Written by Joyce Jiang

Let the pets of PRISM brighten up your day.  When it comes to our furry friends, they are our family, our loved ones, the ones who cheer us up when we are sad, share in our happiness and keep us sane when the world around us has gone wild. These five pets are no different.

Meet Pluto, a Bichon Frise-Shih Tzu mix. Pluto belongs to Soumya Kona, a third year majoring in public relations. Kona’s family adopted Pluto the summer before she started sixth grade, after years and years of asking. Pluto enjoys chasing after Kona’s brother, following him whenever he leaves the room and trying to fight other dogs who receive his attention. When living in Gainesville, Kona misses talking to and hanging out with Pluto, who she also affectionately calls Pluto Wuto, Diamond, or Ashkashbakashash.

An adopted gator, Toby the pug-beagle mix was adopted by Holly Smith six years ago. Toby can be very nervous: he gets scared by Smith’s brothers, whom he has known since puppyhood; he enjoys hiding in a distant corner and barking at the doorbell; and can seem to be oblivious of what is going on around him. However, Toby is incredibly well informed about the state of politics in the United States. When left alone with the television remote, Toby will change the channel to C-SPAN to watch senate debates. To Smith, Toby is her favorite cuddler, the first dog she can remember raising and the inspiration for pursuing a political science degree.

Meet Wicket, named after the brave Ewok from “Star Wars.” Emily Miller, a second year biology major, adopted Wicket almost two years ago from her hometown rescue clinic. Wicket’s favorite pastimes include walking in slow-motion under low-hanging bushes or pine tree branches and sleeping in what others may believe to be uncomfortable positions (upside down, with two legs or his head hanging off of the end of a couch, tucked into a single stair, on top of people in various conformations or curled around and in between table and chair legs). Although Wicket weighs 65 pounds and enjoys playing with dogs of all sizes and shapes, he is deathly afraid of all cats. When Miller goes home, her favorite part is seeing Wicket jump straight up in front of the front door and howl as she walks up the driveway.

Say hello to Sam, an almost nine-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever. When Julia Garcia, a second year biology major, adopted Sam back in fifth grade, she chose Sam because of his large paws and because he was the only puppy in a litter of 12 that was sleeping peacefully in the corner. Garcia’s family thought that meant that Sam would grow up to be calm, but they were definitely wrong on that account. As Garcia’s best friend, Sam can be nosy and crazy but an essential member of their family. After dinner, Sam will grab his favorite toy and wait in the family room for all his favorite humans to sit and watch the evening news together. After weekend breakfasts, Sam stands by the sliding glass door to sit outside in the lanai with the parents. When he sees an open garage door on afternoon walks, Sam will drag Garcia across the street to say hello, like any good neighbor and get his treat. 

Last but not least is Tilapia. Tilapia is currently being fostered by Tiffany Liu, but Liu hopes to adopt her soon. Tilapia is playful, loves cuddling and has a very cute meow. Tilapia believes that everything is a toy for her, including the circuits that Liu built for her physics lab. Despite her many shenanigans, Tilapia holds a special place in Liu’s life.