Students explore their relationship with their pets


Elianna Oliver, Social Media Editor

Madeline & Vega

Only 3.1 percent of households in the United States have birds as a pet, according to, a veterinary organization. Senior Madeline Conigliaro is in that 3.1 percent, owning two birds, Vega and Mozart. Conigliaro said her favorite bird is her green-cheeked conure, Vega.

“It was really important to me, going into getting all my animals, to do my best to find rescues,” Conigliaro said. “We think of dog and cat rescues so easily, they’re there, but a lot of people don’t think about all the birds and the reptiles that have been neglected and abandoned.”

Conigliaro said she was originally planning on getting another reptile instead of Vega, but “at the last minute,” she decided she would get a bird instead. She said this spur of the moment decision isn’t one she regrets.

“I think it was the first time I really connected with an animal on an emotional level, because as much as I love my dogs, they love my mom more,” Conigliaro said.

Since Vega has open access to Conigliaro’s room, they spend a lot of time together. However, Conigliaro said the times they spend together aren’t always happy, because Vega is full of anxiety and often needs comforting.

“I think with a bird especially you have to be able to have a calm demeanor working with them and little frustration, because they are just as emotional and intelligent as toddlers, so yelling at them can really make their trust for you break down,” Conigliaro said.

Although Vega has a tendency to be anxious, Conigliaro said she has been compared to him because of their relationship to color. Conigliaro said green-cheeked conures are very colorful, and she said her own hair “constantly changes” colors. In addition to appearance, Conigliaro said her and Vega share similar aspects of personality.

“I’m crazy, eccentric and loud, so I felt like that went pretty hand-in-hand with the bird,” Conigliaro said.


Bethie & Button

Sixty-eight percent of households in the U.S. have pets, according to, an insurance information institute. Among those 68 percent, dogs are the most common pets people own. Although junior Bethie Gregory has three dogs, she said her favorite pet is her goat, Button.

“We have three dogs, two other goats and five chickens,” Gregory said. “But, even [after] having the dogs longer, I think Button [and] her personality just come out so much more than all our other animals, so I think she’s the one I’ve grown closest to.”

Gregory said Button has a tendency to be spastic and will not “stand still for more than five seconds.” However, Gregory said she would consider her and Button to be similar because of their shared high energy.

“We’re both very energetic, crazy, always happy people — well people and goat — and we both love being around people all the time,” Gregory said.

Even though doesn’t quantify goat as a common pet for most people, Gregory said she has become “pretty attached” to Button as Button has taken the role as her mood-booster.

“She makes my day no matter what,” Gregory said. “I’ll come home after school, after having a bad day, and she’ll jump into my lap and nibble on my ear, and it just makes me feel better.”


Merritt & Zeus

Throughout her time as a pet owner, freshman Merritt Ellis said she has never had a dog like her current labradoodle Zeus.

“I wasn’t as close with my old dog because I was born after he was like 4 or 5, so I’m more close with my dog now because I’ve had him since he was a little puppy,” Ellis said.

Ellis said she enjoys spending time with her dog and that she would consider herself or her mom to be Zeus’s favorite.

“I love him a lot and we are always are together, for the most part,” Ellis said. “I like to take him on walks, and he usually comes with us wherever we go.”

Ellis said she would describe herself as “nice and kind,” qualities she said she sees Zeus portray.

“I think we’re both pretty similar because we both kind of feel for other people, but we’re both a little bit funny too, so I think we’re both similar in that way,” Ellis said.

Despite the fact that Ellis has only had Zeus for five years, she said she loves him and he is very prominent in her life.

“He’s important to me because he’s always been there and he’s just someone you can go to if you’re having a down day,” Ellis said. “He’s just always there and I love spending time with him.”