Columbia Heights, Minnesota
By Brenda Sanchez, iLander Staff Reporter
How’s Fido, Rex or Whiskers doing? Or maybe you have a fish, bird or reptile as a pet. Many Heights teens have owned or currently own a pet, but some students haven't had that opportunity. The iLander talked to people of both sides to learn about the connection people have with animals.
CHHS sophomore Freda Robles does not have any pets.
“First of all, my apartment doesn't allow big or noisy animals,” Robles said. “And second, I feel that I would not be able to give this creature as much attention as it needs.”
But for those who have loyal companions, they adore them.
CHHS junior Brandon Reger enjoys having a seven-year-old cat named Shadow. The family loves the cat; they are very close to him, enough where they consider him a part of the family. Reger tries to spend more time with his cat as possible, but of course it is difficult with his busy schedule.
Reger said there are a lot of ups with having a pet, including the enjoyment of a companion. However, he said what is a downer is the fact that taking the right and proper care of an animal can be pricey.
“It’s hard when you have to pay for necessities,” Reger said. “You always want the best for your animals, and it’s hard when you can’t provide for them.”
Cats are popular, but the dog is another common pet. CHHS sophomore Kristen Landwehr has a six-year-old female beagle named Princess. Her family takes time to play and feed Princess. Her grandparents even watch the dog when Landwehr’s sister and parents go on vacation. With all the love her family provides it seems she gets the royal treat.
“My dad plays football with her, and sometimes even jokes with her, saying we can keep her for another day,” Landwehr said.
Landwehr enjoys Princess’ company. It brightens up her day when Princess is excited to see her when she comes home from school. It also is comforting to her when Princess sleeps with Landwehr.
She can also be motivating when Landwehr decides to go for a run, because Princess likes to run along with her. What can be annoying, Landwehr said, is picking up her poop -- and the howling and whining at night because the dryer is on.
“I still love her no matter what, though,” she said.
With having a pet, there comes the sad moment when a pet has to be put down. This has happened often for CHHS sophomore Amy Magnuson. Over her lifetime, her family has had more than a dozen different types of animals. From all those pets, she only has one dog named Lexi left.
“It’s very sad when a pet dies,” Magnuson said. “Eventually, you get over it; but it’s always a bummer.”
For CHHS senior Josh Olayiwola, the death of his two parakeets was an experiment-oriented accident. August and Escargo were the names of the birds. He had them for seven years. When Olayiwola was 16, he wanted to see how long his birds could last without being fed. He only gave them water. After a month, his favorite bird died and he buried it in his backyard. In order to save the other bird, he started feeding it. Luckily, that one died of old age.
“I didn't mean to torture the birds, nor did I want to kill them,” Olayiwola said. “I just didn't really think that experiment through..”
“I just gave them the tough love they needed,” he said with a sad smile.
Pets can be expensive. The price ranges can really vary depending on the breed, pedigree or type of animal. Exotic pets are fun but hard to maintain. It can be a hassle, but a loyal pet is always nice to be around. After all, isn't a dog a man's best friend?
(Photo: CHHS Sophomore Jesse McCormick loves cuddling and playing with her two dogs, Fritz and Norman. Photo by Brenda Sanchez.)