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.
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!”