Not everyone’s first thought when packing their bags and heading off to college is adopting a furry friend. But for these students having someone to cuddle up with at night is more than rewarding. Taking care of a pet while trying to navigate college and adult life isn’t for everyone. But, these students have found a way to balance academics and give their fur babies all the love and attention they need. Being a pet parent takes a lot of work and commitment, but it’s so hard to resist how cute they are! Warning, this might make you want to run to the nearest animal shelter.
Olivia Bergmeier & her Pitbull Pittsburgh (Pitty)
Pittsburgh, also known as Pitty by his humans, was adopted by Olivia Bergmeier, senior
in journalism, and her fiance in April of 2019 through the Beauties and Beasts Animal Rescue. Pitty was found injured along the side of the road by a good samaritan. He had been shot in his leg and had to have it amputated. With the help of his new parents, Pitty has made a full recovery and has just recently been companion certified. This allows him to accompany Bergmeier wherever she goes. Pitty has a lot of favorite things including french fries, car rides, his toy rope and meeting new friends anywhere he goes.
“He’s as happy as can be,” Bergemeier said. “He’s the happiest dog I’ve ever seen.”
One of the hardest adjustments for Bergmeier and her fiance is finding somewhere for him to stay since both of them like to travel. Nonetheless, Pitty has become a part of his humans’ lives as much as they have become a part of his.
Lally Pribyl & her bunny Kylie
Kylie is a very social bunny and loves her owner, Lally Pribyl, senior in interior design. Pribyl got Kylie three years ago and is her first pet since going off to college. Being a bunny mom has required a lot of work and commitment from Pribyl.
From raising her in the dorms to living with her roommate, who also has a bunny named Peaches.
One of the most unique things about Kylie is that she snores like an old man in her sleep. Kylie’s diet consists of timothy hay, romaine, carrots and apples. She will also eat dried fruit when it is given to her as a treat. Since bunnies teeth are constantly growing, Kylie chews on many things including phone and computer cords, crocs and basically anything she can get her paws on. Her personality comes out when she’s excited to see Pribyl, as she hops around everywhere doing what is called “binkying” (seriously, look it up on YouTube, you won’t regret it). Pribyl and her roommate don’t keep their bunnies in cages or enclosures, which allows them to hop around as they please. Apparently litter training a rabbit isn’t as hard as you’d think.
“I would say this about any pet, but don’t get a bunny unless you do your research,” Pribyl said. “Yeah they’re cute and they’re fluffy but they’re a lot of work and you have to feed them once or twice a day and make sure they’re taken care of.”
Laura Keener & her cat Gia
Laura Keener, senior in journalism, adopted her cat Gia through the T. Rights Russell Animal Shelter about a year ago. Gia is now a spunky, sassy one-year-old.
“She acts like she’s just a little child like she’s needy and sassy but has just a big personality,” Keener said. “Taking care of her has really helped my mental health because she is the reason I get up in the morning some mornings. She’s always here to love on if I need to.”
Keener found Gia after doing a broadcast story for one of her classes on the T. Rights Russell Animal Shelter. Gia had been found with her brother on a street by a woman who didn’t want the cats and Gia’s brother had already been called for when Laura was interested in Gia.
Some of Gia’s favorite things include taking laps around Keener’s apartment complex on her leash and getting to take car rides to the parks around town, as well as making friends with the other dogs they see around. Gia’s favorite snack is Temptations chicken flavored treats. She does not like fish scented or flavored food. As a part of Gia’s curiosity, she loves to watch Keener’s fish, get into the trash can and most recently into a kitchen cabinet to eat half a bag of her favorite treats.
Zachery Brunner & his cat Tux
Zachery Brunner, senior in computer science, got Tux on Halloween 2019. Brunner had initially received Tux through a friend’s roommate, who had a litter of two kittens who were in need of homes. Tux was named after his tuxedo patterned fur and despite being described by Brunner as an anxious kitty, he has grown through his love with his human and is now a quite curious cat. Tux loves watching everything Brunner does and has to be right by his side. Part of Tux’s curious personality is that he will eat almost anything, including stealing food from Brunner and attempting to eat grape stems.
“I don’t think there’s a thing this cat won’t eat,” Brunner said. “He eats my wooden bed frame.”
Tux has tried to eat plastic, paper, and human food. His favorite sleeping spot is the top of the fridge, he even sits like a human next to Brunner. Tux’s love for Brunner shows in his companionship and admiration for his owner.
Carmen Lee & her cat Meatball
Meatball is a black manx cat named after her chubby kitten self. Carmen Lee, junior in biology, got Meatball from her mom’s Manx cat who had kittens and is now six months old.
Lee has other pets including a 12-year-old chihuahua named Taco, two guinea pigs named Chester and Smudge and a corn snake named Phoenix that Meatball loves to play with. Meatball loves to sit on Lee’s shoulder as she walks around her home. She also enjoys interacting with all her pet siblings and Lee’s roommates. She will even play fetch!
Manx cats are a rare breed with no tail. Meatball will hop when she gets excited like a bunny, which is a trait of manx cats.