Whit-man’s best friend

Amelia Leach, Campus Life Reporter

Photo contributed by Morgan Stone.

Taking care of something other than yourself can be incredibly beneficial to one’s mental health. For some, it’s plants; for others, it’s chia pets. For junior Simone Calero and senior Zoe Schacter-Brodie*, it’s their pets.

Schacter-Brodie owns a dog named Paco, and he lives with her in her off-campus house.

“Since I have a dog, I have to take him for a walk everyday; it helps me slow down and do things that are good for me,” Schacter-Brodie said.

Calero has a cat named Pepino, who is a certified therapy animal. While Pepino does not need to go on walks, Calero finds her steady presence comforting.

“There’s something very settling about having that uncomplicated relationship [with a pet] at college because you’re in this area where you have all these constantly fluctuating relationships [that] you want to keep healthy and balanced, but it doesn’t always work that way,” Calero said.

Calero, sympathetic to others who come to college and no longer have animals in their lives, started something called “Pepi’s office hours,” where they invited everyone living in Anderson Hall and their friends to come hang out with Pepino.

First-year Anderson resident Arlen Abbey looks forward to this every week.

“I really enjoy Pepino time. It [has] increased my general joy in life, and I met one of my best friends through Pepino,” Abbey said.

However, finding housing that will accommodate animals can be tricky — next semester, Calero will have to pay their landlord a 500 dollar fee to keep Pepino. 

Exposing animals to party environments is at the discretion of the owner, and varies between people.

“I’ve brought Paco to a few parties and he’s so chill; he just walks around,” Schacter-Brodie said.

Calero is protective of their cat and prefers not to include her in larger social gatherings. Both Calero and Schacter-Brodie care so much about their pets that they decided to make Instagram accounts for them.

“My housemates and I, last spring semester, had so much fun making up a personality for Paco. We initially made the account just for us and a few friends, but it spread through word of mouth,” Schacter-Brodie said.

Calero was constantly sending pictures of Pepino to friends and family, so they decided it would be easier to document her life on Instagram. 

Photo contributed by Simone Calero.

“I think of a lot of silly one-liners in my head, and I’m too anxious about how people perceive me to post those on my main. What avenues do I have to express this? Pepino’s account,” Calero said.

Schacter-Brodie uses the same creative outlet to share her comedic talent with the world.

“It’s like developing another writerly voice,” Schacter-Brodie said.



In distressing political climates, environments of academic pressure and when social media feeds seem to be filled with only negativity, it can be really nice to have online spaces that make you laugh and relieve some of that stress.

Sophomore Carsten Wallace-Bailey is an avid follower of both pet accounts.

“I enjoy the satire of the animals doing and saying very silly things,” Wallace-Bailey said. “It’s fun to talk to a dog on Instagram. I think the novelty of that in and of itself has helped me.”

The trend of pet Instagram accounts has been around for a while, but some Whitties find some of the more famous accounts to be “cringe-worthy.”

“It’s kind of associated with the cheugy millennial content; the use of the slang: pupper, doggo, or hooman. I can’t stand that. [I] don’t like that vernacular, [and] don’t like the message behind it,” Wallace-Bailey said.

Calero shares the same distaste for this language about pets.

“When I’m on Tinder and I see someone that’s like, ‘I have a pupper,’ I’m immediately like no,” Calero said.  

The content displayed on the @pepino.official and @pacussy Instagram accounts is more catered to gen-Zers.

Having a pet at college is a unique, exciting and at times very stressful experience. The two pet owners featured in this article find documenting their pets’ lives and “opinions” fun and entertaining, and so does the Whitman community.

* Zoe Schacter-Brodie is the Feature Editor for The Wire.