Even in the midst of a busy campus, the pets of the staff and faculty manage to be familiar and friendly faces to all they come across.
Most Fridays, English Professor Elizabeth Fredericks’s dog Charlotte can be found helping her grade assignments in her office. “I joke that she is the ‘PhDog’ because she was with me all through my PhD and sat with me while I wrote my dissertation, and she is often sitting with me when I’m lesson planning or grading at home,” Fredericks said.
One of the campus’ well-known pets is Simpson House Director Peggy Wilson’s dog Codie. When Codie was born, Wilson’s children couldn’t keep her at the time, and Wilson was more than happy to find Codie a home.
“My son brought her in for a weekend to see how she would do here,” said Wilson. “Of course she did great, and she never left.”
Assistant Professor of Spanish Katia Sherman’s golden retriever Lucy also frequents the campus. Lucy shares her home with 17 cats, not to mention the 10 ‘outdoor cats’ that Sherman takes care of as well. After her neighbor’s house was foreclosed and they skipped town, Sherman made the discovery of a lifetime.
“They had left a gigantic feral colony behind,” Sherman said, “so I neutered and spayed every one of them, and some of them were just so friendly that they began to move into the house.”
From there, her feline collection has only grown. “Students will find cats and bring them to me,” Sherman said. “And of course I can’t turn any cats away.”
Sherman explained that she has big plans for her cats — she plans to not only to build a home for them but also to become a certified shelter as well. “We are eventually going to file for nonprofit status so that we can ask for contributions from the community and have those be tax deductible,” Sherman said. “My plan is to hook up with student organizations and the college and have students volunteer.”
Sherman said she sees this as an excellent way to connect with the college community, offering volunteering opportunities to students.
“I think there are plenty of you with hearts that are open to animals and miss your animals that you left at home and would like to just be able to go somewhere where you can just pet things to decompress and relax,” Sherman said.