes, we have two cats – a tuxedo cat named Ray Ray, and a grey cat named George. Ray Ray doesn’t much care for Fauci, but George is his friend!
Pet’s favourites: He loves walks, chasing squirrels and birds, cuddle naps, stealing cat food, and especially his human sis on whom he regularly bestows big slobbery kisses.
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks: He gets so excited when he knows we are going for a walk that he starts jumping around in circles!
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet: It’s allowed us to focus on training him a bit, and he’s gotten to spend time with our daughter (although George is still her favourite!). He’s a real snuggle monster, and is so glad “mom and dad” are working from home since it means extra cuddles, even though his snoring is distracting.
Humans: Dr. Tammy Findlay, Associate Professor and Chair of Political and Canadian Studies
“Getting Roxie was my favourite sabbatical project in 2017. She’s very vocal and energetic and is always a big hit at rallies and protests.”
Pet’s nicknames: Rox/Roxie Girl. My sister calls her Lil’ Munchkin.
Pet’s ages: 4 years
Pet’s favourites: Treats, toys, her best friend Eeyore (who is actually a neighbour of Jester, another MSVU pet), and plastic bottles (she’s not very environmentally friendly!). How do I put this delicately? She also has a “special friend,” a large stuffed dog that she enjoys spending quality time with.
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks: She can twirl on two legs and can sense an animal on tv from any distance. She likes to sit on my shoulder like a parrot.
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet: I’ve learned that the only way to prevent her from barking the entire time I’m in a virtual meeting or teaching is to let her sit on a chair directly beside me. I have to warn my students not to be alarmed if my “teaching assistant” starts barking. She’s not going to be pleased when things go back to “normal.”
Humans: Jennifer Thornton, Stats Lab Instructor, and Amber, first-year student in Child and Youth Study
Pets: Hazel and Peanut
“We gave into the ‘COVID pet’ craze by adopting Haze and Peanut in September. Hazel is Peanut’s mom, and it was love at first sight for us when we went to see them at the SPCA. Peanut adapted to our home instantly, like she’d been here all her life. Hazel took a little longer to adjust but now is settled in well.”
Pets’ nicknames: Hazel: Mama, Peanut: Nut or Trouble
Pets’ ages: Hazel is almost 2 years old and Peanut is 8 months old
Type: Calico cats
Pets’ favourites: Hazel loves to sleep by the living room window, and often can be seen sitting there watching birds on the lawn or cars going up and down the hill. She’s quick to run to the door when someone in our household gets home. Peanut loves to curl up on a chair, sofa or bed beside one of us.
Do your pets have any special talents or charming traits or quirks: Peanut plays fetch. She especially loves to play with plastic bottle caps and will chase one across the floor like a hockey puck and carry it back to us in her mouth to get it thrown again.
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pets: They don’t know any different, because Amber and I are both studying/working from home since we adopted them. We are anticipating some separation anxiety when we go back to campus full time.
Human: Cate Carlyle, Coordinator, Curriculum Resource Centre
“Zoey is super smart and LOVES humans (Other dogs? Not so much). She likes to sleep in laps, give sloppy kisses and sniff to make sure your ears are clean!?”
Pet’s nickname: Zee
Pet’s age: 7 months
Type/Breed: Long haired chihuahua
Do you have any other pets (not listed above): Our 15-year-old Bichon Frise Lucy passed away this summer, and although we had said no more dogs, COVID struck and we ended up rescuing a COVID puppy.
Pet’s favourites: Zoey loves cheese and Cheerios, preferably stuffed in her Kong toy. She will play fetch with her stuffies until your arm wears out.
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks: Zoey will find the only patch of sunlight in the house and park herself in it to soak up the heat.
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet: Zoey gets lots of attention while I work from home and a walk on my lunch hour most days. She can walk surprisingly fast and far for such little legs. She has been the best company as my partner must now work out of province.
Humans: Dr. Áine Humble (Professor in the Department of Family Studies and Gerontology) and Dr. Arthur McCalla (Professor in the Departments of History and Religious Studies)
“Luna was a kitten when we adopted her from the SPCA, and we were quickly besotted. In very uncreative fashion, we named her Luna because she’s mainly a black cat; however, we discovered later that she has a moon shaped white section on her stomach!
Luna is a very chill cat for the most part. She’s easy going, inquisitive, and friendly around people. However, she does occasionally like to nip at legs and bite arms—this tends to happen in the hour leading up to feeding time. She’s a quiet cat as well; the only time she meows is when she wants us to wake up in the morning (open our bedroom door) or when she sees us walking up the pathway to the house.”
Áine is a rug hooker, and she hooked a portrait of Luna in 2018, and it hangs in Arthur’s work office.
Pet’s nicknames: Luna Petunia, Lunabug, loopy Luna, funny girl
Pet’s age: 4 and a half
Pet’s favourites: Like all cats, she sleeps a lot, and because she’s a captive hostage, she loves looking out our windows. She loves to curl up in our laps when the weather is colder, and she also has a favorite blanket she likes to sleep on. She will likely show up during some of our online courses this term, especially if they are held shortly before dinner time!
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks: She loves to lick water out of the bathtub, and when she was a kitten, she would play catch with her toys. She’s very intrigued and a little nervous about my printer.
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet: We love being around her! Having a little furry creature in the household is good at all times.
Human: Meagan Pottie, Coordinator of Library Information Services
Pets: Peanut and Ham
Pet’s nickname(s): Peanut – Peanoop, Noopy; Ham – Hammy Jammy (and any Ham puns I can make with names).
Pet’s age: Peanut – 2 yo; Ham – 10 yo
Type/breed: Peanut – Domestic Short Hair; Ham – Domestic Long Hair
Pet’s favourites: They both love Churu Puree Cat Treats, a.k.a. Kitty Gogurt, and are always looking for a nice sun spot.
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks? Peanut likes to play fetch with his fish toy & mouse; Ham is a big snuggler, and will take every opportunity he can to cuddle.
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet? It’s been lovely, even though they are distracting. My laptop has been sat on more than once.
Human: Kaitlyn Hughes, 2nd year Child and Youth Study student at MSVU
Pets: Skip and Hopscotch
“We have Hopscotch, my 3-year-old cat, and added Skip so we could have Hop and Skip. ”
Pets’ ages: 4 months (Skip, aka “Skippy doo”) and 3 years (Hopscotch)
Your pets’ favourites: “Eating treats as fast as they can, wrestling each other, and of course sleep. Skip loves to spend each and every MSVU lecture on my lap.”
Do your pets have any special talents or charming traits or quirks?: “Nothing special, but they’re good at being cute!”
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pets?: “It has been great! My cats are very social and love attention, so they we’re excited to have me home!”
Human: Gabrielle Durepos, Associate Professor, Department of Busiess and Tourism
“Penny is the most loving creature I know. She rests her head on my lap when I’m struggling with writing and reminds me when it’s time for a break. When we are pressed for time, she likes to jump in a mud puddle, neck high and come out jet black. This girl does not drag sticks, instead she finds unearthed trees only to realize she has bit off a bit more than she can chew. Penny does not like Alexa (the Amazon virtual assistant) or the Google home device. She patrols voice volume and emotional intensity (hence the nickname: penny police) and tells you if you are too loud or intense by barking insistently over your voice. She’s got her own list of rules!”
Pet’s nickname(s): ‘Penny-pop,’ ‘the Penny patrol,’ or ‘the Penny police’
Pet’s age: 8 years old
Type/breed: Golden doodle however takes most traits from a golden retriever
Pet’s favourites: “She loves people, especially women. She loves to be acknowledged and have her belly rubbed. She also loves swimming and paddling after the birds skimming over the water.”
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks? “Special talents… mmm… I suppose anything is possible for a full strip of bacon! This dog has a mind of her own. Without the bacon, you are bound to get a ‘are you joking? I’m not an on-demand machine…’ look.”
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet? “Amazing! Lots of extra snuggles as well as bunny, bird and squirrel watching. However, my partner and I have joked that after the pandemic, there will be a world-wide pet-demic!”
Hayley vanKroonenburg, On Campus Student Recruitment Officer, University Relations (Recruitment)
Pet: Pippa Jane Eileen & Dexter Alouicious
“Pippa was rescued through the SPCA in 2014. Formerly a barn cat, she’s very much adopted the domestic lifestyle. She loves to cuddle, lay in the sun, and watch birds. Dex was adopted as a puppy and he hasn’t left his dad’s side since! He loves car rides, running on the beach, and going to hardware stores.”
Pet’s nickname(s): Kitty, Pips, Pippers, Fluffy-Butt & Dex, Puppy, Poochie
Pet’s age: 8ish and 11
Type/breed: Cat & dog (Boston terrier)
Pet’s favourites: ““Pippa’s favourite food is tuna. Her favourite place is her cat tree. Dex’s favourite food is cheese and he loves to cuddle under blankets.”
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks? “Pippa got her name because she’s tiny and she actually squeaks! She makes these little squeaks instead of meows and it’s adorable! When Dex was a puppy he spent some time around bunnies so when he runs he hops like they did. (He’s not quite as graceful. 😊)”
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet? “I love it! Pippa has joined me in almost every video call I’ve had – if she’s not trying to lay across my keyboard, she’s sitting on my lap, purring and drooling up a storm. It’s been so great to have the extra time at home with Dex. He was a little confused at first and I think he got tired of going on so many walks, but now I know he doesn’t want us to ever go back!”
Human: Scott Daniels, Manager, Co-operative Education
“Stella is a small but mighty 4.8 pound Havanese. She has so much confidence and has no idea how small she is – she barks and approaches other dogs like she’s the size of a bear.”
Pet’s nickname(s): Stella Bear
Pet’s age: 5 years
Type/breed: Dog, Havanese
Pet’s favourites: Stella loves going for walks about the pond down the road from our house. We often have to spell the word “WALK” in our house because when she hears the word, she is at the door and ready to go. And her favourite treat is Stella & Chewy’s Wild Weenies – but is has to be the duck flavour.
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks? We tried dog school with Stella when she was a puppy. I would not say she was an A student. Even though she cannot do tricks, she is often on guard. She knows everything that happens on our street – no dog, cat, walker, biker, etc. gets by without Stella letting us know. She is often perched on the back of the sofa and looking out the living room window.
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet? Stella is a wonderful pal. Since we started working from home in March, she has been attached to our sides. She demands to sit on a chair next to us and lay on a pillow and sleep. She will be lost when we all go back to the office.
Human: DeNel Rehberg Sedo, Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Pet: Autumn (named after the gifted sister character in David Adams Richard’s Mercy Among the Children)
“Autumn came to us along with her brother, Lyle (lead character in the novel mentioned above), after we adopted them from a local vet. Someone had left the kittens in a Tim’s box beside Hwy 103. Sadly, we lost Lyle, the runt of the litter, two years ago. Autumn is my muse, my therapist, my yoga buddy, my teddy-bear-with-a-heart-beat. She’s cuddly, vociferous, and tends to wake her humans up very early by licking their eyelids.”
Pet’s nickname(s): Pretty Girl
Pet’s age: 17
Type/breed: Pseudo-Therapy Cat, mixed breed
Pet’s favourites: A persnickety creature, she eats only duck, sleeps nearly 20 hours a day, and prefers only a few people.
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks? Autumn has the special talent of bringing unconditional joy.
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet? It’s been wonderful to have Autumn during difficult times. She’s made appearances in my classes this summer and is a wonderful ice breaker. After her first appearance on my office chair and then my desk, many students turned on their cameras to show off their own pets. It set the tone for the entire term.
Human: Jessica Long, Research Capacity Liaison, Research Office
Pet: Daisy May
Pet’s nickname(s): Dais, Daisy Doo, and Crazy Daisy
Pet’s age: 2 years old (Adopted from Rat Terrier Rescue Canada)
Type/breed: Dog, Rat Terrier Mix
Pet’s favourites: Beef liver treats, peanut butter, going to the beach, and playing with other dogs.
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet? Daisy isn’t the most productive coworker. She sleeps on the job and takes too many snack breaks.
Human: Dr. Randi Warne, Professor/Coordinator, Cultural Studies Program
“Clio is determined! She was not supposed to live (pre-weaning, fed by eye-dropper, dainty, but with a squawk that could wake the dead). She is arthritic but still gets over the fence so she can sit where she wants. She is loving, and likes to climb up on my (over 6’ tall) husband’s shoulders so she can be walked around the house and look for new places to jump to. For a cat this old , she is amazingly active.”
Pet’s nicknames: Yoyo, Little Yo, Little Girl
Pet’s age: 15
Type, breed: Cat – found with her brother in the woods near upper Tantallon; perhaps some Himalayan brown? Her brother, Cass, died about 8 years ago
Pet’s favourites: She loves my spouse, Steve; ice cream; salmon; me.
Pet’s special talents, charming traits or quirks: She talks. She is conversational in her vocalization – varied tones, responds to questions (seriously).
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet: She is absolutely fine with having live-in, full-time staff! Since she is so ancient, it is also good to have this time to spend with her. She definitely “won the kitty lottery”, as Larry Steele (Modern Languages) said when she and her brother were adopted as wee little things.
Human: Dr. Danielle Cox, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
Pet: Jersey, Chip and Ash
“All our pets are rescues from the NS SPCA. Jersey was an owner surrender, was adopted and then returned since she had anxiety and was very nervous. At the shelter they introduced her to Chip, who was a stray cat, and Chip became Jersey’s therapy cat. We adopted the pair of them and they are best friends! Jersey no longer suffers from anxiety and is far more confident! I started volunteering at the SPCA and a few years later Ash was brought in. He was a stray kitten. After some time in foster care, he was looking for a home with furry friends, so we adopted him as well!”
Pet’s ages: Jersey is almost 7 years old, Chip is almost 4 years old, Ash is 1 year old
Types/breeds: Jersey is a dog (black/collie mix), Chip is the colourful cat, Ash is the grey/white cat
Any other critters in your household? “Axolotls that we hatched from eggs! The cats love them!”
Pet’s favourites: “Jersey LOVES squirrels and cats. She also is a winter dog and her favourite activity is chasing snowballs. Chip loves to sleep – he can always be found under a blanket or in a box. Ash likes to climb on everything!”
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks: “Chip comes when he is called and likes to tap you on the leg or shoulder when he wants something. Ash loves heights and will sit on your shoulders any opportunity he has. Jersey thinks she is a cat and always sits on the back of the sofa like one.”
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pets? “They are a great stress reliever during a stressful time. At times they demand attention while I’m working at the computer and the cats also like to edit my work – walking across the keyboard every opportunity they have.”
Human: Michelle Innes, Executive Assistant – VP Administration
“They say that your pets pick you and that worked both ways for our family. We saw individual pictures of the litter and immediately were drawn to him. When we arrived at the breeder’s house, all the puppies were let out and he went right to Trevor and started playing with his shoe laces. The second time we visited he wiggled his way over to Trevor again. Trevor picked him up and he instantly fell asleep in his arms.
We were not sure we would get him as we were third on the list, but it was meant to be! Since we have had him, he has brought nothing but smiles and laughter to our lives. He likes to speak and has no problem telling you what he thinks if he doesn’t like your answer. He completed our family and we couldn’t imagine life without him.”
Pet’s nicknames: Sam, Boo, Cujo
Pet’s ages: 4
Types, breeds: Mini Goldendoodle
Pet’s favourites: “He loves plain Timbits and gets a little too excited every time we come home and he sees a Tim Horton’s cup in our hand, because he knows that there is a treat for him too. His favorite toy is a water bottle and he could have six on the floor around him, but god forbid someone has one to drink – no matter full or empty he will sit at your feet until you are done and bark at you to throw it. Sam loves his Nanny McPhee, we assume it is because they are both gingers and the only gingers in our family. You only have to say her name and he is looking for her and running to the door barking. She honestly needs protective gear when she comes in the house because he attacks her with kisses, cries, you name it.”
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks: “He is a big sook who loves to snuggle and be near his humans and is a fierce protector if another dog approaches…..no matter how big.”
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pets? “He is great company and I call him my shadow most days as I cannot get up without him following me. He keeps me motivated to go for walks and play out in the yard whenever we can. Sam also likes to help Trevor type, as he loves to be on his lap and doesn’t comprehend what the keyboard is (or does he? lol), and he enjoys the extra time with [my daughter] Zoey.”
Human: Dr. Carrie Dawson, Dean of Arts & Science
Pets’ nicknames: Doodle-Lu, when she is good, and Lucifer, when she is not
Pets’ ages: 6
Types, breeds: Doodle
Pets’ favourites: “Socks and dirt, and bringing me socks and dirt in bed. She also loves cheese and squirrels, but not at the same time.”
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pets? “Fantastic!”
Human: Lora Arenburg, Communications Coordinator and Office Administrator with University Relations
Pets: Huxley and Kingsley
“Huxley is the ultimate snuggle cat and just wants to be close or on top of you if you stop moving. Kingsley is pretty much a bulldozer and will plow into anything in his way including us, while we’re sleeping!”
Pets’ nicknames: Huxley’s is Rumple or Rumpelstiltskin and Kingsley’s is Kingle
Pets’ ages: 9 & 4
Types, breeds: Mackerel Tabby cats
Pets’ favourites: “When we first got Kingsley he was extremely small so we made him his own habitat out of a raspberry flat (a box that holds six boxes of raspberries). We’ve kept the flat for four years and he uses it to sleep in even though he’s way too big for it and will force Huxley out of it if he tries to use it.”
Do your pets have any special talents or charming traits or quirks? “If I say ‘It’s bedtime!’ at night, Huxley will appear from any hiding place in the apartment to be carried into the bedroom. King rarely sleeps like a ‘normal’ cat and usually sleeps sprawled out on his back rather than in loaf or a ball.”
What’s it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pets? “I’ve never realized how much I’m followed around until working from home. I’ll usually go into my ‘office’ and within five minutes the cats are there either sleeping, walking or sitting on my workspace. They’ve been stars of a few virtual meetings.”
Human: Dr. Amélie Lemieux, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education
“I adopted Jester when I started as an Assistant Professor at the Mount in 2018. He is one of my strongest anchors here and he knows how to enliven the neighbourhood!”
Pet’s nickname(s): Mr. Tiggs
Pet’s age: 4-ish (Adopted from Dartmouth SPCA)
Type/Breed: Dog, Corgi-Jack Russell Mix
Pet’s favourites: “He is a fan of his salmon-sweet potato organic pellets, going for walks, running after his orange balls, and his favourite neighbour is Rachel.”
Does your pet have any special talents or charming traits or quirks? “Jester is a good guardian in that he alerts me when mail arrives or if there’s someone at the door. He makes it known that he would like to taste whatever you are eating.”
What has it been like spending tons of extra time at home with your pet? “Very comforting, and he knows how to adopt a positive work-life balance lifestyle!”