National Love Your Pet Day: Get to know SU’s pet parents

Get to Know SU's Pet Parents

This year more than ever, pets have provided the smiles and support essential for getting through difficult times.
Published: February 19, 2021
SU sophomore Mandy Good holds her dog, Bentley, who she adopted in May 2020.
SU sophomore Mandy Good holds her dog, Bentley, whom she adopted in May 2020.

Amid a time of virtual schooling, social distancing restrictions and feelings of isolation, many Syracuse University students turned to pet adoption to help find a source of light in their lives.

Celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 20, National Love Your Pet Day offers a time for people to stop and think about the joy and companionship that their furry (or scaly) friends bring them on a daily basis, but especially throughout the pandemic.

Although a lot has changed in the world over the last year, the verdict on loving pets unconditionally remains the same, if not stronger for pet owners at SU. 

An Aquatic Companion

Sophomore Ariel Samuel adopted her beloved betta fish, Raven, eight months ago and brought him to her apartment on South Campus this year. Samuel had a fish when she was younger and “it seemed fun to get to take care of something again,” she said.

With online classes sequestering her in her apartment most of the time, Samuel looks for entertainment and humor in Raven’s habits like when she hides in her tunnel. After staring at a screen all day during classes, Samuel looks to the color-changing lights in Raven’s tank, which she describes as “therapeutic.”

Dog Dad on Campus

Ryan Yon is an army veteran in his sophomore year at SU. Over the summer, he adopted his American golden retriever, Gunner, so that he could have ample time to train his puppy before the school year. Yon always wanted to have a golden retriever during his childhood and felt that the tumultuous events throughout the past year marked the best time to become a dog dad.

“He definitely makes the house a little less lonely. It’s nice living with your best friend,” he said.

Due to the pandemic, many people struggle to find a reason to leave the house, but Yon always has a reason with Gunner. While keeping his owner company, Gunner always helps Yon stay motivated and active, he said.

“He’s made me more responsible. You have someone at home that you have to make sure is taken care of,” he said. Gunner’s constant smiles and excitement from sun-up to sun-down give Yon a reason to celebrate his pet’s positivity this year. 

Not Your Average Roommate

After experiencing hard times over the past year, sophomore Mandy Good took a big step.

In May of 2020, Good adopted Bentley, an English golden retriever. As an offically registered emotional support dog, Bentley is Good’s new roommate on South Campus. Bentley helps Good with time management, helping her remain on task and in motion. While she loves having him around, Good said it can be difficult to balance life as a full-time student and dog mom.

“I had an orgo exam and he had to go out at the same time,” she said. “It is challenging because we will want to hang out with friends or go to dinner and I can’t.”

While Good has her hands full between juggling online schooling, social life and dog parenting, having Bentley on campus brings a great deal of love and joy to her and her friends that she wouldn’t pass up.

“There is not a moment where he’s not doing something silly or chaotic that makes me or my friends laugh hysterically. He’s become my little buddy,” Good said.

The Dynamic Duo

Senior Anna Gulizio decided to spend her last year on campus with her two guinea pigs Freddie and Mercury. Gulizio has animals at home, so when she started to miss them on campus and watched a TikTok of the furry animals, she “acted a bit too impulsively” in adopting her own guinea pigs.

Both Gulizio and her friends enjoy feeding and playing with Freddie and Mercury. Their presence has added a fun way to share laughs during what has been a difficult year for many students isolated in their off-campus housing. In particular, Gulizio adores the way her guinea pigs chew its lettuce and finds that taking care of her dynamic duo has been “pretty low maintenance.”

This National Love Your Pet Day, make sure to spoil your pets with extra treats, more playtime or just loads of affection. Take the time to thank your little companions for adding unpredictable joy to your day-to-day experiences, especially during this unprecedented year.