Because of the College’s ban on any pets not of the small and scaly variety, students who miss their cats and dogs from home have few options besides attempting to make friends with Gambier’s cohort of occasionally friendly and possibly diseased feral felines. Professors, however, are allowed to have whatever pets they want, just because they live in “private homes” that they “own.” This week, we get to know four professors and their animal companions. Pictures and adorable animal facts behind the jump.
Professor of English Adele Davidson and her cats
- Names: Mopsy and L.C. (Little Cat, pronounced “Elsy”).
- Ages: Mopsy is 16 and was adopted from the Mount Vernon animal shelter as a 10-week-old kitten; L.C. is about seven and has lived with Davidson for three years.
- Favorite foods: Village Market deli turkey, Davidson’s mother’s chicken.
- Hobbies: Hiding from visitors, sitting on papers to be graded.
- Backstory: L.C. was quite scrawny when he showed up at Davidson’s door, but has now bulked up. Part of his paw had to be amputated due to damage when he was feral, and he’s still a little bit wild.
- Escape attempts: Mopsy sometimes got out while Davidson’s parents took care of her during Davidson’s stint at the Kenyon-Exeter program … but she’d eventually realize life in the Davidson household was more comfortable than the cold hard world of Gambier and come back.
- Bizarre fact: L.C.’s unconventional name comes from Davidson’s failed attempt to avoid getting too attached to him when he showed up, like how Holly Golightly’s cat is named “Cat.”
Associate Professor of Dance Balinda Craig-Quijada and her South American red footed tortoises
- Names: Wimpy, Dent (his shell is oddly shaped because a sibling slept on top of him as a baby), Penelope, Juke.
- Ages: This species of tortoise can live for up to 90 years, according to Craig-Quijada, but none of hers are that old. Penelope, the oldest, is about 23. “I think they would live forever, it’s just something has to kill them,” she said.
- Favorite foods: Anything. Mostly vegetables, but wild tortoises scavenge, and Wimpy has been known to enjoy unattended hamburgers at barbecues.
- Hobbies: Plotting how to escape their pen. The tortoises will not, sadly, be attending Craig-Quijada’s site-specific dance performance, Awakening the Familiar, because tortoises and the Kokosing do not mix well (see below).
- Backstory: Smuggled into the country from Venezuela by Craig-Quijada’s father. Related to Galapagos tortoises, but much smaller.
- Escape attempts: This September, Craig-Quijada received a phone call from Professor Davidson telling her that one of the tortoises had been spotted in the street after escaping from the pen in the back garden. The tortoise was retrieved safely. Bizarrely, the tortoises had also escaped a year to the day before this most recent incident. Thinking Wimpy was a turtle, one well-intentioned citizen placed him in the Kokosing, where he floated for days before being found (tortoises are land animals).
- Bizarre fact: Male tortoises have concave bottom shells, which allow them to mount the (flat-bottomed) females more easily. Otherwise, they might fall off, roll over and die. (Now that’s what I call unsafe sex.)
Associate Professors of English James Carson & Deborah Laycock and their German shepherd-husky mix
- Name: Fergus
- Age: About two, according to a vet’s analysis of his teeth.
- Favorite foods: Not vegetables. Will jump up and down with excitement at words “Are you hungry?”
- Hobbies: Bonding with his friend Durga (Associate Professor of English Janet McAdams’ dog) over their mutual fear of thunderstorms, meeting people, going for walks, ignoring his dog toys, sleeping.
- Backstory: Adopted from the Mount Vernon animal shelter in May.
- Escape attempts: Has a habit of dragging his humans into bushes to pounce on prey.
- Bizarre fact: Once caught a skunk due to the aforementioned habit. The skunk escaped, but not Fergus. “After giving Fergus several baths that evening, we could eventually tolerate the odor,” Laycock said.