Behold! The adorable pets of The Heights Herald staff!

With the COVID-19 crisis among us, countless people have been affected by the lethargic grips of shelter-in-place quarantine and reruns of old TV shows until this entire thing blows over. Of course you’ve been busy on Twitter or Instagram, seeing the empty shelves and stories of cases in areas close to you or loved ones, but how about something uplifting? Something like…the pets of the Heights Herald staff! Something to keep us PAWsitive in these RUFF times! No need to thank me, it’s the LEASHED I could do. 

Something interesting about pets that everyone needs to hear right now is that caring for a critter at home is scientifically proven to be therapeutic! According to two studies for the Journal of Research in Personality in 2012, research shows that having pets near you, or even thinking about pets, lowers your blood pressure and allows you to complete more tasks. In addition to being therapeutic stress relievers, pets also increase heart health, provide a much-needed companionship and help us live in the moment. For those of you who don’t have a cute little animal companion, just thinking about pets helps relieve stress just as well. 

Now that we’ve gotten the facts out of the way, let’s meet some pets!

First we’ll start with our fearless leader. Mr. Chris Polley’s cats are Punky Mewster and Geronimo Lynn. Punky a.k.a. Punk is a white tabby and is named after the 1980s sitcom “Punky Brewster”. Punky is a bit of a jerk to her family but she has a soft spot for Polley’s son Dignan. Miss Geronimo a.k.a. Mo, G-Mo, and Polley’s personal favorite, Gerry, is a long-haired calico. Did you know calicos are exclusively female? Geronimo is an old lady cat who used to live on a farm. Talk about a cowgirl kitty!

Meet Icecream. Icecream is our cartoonist Sol Schindler’s guinea pig! Icecream likes to squeal for attention or food. A few of beloved Icecream’s nicknames are Mr. Worldwide and Mr. Neapolitan. Despite being an old man, Icecream still ‘popcorns’, which is a tendency of young guinea pigs. Popcorning is when a guinea pig is so happy or excited that they start hopping around making them look much like a popping popcorn kernel.

Next we have Co-Editor-in-Chief Peter Heryla’s two Pembroke Welsh Corgis: Hawkeye and Maggie. Hawkeye howls while Peter plays the piano, avoids storm drains while on walks, and growls at his mom’s jewelry box. Maggie is a huge fraidy cat of the outdoors, is very protective of Hawkeye, and doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of fetch too well. Both Corgis indulge in a bit of howling when the tornado test sirens go off. Peter’s mom likes to call them Mr. Eye and Ms. Mags, respectively. Both pups are named after characters from a show that aired in the 1970s called “M*A*S*H”, Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce and Margaret Houlihan.

News Editor Ms. Molly Wilson’s poodle is named Hugo. Hugo is quite the ball of energy. From afar he might seem like a big scary guard dog but is a huge lover and will jump up on you. Certain guests at Molly’s house get Hugo super excited and he’ll go on one of his “crazy runs”, which includes him running about the house and jumping on furniture in pure enthusiasm. Like most dogs, Hugo’s archenemy is the mailman and will stop at no lengths to get him to leave his family alone. He’s even broken a window in his pursuit to stop said mailman.

One of our newest staff writers, Hannah Bailey, owns a former stray cat named Marty, named after, that’s right, Marty McFly from the iconic sci-fi movie “Back to the Future”. Marty loves to eat and has a big chubby stomach that really shows when he’s laying down. One day Marty had gotten out and stayed outside meowing for five hours before Hannah’s dad found him outside.

A&E Editor Bill Alexon’s Lab and Border Collie mix, Toby, has a habit of closing the bathroom door so he can look at himself in the mirror. A few of the funny nicknames his family calls him Tobynoxious, Toblerone and Tobert. Toby likes to run around inside, sprinting back and forth through the house making circles and running into walls. If you haven’t guessed already, this guy is only 10 months old! But don’t let his age deter youhe weighs over 120 pounds!

Staff writer Jasmin Dominguez’s two-year-old kitten Astrid is a playful, sassy girl. Despite being a cat, Astrid likes to play fetch with one of her feather toys that has long lost all of its feather and often will act like a dog. She’s a talkative young lady who likes to go on walks too! Astrid often gets called Gato (the Spanish word for “cat”), maybe to remind her that she’s actually a cat, not a dog. In addition to that silly nickname, in moments of tenderness she’ll also get called “mi niña” and “mi princesa”.

We next have staff writer Sachi Yang’s Shiba Inu, Maru. Maru, being the little playboy he is, likes to wink at people and, in his crazier moments, will headbutt the blinds if he hears another dog outside or something of the like. Maru often gets called Bread because of his handsome, breadly appearance. Despite his seemingly kind disposition, Maru is well-known for being quite the fiend. He once ate all of Sachi’s sister’s dumplings and ran off before she could stop him! Maru also has a white Shiba sister named Tofu. That’s quite a delicious pair!

Web Editor Nixi Hults’s two cats Xindi and Anara are an interesting duo to say the least. Xindi will get super excited and do her kitty parkour called ‘wall jumps’ which is where she’ll leap at the wall and kick off of it. Anara has a quirky meow and loves to get her tummy rubbed. Cats’ bellies are the most sensitive part of their body; if a cat lets you touch their tummy, it must mean they really trust you! Xindi and Anara are most often called pet names such as “baby” and “cutie pie”. Anara prefers to slide and fall off the couch rather than get down in a sensible way and Xindi likes enjoying elevated views from the shoulders of her family. She’s known for taking matters into her own paws if you don’t pay attention to her, going as far as jumping all the way up to Nixi’s shoulders. Acrobat? More like acroCAT!


Staff Writer Nevaeh Wakulenko Wright’s new puppy Balenci is an Australian Shepard and Black Lab mix. Balenci likes to sleep under Nevaeh’s bed and hates coming out from underneath. He has a nightly routine of running around the couch before curling up to bed—must be all that puppy energy. Balenci gets called ‘puppas’ and ‘baby’ by his family. Currently, Nevaeh is hard at work training him to close the door but he’s not seeming to pick up on it as fast as she’d like.


While the Coronavirus weighs heavily on our minds, the importance of community and positivity in difficult times such as these really makes itself known. During this quarantine, animal shelters have been cleared of all their pets as people are much more available to train a puppy now then they would be if they were still at work. Take some time today to be thankful for those who are still working during quarantine and give your animals a little extra love.