cute dog

Pets Offer Companionship to Students Amid Quarantine

Chloe Leckrone

Remote learning can be challenging, monotonous and often stressful. One way that students have dealt with the stress of this change to their learning and with their final exams, is by spending time with their cuddly creatures.

Sophomore Kendall Brown, who lives in Tecumseh, MI, has enjoyed being home with her dog, a German Shorthair Pointer named Lucky, who has been with her family for about eight years. “I am very thankful to have a pet during this time because he is always so joyful or excited to play,” Brown said.

Lucky often sits with Brown while she does her classwork. Not only does he offer Brown companionship, but he also gives her the opportunity to be physically active. “He has a lot of energy, so we go on a lot of walks and runs,” Brown said.

Dogs are not the only kind of pets that have been keeping students from getting too lonely; smaller furry friends are just as capable of bringing joy to students. Senior Jesse Langdon has been at his rental home in North Manchester since campus closed and went online, and has been accompanied by his two gerbils, Octavia and Sandwich, that he has owned for six months. The gerbils tend to not enjoy being outside their cage, but Langdon does make chew toys for them, so they stay entertained.

Langdon discussed the highs and lows of taking care of critters during this time. “One of the best parts about looking after an animal is honestly the extra time I have to spend with them,” he said. “I am able to clean out their cage more often, which allows me to put new additions in there such as apple branches and cardboard tubes.”

He went on to say: “One of the more difficult aspects is the reduced ability to buy supplies for them. Luckily, I stocked up before the craziness set in and have been all set.”

Langdon is in the process of moving back to his home in Columbus, IN, where he has many other pets waiting for him. His family has a dog, two cats, and a leopard gecko. Along with these indoor pets, Langdon and his dad also raise Coturnix quail. Langdon also plans on picking up a group of Chukar Partridge chicks that he will raise this summer.

Like Langdon, sophomore Kelsey Tyler has been looking after a smaller pet: her bunny, Maple. Tyler has only had Maple for a little over a month and got him at the very last second; he was actually in the pet shop when Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced the stay-at-home order.

“It's nice to be able to distract myself from the world's happenings by playing with, and taking care of, Maple,” Tyler said. “He has been the perfect little partner to have while I'm stuck at home.”

For play, Tyler takes Maple out to their backyard where he can run around and eat grass. Tyler has also been teaching Maple tricks and giving him treats when he does them successfully. “So far we have mastered spinning in a circle,” Tyler said. “Now I am working on getting him to kiss me.”

With extra time on her hands, Tyler decided to create an Instagram account for her bunny, @maplethebunnyrabbit. With a love of both social media and animals, it only seemed right that Tyler make this page dedicated to Maple.

“I love being artsy and taking cute pictures of Maple and decided that Maple is too cute for people not to see him,” Tyler said.