Tis’ the season for pajamas as day-to-day fashion, binging TV shows and movies and giving pets all the extra love and attention they so desire.
There can be many ups and downs of Winona State University students being home with their pets more than usual.
Abbey Johnson, senior with a major in literature and language and applied and professional writing, has a Holland Lop bunny named Blue Cheese Eloise.
Johnson is now consistently home due to online classes and no work, giving her more time to play with Blue, but also giving Blue more time to get into trouble.
“Since I’ve been home more, she stays out of her cage a lot more, so she’s been more mischievous but also more affectionate,” Johnson said.
To help keep Blue out of trouble and entertained, Johnson plans to get another bunny soon for Blue to bond with and have as a playmate.
Much like Blue, Junie and Penny, rats owned by Beth Einck, a third-year majoring in communication studies and sustainability, have gotten much more playtime recently.
“I’m currently unemployed and doing online classes, so I’m home all the time,” Einck said. “They get extra time to freely roam my room since I’m here all the time, which they definitely appreciate.”
Like most pets, Junie and Penny have their quirks too.
“They like hanging out in my shirt so they can do that during my classes now,” Einck said.
Unlike rats, dogs might try, but are usually unsuccessful at, hanging out in shirts. Scooter, a rescued Jack Russel Terrier is among those dogs, claimed by Nicole Tompos, a senior majoring in communications in arts and literature teaching and English: writing emphasis majors and English: creative writing minor.
“He loves that classes are online, and everything is cancelled because he is never alone,” Tompos said. “He gets to sleep peacefully in the sunlight and go for longer walks now.”
Tompos has been busy with school but makes sure to find some Scooter-time every day.
“Sadly, I have a lot of schoolwork to do, but I tend to sleep in a bit now though, because Scooter comes to cuddle with me when the rest of my family has to leave for work in the mornings,” Tompos said.
What a good boy.
Amanda Grober, a senior majoring in business administration and minoring in human resources and Spanish, has a Cockapoo named Teddy.
Teddy spends the majority of his day going on walks, playing and keeping guard of the house.
“We do take longer walks especially when the weather is nice,” Grober said. “Teddy also likes helping me with my classes by sitting on my laptop, but he can be very distracting when he drops his ball on my keyboard asking for treats.”
Grober and her family brought Teddy to visit their grandparents in an assisted living center.
“They really enjoyed seeing Teddy! It worked out nice because we were not allowed inside anyway so he could just say hi from outside,” Grober said.
The life of a dog can be pretty rough. Teddy has been adjusting to his new routine and trying to figure out how to keep an eye on everyone.
“I think Teddy is happy we are home but misses the down time he gets when my parents and my sisters are at school or work,” Grober said. “We pretty much have a house full of people that Teddy thinks he needs to keep an eye on, so he misses his naps throughout the day.”
Like Teddy, Toby has also been loving his longer walks and all his extra time with his owner, Kevin Stevens, junior majoring in art education.
Toby is a lab/golden retriever mix who has been Stevens’ best pal since Toby was born.
“I have been able to spend more time with Toby and boy do we love it,” Stevens said. “Whether we are going for long walks, adventures in the truck or preparing the garden, he is always by my side.”
Toby has been a lucky duck, or dog, and gets surprised with new toys, games and adventures with Stevens whenever he can.
“Toby has really fallen into a great routine with me being home,” Stevens said. “The beautiful weather is also a major positive since it gives us the chance to go outside and go on longer walks whenever possible.”
While Toby is loving his time with Stevens, he’s eager for summer days ahead.
“Toby is patiently waiting for summer so that he can swim in his pool and run through his sprinkler,” Stevens said.
Unfortunately, not all pets are loving their new schedules as much as Toby is.
Bailey Rye, senior majoring in business admininstration and minoring in management, has a black and white domestic shorthaired cat named Gus who is not loving all the new attention.
“Gus has actually been really strange,” Rye said. “Almost as if he has anxiety. I’m not sure if he’s just freaked out because our schedules have changed or if something else is going on.”
While Rye lets Gus come outside and sit next to her when the weather is nice, she still thinks Gus enjoyed his time alone before everyone was home.
Despite the reasons, students are thankful to have this extra time to spend with their pets.
“I am so grateful the shelters are emptied out from adoptions, but hope the animals will adjust well when their owners go back to work,” Grober said.
The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Winona State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, or the Winona State University student body.