The Ideal Companion


Social support is essential for the psychological well being of all human beings. What better way to fulfill that need than owning a pet! Pets are very common here at New Ulm High School. The question is, what pets do students own and what are there benefits?

I, Wyatt Huard, spoke to senior Isaac Wilfhart and asked him what his views were when it came to the “ideal pet.” Isaac owns a dog named Lucy and a cat named Riley, also known as Tubby. Isaac explained that his cat is very low maintenance and is perfectly happy without having interactions with humans. “My cat is a lazy a–, basically a cat version of me,” he said. On the other hand, Isaac’s dog Lucy is high maintenance and loves attention. If she is not already receiving a belly scratch, she loves to “paw at me” in hopes of receiving a scratching, according to Isaac. Isaac believes that he has a psychological connection with both his cat and dog. When Isaac is upset he can always rely on his cat and dog to give him some comfort and affection.

Senior Bekah Hoppe owns three cats and loves them dearly. Her newest kitten, Harold, was a stray cat that her family took in off the streets. When asked if she would own a dog over a cat, Bekah replied: “I’d say it depends on the breed.” Bekah would never own a “little yapper dog” because their barking is aggravating. The ideal dog breed that Bekah would love to own is a German Shephard due to their loyalty to their owners. Bekah has a love for cats because they are affectionate yet aloof. Senior Tristen VanKeulen doesn’t own any pets but wishes he could own a cat. “I can’t own a cat because my mom’s friends are allergic.” If he could choose a cat or dog he would choose a cat because “they are low maintenance and chill,” although that probably won’t happen anytime in the near future.

If dogs or cats are not your cup of tea, you could always settle for something small yet attractive. Junior Hannah Kennedy has owned a leopard gecko for about a year now that she purchased at Mankato Pet Expo. Hannah purchased a leopard gecko because “leopard geckos are cute and they scare my mom.” Hannah’s leopard gecko, named

Chow, is very sweet and has never bitten anyone. Hannah said, “He’s potty trained – he only goes potty in one corner of the tank.” The care for leopard geckos is simple: an aquarium, a heat lamp, a hiding spot, and some meal-worms will keep your reptile companion happy.

Mr. Nelson, a science teacher here at New Ulm High School, has two scaly companions hanging out in a terrarium in his classroom – two ball pythons named Jafar and Sepia. Mr. Nelson has had a love for snakes ever since he worked with them at a zoo in his younger days. Ball pythons are great pets because of the easy care. “They eat only once a week at most,” Mr. Nelson explained. One benefit that Mr. Nelson has is he can relate science to his pet snakes. When teaching about ecology, taxonomy, or reptiles, Mr. Nelson can always refer to his snakes. Mr. Nelson does not believe he has a psychological connection with his pet snakes but feels that he understands them well and can recognize when they’re in need.

When choosing a pet, there are many options to consider. Dogs are known for being smart and loyal, yet they crave attention. Cats are independent felines that will often seek attention when they want it. Reptiles are great pets who are visually attractive and very interesting. Pets, no matter the type, are great companions that can help psychologically.