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Students comforted, inspired by their pets

Animals instill responsibility, empathy at home.

TAKING+A+BREAK.+With+his+puppy+in+his+arms%2C+senior+Jacob+Beiser+takes+a+nap%2C+recharging+after+a+long+day.+Jacob+got+Pippin%2C+his+dog%2C+after+he+lost+his+nine-year-old+dog+over+the+summer.+
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Students comforted, inspired by their pets

TAKING A BREAK. With his puppy in his arms, senior Jacob Beiser takes a nap, recharging after a long day. Jacob got Pippin, his dog, after he lost his nine-year-old dog over the summer.

TAKING A BREAK. With his puppy in his arms, senior Jacob Beiser takes a nap, recharging after a long day. Jacob got Pippin, his dog, after he lost his nine-year-old dog over the summer.

Jacob Beiser

TAKING A BREAK. With his puppy in his arms, senior Jacob Beiser takes a nap, recharging after a long day. Jacob got Pippin, his dog, after he lost his nine-year-old dog over the summer.

Jacob Beiser

Jacob Beiser

TAKING A BREAK. With his puppy in his arms, senior Jacob Beiser takes a nap, recharging after a long day. Jacob got Pippin, his dog, after he lost his nine-year-old dog over the summer.

Audrey Matzke

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It didn’t make sense. Pluto, a pet hedgehog, always had enough to eat, and junior Joana Rose never let his cage temperature fall below 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

When temperatures drop, wild hedgehogs go into hibernation. But for pet hedgehogs who aren’t used to skipping meals, hibernation can be deadly. Well versed in the care and keeping of animals, Joana knew what she had to do.

With time, cuddling and lots of warm water, Pluto woke up.

“I was insane, I was so scared,” Joana said.

“If you grow up with pets, you understand the beauty of animals and the compassion they bring to the world.”

— Joana Rose

Small enough to curl up in her palm, Pluto was entirely dependent on her care. This responsibility, some U-High pet owners say, shapes character.

Last summer, senior Jacob Beiser lost his nine-year-old dog, Trevor, to a speeding car. Most of all, he misses the enthusiastic after-school greetings.

“Having a pet that loves you is the best thing in the world,” Jacob said.

Although a dog’s love for his owner is often unconditional, Jacob makes sure to uphold his end of the bargain with his new puppy, Pippin. Jacob said he happily took on the responsibilities of walking, feeding and training him. Beyond the immediate tasks at hand, Jacob says his mind is always on Pippin.

“If it’s been a long enough time and I haven’t seen him, I know he’s up to some sort of trouble,” Jacob said.

As it turns out, Joana never seems to stop thinking about animals, either. Through volunteering at the Brookfield Zoo and arranging beach clean-ups with the U-High Wildlife Conservation Club, she is proud of her knowledge of the natural world. Joana said having pets as a young child fostered empathy for the plight of animals.

“Getting a pet made me more passionate about conservation,” Joana said, “because I saw the emotions and amazing abilities they had.”

In order to provide him with a safe habitat, Joana would spend hours cleaning Pluto’s cage. Although Pluto has since died, her effort has translated into advocacy. Joana hopes to educate her peers about unsustainable palm-oil farming practices, citing the destruction of orangutan habitats.

Additionally, Joana does not purchase animal-tested cosmetics. Although she hopes to reverse this trend by educating her peers, Joana is disheartened by people’s lack of regard for animal welfare.

“There’s no reason that animals should suffer for the sake of your vanity,” Joana said, regarding people’s decisions not to buy cruelty-free makeup.

If Joana ever were to have children, she emphasizes that she would most certainly raise them with pets in the home. Above all, she believes that animal companions help children grow into responsible, empathetic adults.

Joana said, “If you grow up with pets, you understand the beauty of animals and the compassion they bring to the world.”

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Students comforted, inspired by their pets