National Pet Month! Part 1

by Serena Gestring, staff writer

APRIL 2021 – In the United Kingdom and other countries, the month of April is designated National Pet Month. The United States, however, honors pets during the month of May. National Pet Day is also celebrated on April 11 every year. To celebrate this occasion, here are some featured pets from the Bio-Med Science Academy community and why they are so important.

“Pets help us remember not to take everything so seriously, and to enjoy the moment. They help us treat each other better by relying on us to take care of them. And they are always such good listeners…they’re always there just to be with us, with no expectations,” Ms. Mino said.

“My pets are a source of comfort and love for me, and endlessly love everyone,” said Brooke Saxton.

“To me [pets are] something that will always listen to you and love you. They’re also very loyal,” Gianna Walker said.

“Pets to me mean friends and family. They can always be there for you to make you happy when [you’re] upset,” said Abigail Allen.

“Researchers have traced dog domestication back at least 11,000 years, to the end of the last Ice Age! In that time, think about how much these pups have impacted our development as a species. They’ve worked for us, helped us find food, kept us safe, served as a means of transportation. I feel a little piece of that history every time I’m with my HAL, especially when he seems to read my mind or anticipate my movements. It’s that unspoken communication that we’ve developed over thousands of years. It’s an amazing bond, and frankly, I don’t trust people who don’t like animals, especially dogs,”  Ms. Hisey explained.

“My dog means everything to me,” stated Adrian Jones.

“Pets are things that are very special to me and that mean a lot and should be taken care of and spoiled. They are great companions and should be treated really well,” Molly Phillips said.

“Pets are a good way to have a non-conditional friend,” Bristol White said. “And they are cute.”

“Pets are the best thing for companionship or to just make you feel better. They love you as much as you love them. They will always be there for you and will never disappoint you. They are so playful and have their own personality,” said Hailey Mills.  

“[Pets] are the best,” Liam Lindsay stated.

“[Pets] mean a lot because I like to love on my dog when I’m upset,” said Arianna Fiorentino.

“Pets are an absolute blessing in disguise! Not only do they provide companionship, but they lower so many stress, anxiety, and depression levels. That burst of dopamine you get when your fluffy friend runs to you when you get home is one of the best feelings! I may only see Remy and Wally once a week, but they’ll always be my favorite floofs!” praised Ms. Fusco. 

“Pets are family members that you choose. For whatever reason. They provide such a comfort because we provide them the same. It’s really lovely knowing that something can love you so unconditionally and see past every bad thing you think about yourself,” commented Mihalik.

“Having a dog who is always excited to see you when you come home can make your whole day better,” said Ms. Tubbs.

“Pets mean a friend. Someone you can talk to who can’t talk back. Dogs can help with anxiety too,” said Sophia Oprtiza. “I also like talking walks and runs around my neighborhood so having him to run with is great.”

“My pets mean everything to me (don’t tell my children)! They are loyal and sweet and they give so much love,” enthused Ms. McFerren.

Ms. Hughes commented pets mean “companionship and fun!”

“They aren’t just pets but they are part of the family,” stated Aric May. 

“I don’t get really attached to pets but I feel like they are a very important thing that are in someone’s life and can get them through hard times,” Carmen Corbett said.

“My pets are my best friends. Whenever I am sad my dogs comfort me until I feel better. They do the funniest things sometimes. I love to talk to them about how I am feeling because they are great listeners and I enjoy whenever we play ball with each other outside. But sometimes they sleep a lot. I couldn’t ask for better dogs!” Lourden DiNardo enthused. 

“I love animals, I always have. Pets are stress relievers and constant reminders of love,” Kait Antonelli stated.

“Our pets mean the world to us. We often ask ourselves what we would do without them. They are a lot of work and sometimes a lot of money, but they enrich our lives so much; we just couldn’t imagine not having them,” said Ms. Bates. 

“My doggo means the world to me. I come home and she always supports me or makes me laugh. Having an animal teaches you how to love and care for others,” praised Kaitlyn Davis.

“Pets aren’t just another being in the house. They become another family member,” Meadow Sandy said. 

“Words cannot describe how I feel when my dog looks up at me with his beautiful brown eyes. It is one of my favorite feelings in the world. I cannot imagine living without dogs, and I would never want to,” stated Serena Gestring. 

Twelfth grade student Kaden Starkey has a domestic shorthair cat named Kosmos. He described Kosmos as friendly, cuddly, and lovable, and having an obsession with jumping on top of TVs.

Nevaeh Bennett, a sixth grade student, has a 3-year-old German Shepard named Odin, who hates the mailman. She also has a show pig named Winkle and a mare named Hungry. Bennett described her pets as “good comfort animals.” 

Seventh grader Sophia Hankinson has a dog named Luna who loves to stretch on people and provides Hankinson with “love and warmth other than my family.”

Tenth grade Chemistry instructor Ms. Janna Mino has a 35-pound dog named Kona, who is much smaller than she looks. Kona is also obsessed with fetch. 

Layla and Sammy are tenth grade student Brooke Saxton’s two golden retrievers. Layla is two years old and loves the snow, while Sammy is five years old and loves to spend all day relaxing on the couch. 

Winston is an Old English bulldog belonging to ninth grader Gianna Walker. He enjoys chasing Walker’s cat and barking at the wreath hanging from her family’s door. He is normally very lazy and sleeps most of the day, but sometimes he can also be hyper. Winston loves meeting new people and gives really wet kisses.  

Eighth grade student Abigail Allen has three dogs. Rex is a german shepherd and almost one year old. He has a scary bark and likes to jump on people, even with muddy paws. 

Bo is a very nice dog of an unknown breed who likes to follow Allen around. 

Harlee is a fluffy, playful, and fast Siberian husky.

Seventh grader Ellie Spaeth has a dog named Sammi. He is a one-year-old hound-husky mix whose favorite day is Saturday. Sammi loves to eat bacon and play.

HAL9000 is tenth grade Integrated Language Arts instructor Ms. Candace Hisey’s mutt, named after the evil computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL only cares about his mom and dad, and chipmunks; not any toys or other typical dog things. However, he does like having The Lord of the Rings read aloud to him before bed. 

Otto is seventh grade student Adrian Jones’s old pug-beagle mix. 

Seventh grader Molly Phillips has an overweight dog named Tempe. Despite having hip dysplasia, Tempe enjoys going on walks and she gets excited whenever people visit the house. She also likes to sleep in Phillips’s room, and lets herself in whenever she pleases. 

Jynx Derteen, a seventh grade student, has a dog named Finn and a cat named Lulu. Interestingly, Finn barks at everyone except for the mailman. Lulu likes to sleep all day and then “attacks your legs at night to scare you.” 

Darla is a puppy dog of Bristol White, a ninth grader. Darla likes to bark and play with toys. 

White also has a hermit crab called Bristol’s Crab who likes to “climb, dig, and cause a ruckus.” 

Ozzy, named after Ozzy Osbourne, is a Shih Tzu belonging to tenth grade student Hailey Mills. Ozzy is small and loves to play. He also goes outside and catches rats, which Mills described as “upsetting but the smile on his face makes it worth the clean up!”

Seventh grader Liam Lindsay has a dog named Max, who is a “psychic.”

Axl is a caring dog belonging to Arianna Fiorentino, a seventh grade student. 

Eleventh grade instructor Ms. Elissa Fusco has two dogs named Remy and Wally. Remy is a fluffy Shetland Sheepdog and retired agility dog. He enjoys modeling for the camera and chasing squirrels to “show them who’s boss.” 

Wally was surrendered at a shelter when he was eleven years old. He was adopted by Fusco’s parents in August of 2020 despite wanting a younger dog, because they could not pass him up. Wally is very cuddly and enjoys snuggling after a walk. 

Eleventh grade College, Career, and Finance instructor Ms. Whitney Mihalik has a nine-year-old cat named Arya, after the Game of Thrones character, which she takes after very well. Arya was coaxed out from under a Wendy’s parking lot dumpster using a spicy chicken sandwich, though she pretends otherwise. 

“She makes it clear she has always come from wealth and status as she surveys her domain from the bookshelf or while sleeping in a child’s foam chair carefully placed in our dining room window,” Mihalik explained. 

Arya is also very smart, remembering every human she has met and “how they have wronged her.” Despite her dislike towards people, she is very loyal to her family. 

Mihalik also has a cat named Dora, who is quite the opposite of Arya. “Though she was named after the Byzantine Empress Theodora, one of the most intelligent women in medieval history, she is potentially the most unintelligent animal I have ever come across,” said Mihalik. 

Dora snuggles faces and then bites noses to show her affection. She also buries her face in her food bowl when she eats, giving her an always dirty nose. 

Ms. McKenna Tubbs, BMSA’s eighth grade Math instructor, has Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Millie, who will be three years old on the Fourth of July. She is incredibly cuddly, and loves socks, sticks, puppuccinos, dryer sheets, and hiking even with her short legs.  

Thor, which stands for The Hound Of Ragnarok, is eighth grade student Sophia Opritza’s dog. Thor is a toy pom-terrier, meaning half toy fox terrier and half toy pomeranian. He is not one year old yet, but is about fully grown at 8.7 pounds. He likes to play with cat toys. 

Twelfth grade Integrated Language Arts instructor Ms. Tracie McFerren has two dogs, Bruno and Indy. Bruno is an eight-year-old German shepherd and is 127 pounds, earning him the title of “big baby.” He loves to play with his toys. 

Indy is a twelve-year-old Siberian husky who loves to escape and visit the neighbors. 

Stella is a three-year-old dog belonging to Ms. Rachel Hughes, the ninth and twelfth grade Engineering instructor. Stella once got stuck in a gate that kept her in Hughes’s kitchen. The gate had a small door for the cat to use, and when Stella tried to get through herself she ended up tearing the entire gate down. 

Eighth grader Aric May has two dogs, Duke and Baloo. Duke is a red fox labrador, and Baloo is silver labrador. Duke likes to rough house with Baloo; Baloo does not. 

Carmen Corbett, a seventh grade student, adopted a whippet named Cozmo in June of 2020. Cozmo is one year old, but seems like a ten year old dog with his laid back demeanor. He does not do very much other than playing, sleeping, and eating.  

Diablo and Layla are both English mastiffs belonging to ninth grader Lourden DiNardo. Diablo is eight years and very large, but likes to sit on people anyway. His favorite hobby is playing with a deflated basketball outside, and he enjoys a nice slice of cheese after a hard day. He is also known for taking the stuffing out of stuffed animals and sleeping with the pieces of material.

Layla is seven years old, and despite being shy she likes to give little kisses. She enjoys lettuce and jumping on Diablo when he is playing with his deflated ball. 

Twelfth grade student Kait Antonelli has a two-year-old cat named Ember, nicknamed Emby. Antonelli’s family adopted Ember after receiving a notification that a kitten had been found in a storm drain by firefighters. Ember has been Antonelli’s friend ever since. 

Ms. Jenna Bates, eleventh grade Integrated Language Arts instructor, has two cats, Atticus Melville Finch and Sawyer Bean. Atticus was adopted thirteen years ago. During the time Bates was teaching a speech class, Atticus had been a visual aid in one of the student’s speeches. Sawyer was adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Sophie is a one-year-old golden retriever belonging to eleventh grader Kaitlyn Davis. Sophie loves running outside, snuggling, and peanut butter.  

Eighth grader Meadow Sandy has a maltese and poodle mix named Murphy. He is an energetic puppy and sweetheart, and loves to meet new people and play all the time. 

Twelfth grade student Serena Gestring has a four-year-old pit bull named Deimos, which is the Greek word meaning “dread.” Deimos is a complete baby. He needs to have fluffy blankets spread out on the couch for him to lay on or else he will whine. He will also whine if another dog is in laying where he wants to sit, even if there is still room on the couch. Deimos has a tendency to roll onto his back and thrash around until someone rubs his belly. If he does not get consistent attention he will whine. Gestring loves him with all her heart. 

Gestring’s family also very recently got another ball python. She is an albino, hence her yellow color, and her name is Ilios, the Greek word for “sun.” She is around three to four months old, but will grow to be four feet in length or longer. Ilios has pretty golden eyes. Gestring is very excited to have this new addition to the family.  

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