The independent student newspaper of Goucher College

Author

Julianna Head

Julianna Head has 9 articles published.

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I’m an English major with a concentration in creative writing and a Book Studies minor. My interests include animals, Star Trek, Star Wars, and books.

Goucher Pets— Poe the Bunny

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Poe the bunny! Photo Credit: Paige Harris

Owned by Paige Harris (’19), Poe the bunny is a popular rabbit on a variety of social media platforms, including Tumblr (poethebunny.tumblr.com) and Instagram (@poethebunny). His full name is Edgar Allan Poe Dameron, and though he is small in stature, he makes up for it in personality. At three years old, he is full of energy and has plenty of love to give.

“When people first meet him, they always comment on his fur,” says Harris. “Mini Rexes are known for their soft fur and friendly disposition. He’s a good specimen of his breed, and if his previous owners hadn’t lost his papers, I would have been able to show him.”

Poe was bought off of Craigslist, and has been on campus with Harris since her freshman year. “Originally me and three other people adopted him, but things got messy, custody got complicated, and now I’m his owner. He was living in a fish tank and had two toddlers constantly picking him up and dropping him. He was underweight as well. But he’s doing so much better now.”

Poe is Harris’s emotional support animal and has helped improve her overall mental health. “He’s so sweet and energetic,” she says. “It’s nice to come home to someone who’s always excited to see you.”

“It’s nice to come home to someone who’s always excited to see you.” Photo Credit: Paige Harris

When not being held or kept in his cage, Poe will run around Harris’s room. He’ll do quick circles and jump into the air for fun, an action called a binkie. He’ll also play with almost anything. “He’s played with plastic forks, sunglasses, key rings, and even phones if you put them where he can get to them. He especially loves keys though. He likes to pick them up and throw them in the air.”

Another favorite activity of Poe’s is eating, so like many other pets he is always on the lookout for food. He eats alfalfa and hay, with supplemented fruits and vegetables as treats. “His favorite food is apples. If given the chance, he would absolutely eat a whole one in a single sitting. I don’t let him though because apples are very high in sugar – something a rabbit doesn’t need a lot of,” says Harris.

In warmer months, Harris will put a harness on Poe and bring him out to the Residential Quad to let him run around. “He loves being out in the sunlight and eating the grass. I’m always a little afraid that a hawk will come down and snatch him up though.” The rabbit has met many people, including Jose Bowen. With winter having officially set in though, he is no longer allowed outside. Even Sondheim gets too chilly for the rabbit sometimes. “He hasn’t been as active lately since he really dislikes the cold on his paws. That’s the only thing that bothers him, really. Other than the fire alarms, which has luckily only gone off once.”

Sadly, though, this will be Poe’s last semester at Goucher. Harris will be transferring to another school, so she will be unable to care of Poe any longer. But don’t fret! Poe is to be given to Mikaela Smith (’19), who owns Poe’s friend, Rascal the rabbit, before becoming the class pet for a class of third graders.

Goucher Pets: Botticelli the Ferret

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Botticelli the ferret, owned by Rebecca Silber ’19, is one and a half years old and has been at Goucher since August of 2017. Silber has owned Botticelli for a little over a year.

Botticelli the ferret. Credit: Rebecca Silber

“We met at Petco,” says Silber. “I’d been frequenting the local pet shops looking for the right match for several weeks. I went to visit him multiple times until I knew he was the right one. He was much bigger, and a bit older than the other ferrets because he’d been adopted and returned. The Petco staff said that he’d been returned malnourished, with cigarette burns on his ears. I couldn’t help but get him after hearing that.”
Now, Botticelli doesn’t have to worry about mistreatment. Silber cares for him just as much as he cares for her. As her emotional support animal, Botticelli helps alleviate Silber’s anxiety. “Having him grounds me to the space and allows me to feel a sense of home,” she says. “Having him means I have to be conscious of my surroundings and that I have to be there for him. Sometimes just looking at him helps calm me down, and if I’m having a panic attack I’ll let him out and he’ll run around. Focusing on him means not focusing on myself, and I calm down far quicker.”
Running around is one of Botticelli’s favorite activities, along with digging. Silber’s succulents have been dug up more than a few times, and most of them are now dead. Botticelli also loves cat toys, such as laser pointers and anything with a string. “He’s also a big fan of any sort of bag he can get into, especially if it makes noise while he rustles around,” says Silber.
Though ferrets are a fairly common pet in the United States according to the American Veterinary Association, people often do a double-take when they see Botticelli around campus. “He’s harnessed-trained, though many ferrets aren’t because you have to get them used to the harness as soon as you get them,” says Silber. “A lot of people think he’s a very small dog or kitten when they first see him. They often ask to pet him, which he loves, and he especially loves getting attention from children. I’ve had a lot of older people tell me that they remember ferrets from the ‘80s. He’s a unique one.”
Ferrets come in a variety of colors, including chocolate, silver, albino, and cream. Like cats, ferrets can squeeze themselves into nearly any space, thanks to their flexible rib cage. Unlike cats, though, ferrets require a lot of attention.
“Ferrets aren’t good for inexperienced pet owners. Botticelli can be destructive and loves getting into my trashcan. That he’s deaf doesn’t change the fact that he can be quite mischievous.” According to Silber, about 75% of white ferrets are deaf and affectionately known as Wardys. “Because he’s deaf the construction doesn’t affect him at all. He loves it here! I spend more time with him here than I do at home.”
Ferrets, like otters, are part of the mustelidae family and are carnivores. “[Botticelli] eats a special ferret food that I get off of Amazon. Most of the ferret food in pet stores is the equivalent of junk food for ferrets. Admittedly, he likes junk food a lot more, but I’m trying to be careful because malnutrition can lead to issues with the lymph system. He loves chicken and eggs,” Silber says. “A lot of people will feed their ferrets mice or chicks, but I used to have pet rats and I can’t stomach it.”

Botticelli the ferret. Credit: Rebecca Silber

Botticelli is very friendly and can often be found sleeping, as ferrets sleep about seventeen hours a day. “He’s a great pet for a busy person. If you ever see us out and about, feel free to come say hi.”

Goucher Pets: Pringle

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The cutest cat! Photo Credit: Hannah Brogan

Cats are one of the most common pets at Goucher, and for good reason. Unlike dogs, they don’t have to be taken outside. If they have not been approved for college housing, they can easily be kept inside of a dorm room. Pringle, though, is legal. Owned by Hannah Brogan, ’19, and Ali Tomasevich, ’19, she is an orange and white tabby of about three years.

“We’re not sure of her age because she’s a rescue,” said Hannah. “In fact, we found her just outside of the SRC.”

Hannah and Ali found Pringle on April 11, 2017. They tried to contact Pringle’s owner via Facebook, but when that proved unsuccessful, Hannah ended up keeping her. She’s been at Goucher ever since.

“It’s been great having her. We love her so much, and she definitely helps keep us from being emotional train wrecks,” Hannah said.

Cats are more likely to become stray than dogs since many people believe that a cat will be able to survive better outdoors. However, this is not true. While cats retain a hunting drive that has been more easily bred out of dogs, a stray cat won’t easily survive if it has been raised indoors. Hunting takes practice, after all, and if a cat has never been able to practice, it’s not going to catch anything. According to baltimorecountymd.gov, the number of stray cats found and taken by humane societies in 2016 was 2,108, as opposed to stray dogs, who numbered 1,175. Cats were also more likely to be relinquished by their owners last year, the number totaling 867 versus 599 for dogs. Because of the mistaken belief that cats are more predisposed to living in the wild, owners who no longer want their cats may lock them out of the house or abandon them in a secluded, wooded area. Luckily for Pringle, she found her way onto Goucher’s campus.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for cat owners on campus – or for that matter, owners of any animal at Goucher – is the fire drills. So far this semester, fire drills have mostly been during the day and not in the middle of the night. Still, students often don’t know which fire alarms are drills and which ones are real. For pet owners, fire drills can be quite stress-inducing as many animals don’t like or get frightened by the noise.

“If pet owners could know about fire drills in advance so we could prepare that would be really helpful,” said Hannah. “Pringle isn’t a big fan of the great outdoors, so it can be stressful for us when we have to rush out of the building.”

A typical day for Pringle includes a lot of napping, usually in the closet. Her favorite food is chicken cat food, and she loves playing.

“Her playing sometimes involves scratching, which is more fun for her than it is for us, but she doesn’t mean to hurt us,” said Hannah.

Overall, though, Pringle is doing well and has adjusted to her new home.

Pringle loves chicken cat food and playing. Photo Credit: Hannah Brogan

TED Talks and the Cat: Part 1

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“One day, I’m gonna attend a TED talk and Bill Nye is gonna be there, and I’m gonna crowd surf up to the stage and hug him.”

Greta looks up from her textbook. “Come again?”

I nod. “I’m telling you. One of these days, man. It’s gonna be lit.”

She sighs, stuffing a pen behind her ear before rubbing her temples. “Do you even know what ‘lit’ means? Your uses leave something to be desired.”

I shrug. “It’s the spirit of the word that counts.”

She shakes her head and closes her textbook. I suppress a smile but I can’t help the way my spine straightens. My gaze drifts across the room, taking in the rows of studying students. More than a few of them are asleep, and there’s a girl seated in between two of the library’s stacks with at least five books spread out to the sides of her. From across the room a book drops and someone curses.

Greta reaches behind her and rustles through her backpack for a moment before handing me a postcard. “Well, if we’re going to be using the word ‘lit’ in such superfluous ways, you may as well read this ‘lit’ postcard my mother sent me.”

It’s a scenic shot of some tourist covered beach, but some of the picture has been scraped off, leaving white streaks of postcard innards in sight. One of the corners is badly bent and there’s a tear near the bottom. I turn the card over and squint at the giant, loopy cursive.

“When was this written, in the 1800s?” I ask, squinting.

“God, I wish. Maybe then I’d be able to make some money off of it or something.”

“My dearest daughter,” I say, reading the card aloud. “You will be glad to know that I’ve arrived and am eagerly awaiting to see you again. Watch for my arrival. You’d better be ready.” I snort and hand it back. “Yeah, because that isn’t vaguely threatening at all.”

Greta crumples it up and throws it into the trashcan. It bounces off the rim. “Goddammit. But yeah, vaguely threatening to a tee. I keep expecting to look out in the window in the middle of the night to see her standing there, watching me.”

I lean across the table and rest my chin over my crossed arms. The bench had long ago stopped feeling comfortable and the tapping of my foot has grown uncontrollable. “I’d love to see that, especially since we live on the second floor. We’d be able to call in some paranormal experts or some shit and get her experimented on.”

“If she sends me another rabbit’s foot in the mail, I say we just sic the police on her. Surely someone normal can’t have that many rabbit’s feet on hand.”

A thought occurs to me, and my mouth is moving before I can stop it. “Maybe your mother is a rabbit serial killer.” Greta shoots me a withering look.

“Hear me out,” I say. “There are worse things to be. Like an actual serial killer who kills someone and take the foot as a prize and stuffs it like they would a rabbit’s foot. Could you imagine driving down the highway seeing a human’s foot casually dangling from someone’s mirror?”

A minute passes before she says anything. “Never speak again.”

I grin. “Your comment has been noted and declined.”

She groans, running a hand through her short brown hair and dislodging the pen. It falls to the ground with a clatter and she says, “Same.”

She reaches down, picks up the pen, and shakes herself. “C’mon,” she says, packing her things, “let’s blow this popsicle stand. All this studying is going to my head.”

I stretch my legs and yank the laptop charger from the outlet, shoving it into my backpack along with two of the novels on the table and my laptop. The zipper strains but holds. I put the backpack on and the straps cut into my shoulders, the weight causing me to lose my balance for a moment.

Greta shakes her head at me. “I swear, one of these days your spine is going to snap. You know there’s this thing called carrying books in your arms, right?”

“No carrying. We die like men.”

She smacks her forehead. “Do you ever think before you talk?”

“I try not to.”

“Then you’ll be happy to know it shows.”

Goucher Pets: Bean the Sugar Glider

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Bean the sugar glider. Bonding is essential. Photo credit: Grey Cubbage

There are a variety of pets owned by Goucher students, and Bean the sugar glider is definitely one of the more exotic ones. Owned by Grey Cubbage ’19, Bean is a male sugar glider of the gray-faced variety, gray being the most standard coloration. He’s a little older than two years old and, according to Grey, has been “out of the pouch” since June, 2015. They have owned Bean and his counterpart, Spyder, since their first year.

“Bean is an emotional support animal. He’s trained to help me manage my anxiety, depression, and panic attacks,” Grey says. “I have a ton of trouble internalizing any self-care. Taking care of Bean helps me keep my whole life in check. Putting another life’s care in my hands helps me prioritize taking care of both of us.”

As an exotic species, sugar gliders are often considered ‘fad pets.’ Often, they are mill-bred through seedy companies that will sell sick, inbred animals to people who don’t expect them to be hard to take care of. “Bean is from a specialized, reputable breeder. His companion, Spyder, lost his colony to sickness, and because sugar gliders can’t be kept alone and Bean had finished his bonding training, they were paired together.”

Bonding is essential for sugar gliders, and makes them feel safe, relaxed, and happy. Though the process can be lengthy, once a sugar glider is bonded with their owner they are highly affectionate animals.

“I got Bean for company and for the special way sugar gliders behave with their bonded person,” says Grey. “They come to associate one person as ‘mom/safe/home base’ and bond closely with that person. I needed an animal that could keep me company when coming down from panic attacks, and Bean happened to be the right animal to suit my needs.”

As cute as these marsupials are, though, they are by no means easy to take care of. “Sugar gliders are a lot of work. I have to make their nectar mix made of baby food, honey, wheat germ, et cetera over twelve days, since I also have to freeze it in ice cube trays. There’s no commercially viable food that covers all their needs, so I have to keep fresh fruit, dried bugs, and special food at hand at all times,” says Grey. “Bean’s cage is really large – about the size of my Goucher dresser. It can be hard to move back and forth during semesters. By nature of being an exotic species, he’s hard to take care of.”

Of the many varieties of food he eats, Bean’s favorites are mango, cantaloupe, raspberries, spinach, meal worms, and nectar cubes. “Despite ‘sugar’ being in their name, it’s important to keep their sugar intake low. He gets unseasoned boiled chicken, eggs, tofu, fruit, and vegetables. I rotate the menu as much as I can so it doesn’t get boring.”

When Grey’s heart rate or stress level is up, Bean sticks close to them. On weekends or when he’s not with Grey, he’ll sleep all day, curled into one of his many soft bags and pouches with Spyder. In the evening, it’s playtime, and he’ll run around in a hamster ball. When Grey is at work, he’ll snuggle with them in one of the bonding pouches.

“Bean loves his wheel the most. It’s a special extra-large wheel without a center bar so his long tail won’t get stuck in it,” says Grey. “He’ll often run for hours in the middle of the night because he’s nocturnal, but thankfully I’ve learned to sleep through it. He also loves to forage for toys and plastic Easter eggs with dried fruits and snacks hidden inside them.”

Bean eats a variety of foods, including tofu and mangoes. Photo credit: Grey Cubbage

Though the construction doesn’t bother Bean, fire alarms do. “He wasn’t happy at all when the fire alarms went off at 3am in Hooper last year,” Grey says. “As for construction, it makes it hard to get to outdoor dumpsters to dispose of pet waste, so some of the pet care side of our weekly routine has become a hassle thanks to the pet policies. In the past, though, Goucher has worked well with my gliders and I. I definitely see strides being made to make the program easier to work with though, which is awesome!”

Since Bean is one of the more exotic pets on campus, Grey will get shocked, funny looks sometimes, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Goucher Pets: Daisy the Shih-poo

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Daisy and August chill in Alice’s Restaurant. Photo credit: Julianna Head

When August Shah, ‘19, walks into a room with his puppy Daisy in his arms, she  immediately becomes the center of attention. At Alice’s before our interview, an entire table of folks gets up and showers the excited pup with attention, oo-ing and ah-ing.
“This is the cutest dog I’ve ever seen in my life,” someone comments.
“She’s so soft. I love her so much,” says someone else.
After a few minutes, August is able to sit down with me. “She loves it all – the attention, the people, other animals – absolutely loves it. She likes getting away from home for a bit too.”
Daisy is August’s pet and emotional support animal. “It’s actually kind of funny. I was supposed to get a different puppy, but due to a mix-up, that one was already gone. I don’t mind though. When I saw Daisy I knew she was the one for me. I was so lucky that the name ‘Daisy’ fit her, because I’d already fallen in love with the name too.”

Daisy is a three-month-old Shih-tzu/Poodle mix, commonly called a Shih-poo. She’s brown in color and her fur is curly, a dead giveaway to her poodle lineage. She’s small and can easily fit in cupped hands. Daisy’s breeder mistreated her, but she is now living happily with August off campus. As a puppy, she sleeps most of the day. In fact, she’s only awake for about four hours each day. When she’s not sleeping, she’s playing. When I met her a week ago, her favorite toy was a bright green stuffed animal frog, with long legs perfect for a game of tug-of-war. Now, though, she prefers tennis balls.
“She likes being able to move them around and chase them,” says August. “She’ll also jump up a bit and flip over with her toy and wrestle it a little. It’s super cute to watch.”
To train her, August uses a combination of toys and affection. “She hates treats,” he says. “She loves love. She’s potty trained, crate trained, and we’re working on getting her to sit. She gets super excited and hyper sometimes, so it can be hard to get her to sit still.”

“The most lovable, playful puppy you’ll ever meet.” Photo Credit: Emily Conway

“I love her. She’s the most lovable, playful puppy you’ll ever meet. She’s brought a lot more joy into my life and has made everything so much brighter. I wouldn’t say she’s fully relieved me of stress, because puppies can be a handful, but she’s made me so much happier.”
There are many dogs on campus, but unlike some of the other animals at Goucher, dogs don’t appear to have a ‘club.’ There are no events specific to dogs, where dog owners and their pups can socialize and play. There are ‘school’ dogs, of course, such as ACE’s Lucy, but perhaps a small, dog-specific event is called for, which would allow everyone to enjoy their company.
For now, though, Daisy is content with surprise appearances at Alice’s and around campus. On warm, sunny days, she and August can occasionally be found at the picnic table in the Residential Quad next to construction, he working on schoolwork and she napping.

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Future in the Star Wars Franchise

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Since the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans have been asking a multitude of questions. Is Finn ‘force sensitive’? Who are Rey’s parents? Should Kylo Ren have a redemption arc? What was the deal with the Obi-Wan Kenobi voice-over in Rey’s Force-driven flashback? When The Last Jedi trailer arrived, there were more questions: Why does Obi-Wan have a voice over in the trailer? Does this mean he’s going to be in the movie?

Is it time for the return of Obi-Wan? Credit: StarWars Wiki

With the new toy release on September 1st featuring Force Ghost Kenobi, it seems as though LucasFilm and Disney are reviving the much-loved character. At first, it appeared that the toy was making a nod to the Original Series; however, it was released with toys featuring The Last Jedi characters, including Finn, Rey, and Luke. The inscription on the box has also led fans to believe that Kenobi will be making an appearance in Episode IX. The description reads, “Even after his untimely demise, Obi-Wan Kenobi remains a mentor to those strong with the Force.”

Kenobi’s likely return to the Star Wars epic is also highlighted by reports confirming that an Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff movie is in the works. It’s working title, ‘Joshua Tree,’ heavily implies that the movie will be set between Episodes III and IV on Tatooine. Several Tatooine shots in the Original Trilogy were filmed in Death Valley National Park, which is geographically similar to Joshua Tree National Park in California. Though there’s been no official word from LucasFilm about the working title leak, most fans are overjoyed at the prospect of a Kenobi movie. According to social media (such as Twitter and Tumblr), as long as Ewan McGregor is cast as Kenobi, many fans don’t care what happens plot-wise. Some go so far as to claim they would watch the movie even if it was two hours of Kenobi sitting in the desert and crying. Other fans are excited about the possibility of tying in other Star Wars characters seen only in the TV shows The Clone Wars and Rebels.

Set between Episodes III and IV, it would make perfect sense for Bail Organa, a longtime fan favorite, to make an appearance, especially after seeing him in Rogue One. Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s former padawan turned Rebel informant named Fulcrum, could also make an appearance. Even Breha Organa could have a cameo, along with toddlers Luke and Leia. It could feature some of Obi-Wan’s adventures on Tatooine, or it could go so far as to make him some sort of agent for the Rebellion.

The overall tone of the movie is also something fans are looking forward to. As this movie would take place during the Rebellion era, it would be easy to make the overall tone of the movie ‘screw the establishment, screw fascism, and screw the government,’ a maxim that mirrors Rogue One, The Original Trilogy, and, so far, the newest trilogy.

One other avenue that some fans want the movie to explore is the Force. The Force is, at heart, a religion, one that Rogue One touched on. Again and again, it is stressed in Star Wars that the Force is the fabric of all existence, not just a weapon. For Jedi, it is akin to talking to God. Not necessarily a sentient God, or even a personifiable one, but a higher power, nonetheless, that Speaks and has a Will and a Way. The Force is a flame that always burns, and when the galaxy has become so Dark, what other choice does Kenobi have but to put his faith in the Light? Kenobi will still be dealing with the aftermath of Order 66, the death and destruction of the Jedi Order, not to mention that Anakin turned into Darth Vader, who at the end of Episode III, Kenobi assumes dead.

Still, there is time to speculate as wildly as fans wish. The movie won’t be ready for release for a few years yet, but one thing is certain: Obi-Wan Kenobi is coming back.

JULIANNA HEAD

DogFest

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Pip the Corgi smiles for the camera. Credit: Paige Harris

Every September, the Baltimore Humane Society hosts DogFest, their biggest annual fundraiser. People bring their dogs to participate in a dog walk and other festival activities, such as the Biggest Dog Contest, Best Dressed Contest, and more.

Goucher’s Community Based Learning animal welfare program is partnered with the BHS, and they help out every year at DogFest and other events they hold.

Kathryn Vajda, ‘19, who has attended DogFest for the past two years, says, “It’s a great way for volunteers to learn more about the Humane Society before working with the animals there. It’s been an amazing way for myself and other students to learn about the different pieces that go into supporting animal welfare groups and non-profit organizations.”

Every year, the volunteers are different. One such first-timer, Rachel Haslett, ‘19, comments, “This has probably been the best day I’ve had thus far this semester. There were so many dogs. I got to pet so many dogs I lost count.”

Dogs of every shape and size were spotted at DogFest. Java, an Irish Wolfhound, was an immediate favorite among her canine companions. She and her owner sat on a bench close to the Walk-a-Thon volunteer table, allowing everyone who came through a pat. Later on, Java was spotted making friends with a golden labradoodle named Chelsea.

“Java is one of the biggest dogs I’ve ever seen in my life, but my favorites will always be the Huskies and Samoyeds. I love seeing my favorite breeds and can’t wait to own one myself someday,” said Haslett.

Other than contests, there were a variety of activities for dogs to take part in. There was a pool where dogs could swim in, fit with lifejackets and a handler in the pool to help with dogs who couldn’t swim well. There was also a tetherball available for the dogs.

“There was a bulldog who was ready to chase that ball until she collapsed. The owner kept trying to get her to leave but she was having too much fun. Eventually the owner had to carry her away,” says Paige Harris, ‘19, who also attended the event the first time this semester.

In addition, there was a ball throwing station, where owners could play fetch with their pets. There were also a multitude of vendors at DogFest, including a German Shepherd rescue group, artists, and dog-treat makers. One booth also sported a small blue-grey kitten who drew attention from many festival goers. Another non-canine guest that garnered a lot of attention was Darwin the tortoise. He arrived early to the festival in his own trailer, wearing a purple bandana to match the black and purple trailer.

Another interesting aspect of the festival is its costume contest. Though there were many beautifully dressed dogs, some of the most memorable costumes were the black lab dressed as Superman, a cream-colored dog dressed as Supergirl, the gaggle of pugs wearing tiaras, and a mutt dressed as a sailor.

“I’m definitely going next year,” says Haslett. “It was so much fun. I love being able to see so many dogs and pet them. It was definitely the best day I’ve had in a long time.”

Though DogFest has come and gone, there are still plenty of BHS events to go to this year.

Rascal: A Goucher Rabbit

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A Rascal of a Rabbit. Photo Credit: Mikaela Smith

On any given day at Goucher, students will walk down Van Meter and encounter dogs and other pets. However, students walking near Sondheim on a warm, sunny day may also see one of Goucher’s resident rabbits, Rascal. Owned by Mikaela Smith, Rascal is an eight-year-old Dutch Giant rabbit. Dutch giants are one of the largest rabbit breeds, and are easily recognizable by their distinct, often black-and-white, fur markings. Mikaela has had Rascal since he was ten weeks old and got him from a bunny farm in Missouri. This will be his third semester at Goucher as Mikaela’s emotional support animal.

Many students have emotional support animals that they bring to campus. There are a wide variety of them, including cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, and reptiles. Some animals don’t acclimate well to campus life, but Rascal seems to be having no problems.
“He’s very adaptable,” Mikaela says, “and has never really caused a fuss. He binkied yesterday (September 4th) in my room.”
Rabbits binky when they are especially happy. When a rabbit binkies, they jump into the air and twist their body and head in different directions before falling back to the ground. A binkying rabbit is a happy, relaxed, content rabbit. In addition, rabbits also flop to signal that they trust you. Flops are when a rabbit throws itself on its side. When a rabbit flops, it can be surprising to people who aren’t often around rabbits.

What a cute bunny! Photo Credit: Mikaela Smith

“When I first saw my rabbit flop, for a second I thought he had had a heart attack and died,” says Paige Harris, owner of Poe the bunny, another well-known rabbit at Goucher.

Having an emotional support animal is important to many students on campus to keep them calm and help them focus on work. “I had trouble with papers during my first year first semester here. I definitely noticed an improvement once I got him here,” Mikaela says.
Another student, who prefers not to be named, has said much the same: “I don’t know what I’d do without my pet here. She helps me calm down when I get too stressed, and taking care of her reminds me that I have to take care of myself. I’ve gotta be here for her, y’know?
And while there are many communities at Goucher, one of the newest ones caters specifically to bunnies: the Goucher Bunny Community. It recently debuted at the Involvement Fair, with Mikaela at the helm, though it’s been active for at least a semester. She is one of the founders of the community, along with Paige Harris. The Bunny Community also has a Facebook page (@goucherbunny), filled with pictures of Rascal, funny rabbit drawings, and notifications for when events take place. Most events are bunny get-togethers, where rabbits and owners alike can socialize. Even if you don’t have a rabbit, you’re welcome to come to an event to spend time with the rabbits and learn more about them.
“Rabbits are generally social creatures,” says Paige. “They live in warrens in the wild, and can form bonds. When they form bonds, it’s like they’ve found their best friend and never want to be separated.”
Just like with us, many of Goucher’s resident pets aren’t fond of the construction.

Rascal Poses. Photo Credit: Mikaela Smith

“Rascal’s mostly okay with it, he just doesn’t like the noise,” Mikaela says.
However, it’s not the construction that can cause the most stress to Goucher’s pets. It’s the fire alarms. Last week, most of the residential houses began their annual fire alarm drill. Many were glad it wasn’t happening at three in the morning like it had in the past, but the change in time doesn’t mean less stress for the animals.
Waiting in the residential quad for the alarm to stop going off, I witnessed someone run past a safety officer and into Sondheim. When they returned, they had Rascal in their arms, his ears high and alert.
“I couldn’t just leave him,” they said. “When I got in he was freaking out and banging his head against his cage. He hates these things.” They walked away, taking him to a quieter part of the quad so that he could calm down and hopefully munch on some grass.
Rascal is fine now and enjoying some of his favorite activities: eating lettuce, running around, and nibbling on Mikaela’s things.

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