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Campus Comment: How are pets a part of your family?

McKaylah Conlin, Melina Sy, Irvin Orduno, Kyle Mullins and Naina Tai Hook pose for self-portraits

McKaylah Conlin

Conlin, a senior from Laie studying intercultural peacebuilding, said, “Randomly we were at this Fourth of July festival in Utah, and we saw the typical ‘puppies for sale’ sign and this black lab that all of us begged my dad to get. So, we got her and named her Shyla, and we just kept growing from there.

"We adopted another dog from my aunt. Piper and Shyla are their names, and they have just been a part of the family ever since. I can just tell that when my siblings are having a hard time or when school gets a little more demanding, just holding one of the dogs or having them sleep in the bed with you just really does a number on our mental health. We don’t deserve dogs. They are just so loyal and loving.”

Melina Sy

Sy, a senior from Utah studying Hawaiian Studies, said, “Growing up, I loved ani-mals. I was that kid who went to the zoo and wanted to take everything home as a pet. My dad, not so much, because he wasn’t very keen on sharing his living space with animals, so I didn’t have as many pets as I wanted.

"We did have cats, but they were outside only. Even though they were not indoor cats, they became part of the family really fast, and even though my dad didn’t want them and it took a few years to convince him, he would spoil them... I feel like the cats are the ones that everyone just loves, and everyone was sad when one of them had to be put down a few years ago. They’ve been a pretty big part of my family, and I want them in my future.”

Irvin Orduño

Orduño, a junior from Mexico studying information technology, said, “I think pets are a part of my family in this case because my dog completes my family, and he brings a lot of joy to my family. Because he is always happy and looking for love from me or my wife, he is like a kid for us. We really love him, and we are lucky to have him because we see him as a special creation from God. We think

"God gave him to us so we could take care of him and spend time with him. So, for me, pets are very important because they can be best friends to humans and create the most wonderful creation that any animal or creature can bond with a person.”

Kyle Mullins

Mullins, a senior from Indiana studying psychology, said, “We have one dog named Pepper. She is really cute. She is very playful, and it’s almost like having another sibling.

"She will talk back to you but not in the way other siblings do. She’s always loving and caring, so it’s just like having another family member that’s an animal, not a person.”

Naina Tai Hook

Hook, a freshman from Hauula studying psychology, said, “To me, my pets are a therapeutic addition and extra connection to my family. They bring a lot of joy, even when it seems like there is none in the family.

"They always bring a happy energy and energetic spirit to lift ours. I really enjoy having them because they don’t talk, and they are just there for you without any judgements.”