National Pet Month! Part 2

by Serena Gestring, staff writer

May 2021 – It is National Pet Month in the United States. To celebrate this occasion, here are even more featured pets from the Bio-Med Science Academy community.

Sophia Christian, eighth grader, has a blue and gold macaw named Carla. Carla was rescued from a neglectful household. She can say a few words, including her name. She will lay next to someone or one them to receive pets, and while she cannot fly, Carla enjoys going outside.

Christian also has a new basset hound puppy named Doc, who was adopted because the previous dog Christian’s family had passed away. The family also has many other pets other than Carla and Doc.

“They’re not pets, they are family members. I would die for my pets. Truly I love them all,” Christian declared.

Rio and Echo are two four-year-old green cheek conures belonging to seventh grade student Laci Zamora. Rio likes tissues and plastic bags, and he bites. There is a cabinet he likes to hide under, where he also stores his tissues.

Echo also bites, and is generally grumpy, but can get cuddly if it is quiet and he is alone. Echo also enjoys popcorn.

Zamora is also fostering an aggressive nine-year-old quaker bird named Birdie. She likes pizza and cuddling, though if she is on the person’s shoulder then ears should be protected from her.

Finally, Zamora has a super cuddly three-year-old Hoffman conure named Jabez. According to Zamora, Hoffman conures are very uncommon, and are currently unable to be bought. Jabez always gets first dibs on a cup of water.

Zamora stated having pets means “responsibility, companionship, enjoyment of another living creature, [and] also less food because they steal yours.”

Eighth grader Van Leichliter has Norwegian elkhound and keeshond mix named Solvi. Solvi is very nice and, according to Leichliter, “the best dog you could ever ask for.”

Leichliter said pets are “an extension of [your] family.”

Rachel Mollohan, seventh grade student, has a nocturnal reptile named Ash. Ash is cute and very jumpy. He likes to climb, explore, and eat crickets. Ash also enjoys licking random things, and if they do not taste good he attacks them. Mollohan also has a guinea pig named S’more, who is very cute, cuddly, and shy.

“Pets [are there] to play with when you are bored or sad, and to build responsibility, and they can cuddle with you,” Mollohan said.

Tenth grader Kailan Donecker has four pets. The first is a snake named Knox, whose addition to the family convinced Donecker’s mom to like snakes. Next is a dog named Blu, who is very sweet and likes to lick.

Then there are two cats, Raven and Max. Raven was found under a bush, and after trying to find her a home, the Donecker family decided to keep her. Max enjoys picking on Raven and has twenty-two toes in total.

“[Pets] are family. Even if they are not the same species or related by blood. They make me very happy and I consider them my fur-siblings,” said Donecker.

Monte is a seven-year-old cat belonging to eighth grade student Caroline Brunn. Monte thinks he is the king of the house, and is cute and chunky.

“Pets are like friends you can buy, but in a less weird way,” commented Brunn.

Nona and Bella are two cats belonging to Ms. Stephanie Hammond, a school counselor at BMSA. Nona is nine years old and has spent eight with Hammond. She is small in stature but has a big personality, and is the head of the household with “the demands of a diva.” Hammond described her as a “regal being.”

Bella is eight years old but behaves like she is three with all of her energy. She loves to snuggle and play, even with her puppy friend. Bella is independent but also very loving.

“Nona and Bella are my furry children! While cats are pretty independent, these two love to spend time and be around when I am home! I love sitting on the couch under a blanket with them snuggled up and napping. When I travel I miss them terribly and spoil them to no end every chance I can!” Ms. Hammond expressed.

Twelfth grade student Suzie Krauss has a Boer goat named Jack. Jack is very sassy and thinks he is still a baby. He enjoys headbutting people, including an attempt on a three-year-old child. He has also broken everything Krauss’s family owns.

“Animals are important and they deserve the utmost respect and the best care possible. It’s our responsibility as the overlords of this planet to protect them and their natural environment,” stated Krauss.

Ms. Maggie Huffman, a receptionist at BMSA, has two dogs, Dakota and Paisley. Dakota is a nine-year old English mastiff and Paisley is an eleven-year-old Boston terrier. Both dogs enjoy being lazy and laying by the fire, but then act like puppies as soon as they go outside. They are also incredibly loving animals.

Huffman also has a cat named Hank, who is a nine-month-old rescue. He is crossed eyed, and he enjoys playing fetch with stuffed animals.

“Our pets are additional family members, who need love and attention just like anyone else. Our life wouldn’t be whole with our them,” said Ms. Huffman.

Kloe is a pit bull belonging to Zachary Hamilton, an eighth grader. Kloe is very calm and always itchy.

“[Pets are] calming. I consider them people, not assets,” Hamilton stated.

Tenth grade student Erika Bentley has a three-year-old mutt named Nyla. Nyla’s favorite hobbies include, though are not limited to, playing fetch, running as fast as she can around the house, and barking at the cows across the street.

Recently Nyla underwent ACL surgery, a type of knee surgery, and is currently in recovery. She has been spending her days napping and dreaming of playing with the cows.

“I love my pet Nyla. She is always there for me to play with and she comforts me when I need it. Throughout covid nyla and I have tried so many things. We’ve visited new parks, we’ve learned new tricks, and we have learned a lot of patience and adaptability together. I would not be who I am without her,” Bentley said.

Kat is a retired racehorse belonging to seventh grader Caroline Markulis.

“[Pets] mean a non-human companion, who gives you attention and the other way around,” said Markulis.

Kaytlin Haylett, eleventh grade student, has a yorkie poodle mix named Lacey. Haylett described Lacey as “the most human-like dog in the world.”

Haylett also has a kitten named Sasuke, who has two siblings named Sakura and Sushi.

“They’re my comfort animals,” Haylett said in regard to her pets.

Eighth grade English instructor Mr. Aaron Ettinger has a ball python named Lucy who likes rats and naps.

Ettinger also has a tailless whip scorpion named Grogu who enjoys bugs and hiding in logs.

“Owning weird critters is fun. It keeps me curious and accountable,” stated Mr. Ettinger.

Ms. Brianna While, BSMA’s District Administrative Assistant, has two cats, Catalina and Wallace. Catalina is a twelve-year-old domestic shorthair and is the boss of the house.

Wallace is seven years old and only answers to “Fat Baby.”

“To me, pets have always been wonderful companions that bring joy to myself and my family,” stated Ms. While.

Eighth grade student Sophie Wiley has two goldendoodles named Harper and Finigan. Harper looks more like a poodle, and is very wild and will “do anything to get food.” Finigan looks more like a golden retriever, and is very sweet, shy, and a “scardy cat.”

Wiley also has a hedgehog named Maggie. Maggie sleeps all day, but can be very loud at night when she runs on her wheel.

“Pets are companions…with their own personalities and deserve to be loved like a family member,” Wiley said.

Bricco is an energetic and stubborn mini goldendoodle belonging to Ms. Shana Varner, BMSA’s eleventh grade Anatomy and Physiology instructor. Bricco just turned two years old this past January 26th. He loves big trucks, motorcycles, peanut butter, being outside, all toys that squeak, and his kitty pool. Bricco is best friends with a 120-pound pit bull named Thor, and their favorite game is tug-of-war. He also likes to alligator roll in the bathtub.

“Everything!” Ms. Varner stated in regard to what pets mean to her.

Twelfth grade student Blessing Mupinga had an African pygmy hedgehog named Kashi, who unfortunately passed away in July of 2020 at the age of four. Kashi enjoyed running, playing hide and seek, sleeping, eating, and pooping in Mupinga’s bed.

“Pets are a source of emotional companionship that teach you how to love, care, and provide for something all while being in a symbiotic relationship in which both parties benefit from the love, happiness, appreciation, attachment and care that each gives to the other,” expressed Mupinga.

Dakota Rennecker, eighth grader, has three dogs. First is an eighth-month-old chocolate labrador named Moka, who is very hyper.

Next is seven-year-old Harlie, a black labrador who once grabbed Rennecker by the hood of her sweatshirt and dragged her around the yard.

Then there is a twelve-year-old schnauzer named BooBear. She loves going on walks, sleeping, and watching TV with Rennecker’s father.

Rennecker also has a cat named Mr. Chubbs, who likes to sleep on the piano and follows her around the house. He is very cuddly and sleeps in Rennecker’s room every night.

“Pets are a very big thing to me. A lot of times when I’m upset or not in a good mood they can sense it. They make me calm down and they brighten the mood to any situation. They are also a big anxiety helper,” Rennecker stated.

Seventh grade student Charli Evanish has three cats. The first is a black Persian cat named Smooshie who is very fluffy, fat, and snorts a lot because of his squished face.

Next is a Ragdoll cat named Benson who has blue eyes and a few near-death experiences. Benson is grumpy, not a fan of people, and not very cuddly, but his family loves him anyway.

Last is Bob, who was found in Evanish’s backyard. Originally the family was just going to get him neutered and release him, but Bob stuck around. He is blind in one eye, has a crooked tail, a chipped ear, and many scars. Bob is very cuddly and loves his people.

“All of my pets are family and very important to us, we love them all so much. Pets are more than just animals, they can boost your mood when [you’re] sad and be there for you when [you’re] happy!” Evanish enthused.

Owen Sprague, ninth grader, has a big cat named Cheese.

“Pets mean a lot to me,” said Sprague.

Annie is an energetic seventeen-year-old Paso Fino horse belonging to twelfth grade student Elena Kline. “Annie” is short for Ansiosa, which is the Spanish word for “anxious.” Kline has been riding her for five years. Based on her breed, she is an easy gaited horse, meaning she does not trot. Annie’s favorite speed is fast, and she loves food.

“Sometimes, when horses want to taste something better, they will put their nose up and curl their lip back, making them smile. Annie does this on command if I squeeze her nose!” explained Kline. “She is very sweet to the other horses and she loves to go on trail rides. She can be quite sassy and during shows will sometimes begin sidepassing (walking sideways) or just stop moving altogether. But I am very patient with her and I love her very much.”

“I think pets are a way for people to have a companion that will support them, keep them company, listen to them, and love them unconditionally. Many people need their pets as a friend or as an extension of their family,” Kline stated.

Seventh grader Gianna Copen has a ten-month-old long white tailed chinchilla named Chi Chi. Chi Chi is noisy and playful. One time she pulled her cage apart while Copen was sleeping to make a slot she could slip through. A new cage had to be bought.

Copen also has a three-year-old black mini lop rabbit named Coco. Coco is generally very content, but “will tell you that she is in charge if you make her mad.” She once escaped while Copen was cleaning Coco’s cage outside, and Copen’s mother had to help catch her.

“I just love spending time with animals because they are so fun and friendly to be around,” said Copen.

Cyrus is a beagle belonging to tenth grader Skylar Earl. Cyrus loves to learn and knows around 40 tricks. He and Earl go on lots of adventures together, but they also like simply hanging out as well. Earl called Cyrus “a really good boy.”

“[Pets] really bring me happiness because they’re always there. Picking the right pet for you is very important but when you find the right animal or animals then it’s amazing. Pets for me are something different than friends or people because of their difference from us. They are definitely part of the family,” said Earl.

Kylee Staggs, tenth grade student, has a cat named Stormie. Stormie is around four years old. He enjoys looking out windows and staring at walls at night.

“Pets just make my day because they seem so innocent and sweet. Stormie is always there for me when I’m sad and animals in general just make me happier,” Staggs stated.

Tenth grader Marina Levy has a bearded dragon named Toothless. Toothless is sassy, enjoys climbing on her stick, and “hates bath time with a burning passion.”

Pumpkin is Levy’s goldendoodle. Pumpkin likes jumping into lakes with no warning and sleeping with her stuffed animals, and dislikes going outside.

Levy also has a one-month-old leopard gecko named Little Foot Tyson, who loves to jump at his food and make a mess, and to “wonder at night.”

“[Pets] are friends in the journey of life. They will stay by your side no matter what and always bring a good attitude into your days,” Levy said.

Zoei Zaveson, seventh grade student, has a friendly and playful horse named Maggie. Maggie is twenty-five years old, but acts like she is two. She loves little kids and playing tag with Zaveson around the arena. Sometimes she likes to get out of doing work though.

Zaveson also has an eight-month-old cat named Peach. Peach is playful and affectionate, and likes to kiss people on the nose. According to Zaveson, she is also “the spawn of the devil.”

“I think of pets like people. You want to treat them as if they were your kids,” said Zaveson.

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