Pandemic Pets


Image by Isabelle Cross

Holland Lop Rabbit
Driving several hours to a rabbitry in Kentucky, the Cross family welcomed Pimi, a holland lop rabbit, into their home. This little lad has a notable pair of ears, drooping down on the sides, as a common feature for lop-eared bunnies.
Before COVID, getting a pet was not much of an option for the family when they were constantly on the move, leaving the town days in a row. Last year, however, when the family stayed in the locked doors and windows, the want of accepting another family member grow. Previously in Amsterdam, they have lived with two rabbits. And Pimi is, in fact, a Dutch name.
“We convinced my mom first… [because] she loves rabbit.” Isabelle Cross said.
Living in a designated space with a ramp, bottle of water, and restroom, the little bunny quietly finds himself a comfortable place in the family to nap and dream, tugging his head into that fluffy chest fur and laying his paws gently on the floor. Extremely quiet and still. Pimi sometimes looks like a statue. During the night, sometimes the family would hear him scratching the paper board.

“When I get home from school I would be able to pet him. And It’s really nice.” Cross said.
Cross would regularly open the top lid of the cage, allowing Pimi to hop around their home. The little rabbit would take this time to leap onto Cross’ laps and stay to cuddle, smushing his head down on his paws as she is petting him. Throughout the day, Pimi remains calm and patient. The mere presence of him in the room seems to have calmed down the most anxious mind in the family. However, the only exception to his calmness is when he was brought outside in a carrier, then he thumps his paws briskly on the floor of the carrier as a sign of anxiety.

When I get home from school I would be able to pet him. And It’s really nice.

— Cross

“It is not too much work to [take care of him],” Cross said.
Besides occasional cleaning of the beddings, Pimi keeps himself clean and odorless. Throughout the day, Isabelle’s sister spreads the palettes and hays little by little. Pimi chews diligently with his fluffy three-pieced mouth, looking at you with his watery eyes. And when the family eats oatmeal, Pimi would also get some dry oats — his favorite treat.
Holland lop rabbits typically enjoy a life span between seven to ten years. The Cross family is more than happy to have him be part of their family.

Image by Jessie Lin

Domestic Short-Hair Cat
“I let her into my room and she climbs onto my chest and lays there and purrs.” Jessie Lin said.
This is what Lin’s morning routine looks like. In May 2021, Lin got Minnie for placing at the state auditions for piano. She has always wanted a cat.
“If it was not during COVID, I would probably have gotten her earlier,” Lin said.
Now Minnie is almost one year old. She is calm and sleeps for most of the day, indifferent to the surrounding. On the windowsill, on couches, on tables, you can find her presence everywhere. Compared to rabbits, she sleeps in more postures. Mine could curl up into a ball while resting her head on her tail, or she would tuck her hands into her chest while sitting like a rabbit, and she could also lie sideways on the ground with her legs fully stretched out. If you listen closely, you can hear her purring. Besides sleeping, Minnie spends her time licking and cleaning herself, from fingernails to the white belly fur. In contrast with her lazy appearance, Minnie has some great athletic skills, jumping from platform to platform, navigating her way through the most crowded areas. With this skill, Minnie spends the remainder of her waking time actively causing damage to Lin’s house.
“Couches, sofas, bedsheets… She also broke a key on my keyboard recently… I will scold her, not that she understands though,” Lin said.
Whenever Minnie wants to seek your attention or be playful, she would come to you and rub herself against you or roll her back on the floor. However, if you accidentally stepped on her tail or continuously interrupted her sleep, she would whip her tail and focus all of her attention in one spot. And when there is a stranger in the house, she would lower her body and rush to find herself in a corner or hide under a bed.

Couches, sofas, bedsheets… She also broke a key on my keyboard recently… I will scold her, not that she understands though

— Jessie Lin

“You can tell that Minnie is scared whenever her pupils dilate really large and when the fur on her body puffs up,” Lin said. In turn, Minnie could also sense when Lin feels sad and comforts her by laying down quietly next to her. This kind of accompany helps Lin to recover and gradually feel better.

“But [taking care of Minni] is not that time consuming,” Lin said. Lin and her family have to clean the litter frequently and feed her 2-3 times a day. Besides the daily cat food, Minnie also gets additional treats. And her favorite is icing on Wholefoods Berry Chantilly cake.
“Cats are definitely significantly calmer than dogs,” Lin said.

Image by Madison Whittaker

Golden Doodle
Never underestimate your dog’s ability to steal the meal. Madison Whittaker learned this after Kody stormed several of her family meals.
Usually, they would feed Kody two times a day. But he eats anything, in particular, fried eggs. He would sit next to you, waiting for his egg to be finished. As the second passed by second, Kody gradually barks, asking why is his egg still not finished. He waits. And waits. A century seemed to have passed. Another. Finally, he saw his beloved egg out of the pan.
“He just ate it hot, right from the frying pan,” Whittaker said.
Besides fried eggs, Kody loves chicken and rice. He fell in love with this dish when he went to the vet for an ear infection. And the vet fed him with chicken and rice. Another dish that he loves is fried eggs.
However, Kody could be disastrous to the furniture, like teething with the table legs. Whittaker learned to put lemon juice on them. Sometimes, Kody serves as a major distraction when doing homework. He would jump on the bed, which he is not allowed to.
“I don’t know how he did it, but he would harden himself [and it is] really heavy to pick him up,” Whittaker said.
Kody loves cold weather, especially the winter storm a couple of weeks ago. He runs around the yard and barks to invite Whittaker and her family to come outside. On snowy grounds, he leaves plum blossom imprints. And the bark of this 60-pound golden doodle could sound intimidating to strangers.
“But he is really friendly,” Whittaker said.

When I am stressed out, he serves as a stress reliever

— Madison Whittaker

Whenever he is happy, he would jump on people. Though his bark is intimidating, he is actually really friendly. This 60-pound golden doodle. Kody usually wakes up early. And asks the family to take him outside. “When I am stressed out, he serves as a stress reliever,” Whittaker said.

They try to train him. They try to let him wait till they give him instructions on when he can eat. Kody is smart and impatient. “When he gets impatient of the training, he would run and bark at the tree,” Whittaker said.

Madison remembered that Kody came as a surprise from her parents. They drove to a little town in Missouri and got him from a breeder. Before the pandemic, the family had the intention of getting a dog. As the girls grow older, their parents want to teach them how to take responsibility.

Image by Sarah Leary

If Scout is hungry, she would walk around the house with her bowl in her mouth.
“[COVID] kind of just speed up the process [for us to get Scout],” Sarah Leary said.
Leary’s family had the thought of getting a dog before COVID. During quarantine, they finally got Scout, the 56-pound pit bull, from Needy Paws Rescue. When they got her from her foster family, Scout was already a grown dog, knowing several tricks, like sitting down and standing up.
“We kind of joked [at one point] that if school is going to remain closed for the next two weeks, we are going to get a dog, which it did,” Leary said.
For most of the time, Leary spends her time walking and fetching with Scout. Every morning when Sarah Leary tries to walk Scout outside. whines a little; Scout is reluctant to be out in the morning fog. “When she does not want to do something, she whines a lot and does this thing with her ears inside out,” Leary said.
If you see Scout Gumbatz goes to the trash and get out plastic bottles, she probably wants your attention, according to Leary. When Leary is doing her homework, sometimes Scoutie would want to play with her.
“[Scout] would put her paw on my arm and ask to be petted. Sometimes I have to type with one hand.”
Scout likes bread a lot and once stole a loaf of bread from the counter. Cookies are also a source of happiness for Scout. But basically, Scout eats anything. The Leary family enjoys the presence of Scout who laughters into the family.