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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

An introduction to the furry and scaled friends of FHC

The various pets of both teachers and students at FHC.

Social studies teacher Laura Stiles found herself this Christmas with a half-lit and undecorated Christmas tree.

The lack of decor was all thanks to her new puppy, Dexter. He was supposed to be a “Christmas puppy,” but they ended up receiving him on Dec. 1 instead because they wanted to get him before he grew any older. Dexter may be a ray of light in her life, but he has already caused quite a bit of mischief in the short time he has lived with Stiles. 

“He’s a royal pain in the butt,” Stiles said. “He wants to eat everybody’s shoes, he wants to chew on the couch, and he has to go outside every hour. At the same time, he’s so funny and he’s just a sweet boy. He ate the Christmas tree lights, so we decided we’re just going to sacrifice the tree this year and have half the lights. We didn’t even put any ornaments on it because he was just going to want to eat them.”

Dexter may not always be on his best behavior, but there are still many qualities that make him a good family dog. Stiles describes him as “lovey” and “a calm family dog.”

Senior Katy Dykstra has found herself in a similar predicament with her seven-year-old chinchilla, Daisy. Right around the time Katy goes to bed, Daisy will decide to be very noisy, consequently disrupting Katy’s sleep. 

“She has figured out when I’m going to bed, and that’s when she decides to want attention,” Katy said. “I usually go to bed around midnight, so at midnight, she’ll start making this really loud noise, and she won’t shut up until I go over to the cage and give her attention.”

Even though both Dexter and Daisy find themselves in trouble sometimes, Katy and Stiles still can find the good in the naughty side of their personality. Even when animals do things that may frustrate their owners, the positive aspects of their personality always manage to shine through. Senior Berkleigh Blackport owns a nine-year-old miniature horse named Ollie. He causes trouble sometimes—like when he bit her phone in half and broke it or escaped his stall to steal grain—but his silly personality can make Berkleigh laugh without fail. 

“I love his ability to make me laugh,” Berkleigh said. “Every time I walk up to him, he neighs and searches for treats. He just does random funny things that always brighten my day. He has a lot of funny moments. I taught him to walk up and down stairs, and I brought him into the lounge of my old barn. My trainer allowed me to, and he was so cute and just jumped on into the room.”

Ollie does many funny things that make Berkleigh laugh. Berkleigh said that he has “the most infectious personality,” and he can always make the people around him laugh. 

“I love her ability to take my stress away and listen to my problems. She can sense when I’m upset and will come up to me and make me laugh. It allows me time to just ignore any bad parts of the day and focus on the task at hand.”

— Berkleigh Blackport

Daisy the chinchilla also has a silly personality like Ollie. She has some unique interests, such as her love for the sound of piano keys, and she likes to pretend she is a parrot. Daisy’s comedic personality brings a constant flow of joy in Katy’s life. Even when Katy was at a low point mentally, Daisy was able to help her through that time by giving Katy something to take care of every day. 

“She loves the sound of keyboards, so she’ll like run over, and she’ll sit in front of me and start poking the key,” Katy said. “It’s really cute. She also likes to pretend she’s a parrot and she’ll sit on my shoulder.  She also likes to sneak in my pant legs. She is a little goofball.”

Whether it be money-related or forgoing their well-being, Stiles, Meghan, and Katy have all had to sacrifice things for their pets. Katy is incredibly allergic to the dust she gives her chinchilla a bath in, but this vital step in Daisy’s routine can not be abandoned.

Senior Meghan Bonney also has to set aside her personal comfort to feed her two-and-a-half-year-old bearded dragon, Summer. Her diet consists of crickets, mealworms, and salad. Feeding the live animals to Summer grosses Meghan out, but her bearded dragon must get the enrichment of catching the crickets as well as the nutrients in the food. 

“The worms are really gross,” Meghan said. “Even though they’re dead, I feel like they’re alive. The crickets [have] bit me before. I swear they’re just gonna kill me one day.” 

Stiles learned how expensive a new puppy can be when she took Dexter to the vet. Even though the vet did compliment Dexter’s good looks, that did not help Stiles swallow the price of the bill she saw at the end.

“I can tell you now, that dogs are not cheap,” Stiles said. “I can’t believe how expensive it is to buy the animal. And then, the vet costs are crazy.”

Personal comfort is a sacrifice that has to be made when purchasing any kind of animal. Berkleigh works hard to make sure that her 12-year-old horse Rosie is kept in tip-top condition. She is boarded at a barn, so the workers there make sure she has a clean stall, is fed, gets watered, and is turned out. Aside from that, Berkleigh rides almost every day; when she is out at the barn, she grooms and takes care of anything her horse may need. 

“I ride her five or six days a week, and we jump two days out of the five or six,” Berkleigh said. “I groom her, wrap her legs, put on her heating pads, clean her tack, ride her, put on her ice boots, scrub her legs, switch out her blankets, and anything else she might need. I pay to board her at a barn so the workers there take care of her food, turnout, water, stall cleaning, and stuff like that. I do that work when I’m at a show but not at home.”

When Berkleigh is at the barn, she has to pay careful attention to Rosie, and she has to have a diligent riding and care routine for her horse. It is not only the big animals that need a rigorous care routine; small animals and reptiles also require a lot of attention.  

Meghan had to work hard to get her bearded dragon, Summer. Her parents made a stipulation that she had to receive high grades and do well on her exams to get Summer. Once Meghan met these requirements, she went to Chowhound and purchased her new pet. 

“My parents said that I couldn’t fail any exams and that I had to finish off my junior year with no C’s in order to get her,” Meghan said. “So, I worked super hard to get there. They made me pay for her and the cage and everything else.”

Pets are great for one’s mental and physical well-being. They are great to have around because they are like a built-in buddy. Even when life is stressful and overwhelming, animals can find a way to bring a smile to one’s face or relax the mind. Berkleigh’s horse, Rosie, helps her relax even when she has had a bad day. 

“I love her ability to take my stress away and listen to my problems,” Berkleigh said. “She can sense when I’m upset and will come up to me and make me laugh. It allows me time to just ignore any bad parts of the day and focus on the task at hand.”

Pets are a large commitment that buyers need to be fully prepared for before purchasing them. Both small and large animals have stringent care regimens that need to be met. Research must be done before making such a large commitment. Katy stresses the importance of knowing as much about the animal you want to purchase before you go through with the decision. 

“When you get a pet, make sure to do the research and know as much as you can before you make that commitment,” Katy said. “Know as much as you can before you purchase.”

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About the Contributor
Juliana Lieuwen
Juliana Lieuwen, Staff Writer
Juliana is a junior entering her first year on The Central Trend. She loves sunsets and spending time with her rabbit Snickers. When she isn't at school you can find her at 5 High Farms, the place where she rides horses. Juliana is also on the FHC Equestrian team and is busy with that in the fall. She loves to sing and dance to music by Taylor Swift. When she isn't busy with horses or school, she loves drawing, hanging out with friends, and shopping. She is so excited to be writing for The Central Trend this year. Favorite food: Sushi Favorite color: Hot Pink Her pets: Two chickens, one cat, one dog, one bunny Favorite song: "You Belong with Me" by Taylor Swift Favorite numbers: 3 and 7

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