Teacher's Pet is a Ball State Daily News series featuring university faculty/staff and their pets. If you have any suggestions as to who we should feature next, send an email to email@example.com.
Editor's note: Teacher's Pet is a Ball State Daily News series featuring university faculty/staff and their pets. If you have any suggestions as to who we should feature next, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What has five eyes, 12 legs and three tails?
That would be either a really weird Halloween costume or journalism professor Kimberly Lauffer’s furry family.
Lauffer has three pets: two Shih Tzus, Molly and Gabby, and a cat named Mungo.
“Molly’s actually blind,” Lauffer said, “I had to have one of her eyes removed over the summer.”
Gabby escorts Molly her around, with mom’s help of course.
When Lauffer first got Gabby, when Molly could still see, Molly would keep Gabby in line. Even though Molly's sight is now gone, Molly and Gabby are still the best of friends.
One of the girls’ favorite things to do is come with their mom to work.
Journalism instructor Michelle O’Malley said she likes seeing the dogs at work.
“They’re well behaved and cute,” she said.
Lauffer loves taking the dogs to class.
“Gabby is the social butterfly,” Lauffer said. “Molly kind of clings to me.”
Gabby likes to go from student-to-student and lap-to-lap. Molly stays up by mom. They may be different, but they both love the attention they get.
They love helping mom with office hours and helping kids study … or not.
Mungo, however, doesn’t have the sweet school boy personality.
“Mungo is a little mischievous,” Lauffer said. “He’s got a good sense of humor. He’s definitely an interesting and comical little cat. ”
One of the ornery cat’s mischievous behaviors is when he spooks Molly by swatting at her as she walks by. He also likes to get frisky with food — food that doesn’t belong to him.
“He knows he’s not supposed to eat the dogs’ food,” Lauffer said. “I have these little plastic covers over the dog dish when the dogs aren’t eating. He’ll sit there and grab the plastic and toss the bowl. He has a full bowl of food, but he wants to eat the dogs’ food instead.”
Perhaps one of the reasons he doesn’t like to go to school with mom is because he doesn’t like reading all that much.
“He’s very skittish with noise,” she said. “In bed at night, I tend to read a little bit, and he’ll sit on me as I’m reading. I’ll turn a page, and he’ll shoot right up and run out of the room. The noise of turning the page startles him.”
Though the dogs and cat can’t agree on who’s “too cool for school,” they can agree on their favorite family activity, one that is near and dear to any college kid’s heart — nap time.
“If we’re all sitting around and get tired, I call ‘Family nap,’” Lauffer said. “I’ll grab Molly under one arm, and usually Gabby and the cat come running. And we all pile up in the bed.”
One thing’s for sure — a good nap with a great family is pretty close to perfect.
“They’re my kids,” Lauffer said. “They’re my reason for being.”
Photos provided by Kimberly Lauffer.