The Perilous Adventures of Senior Pet Day

When my math teacher let the class out early on Friday, May 6, we all speed-walked over to the Quad. Gray clouds swirled overhead, the walkway was slick, and the grass was muddy. When we reached the white tents that had been put up next to the bleachers, we saw what we were looking for. A dozen pets frolicking, barking, and playing with each other. Disorder in the best possible way. Senior Pet Day may not have gone completely to plan, but the results did not disappoint.

Before this year, Senior Pet Day had been on hiatus for two years because of the pandemic. Sophie B. ’24 says that she heard about Senior Pet Day while touring Lakeside, and it became one of the things she was most looking forward to about the school. Upon finding out that there weren’t any active plans to bring Senior Pet Day back, she says she “reached out to Mr. Bonar and asked, ‘Can we do this, please?’” Sophie was able to get pet goodie bags donated from Chewy (an online pet store where her mom works) and used them as an incentive for people to bring their pets, promising that the first 50 pets that showed up would get one. Finally, she coordinated with Mr. Kempf to get the event advertised in the Bull.

Students recounted their and their pets’ experiences positively, even if dealing with animals on campus was stressful at times. Take Weronika K. ’22 and her dog Cherry. Cherry “had a tour of Lakeside and saw all the sights,” Weronika says. She continues, “She’s made a lot of new friends and a few new enemies, so it’s been a busy day.” While Weronika and I were talking, we were interrupted when another dog approached Cherry and the two got into a scuffle. Weronika analyzes her dog: “She may physically be a small dog, but mentally she thinks she’s a large dog.” Who among us can’t relate?

Disorder in the best possible way.

Pets’ sometimes uncontrollable energy was a common theme in conversations I had with people who brought their pets to school. For example, Freya B-W. ’24 says that she let her dog Mason run around campus, following him on a leash. “I ran him around the school grounds like ten times trying to get his energy out… We let him sprint everywhere, through the mud.” Freya also expressed concern about Mason’s barking. “My dog was the only dog who was barking,” she said. When I challenged that there were probably other dogs that barked too, she responded, “Yeah, but he was barking for no reason. He was just standing there barking for the whole morning.”

Most students brought their pets home either after first period or during lunch, and the few cats that were brought went home even quicker than that. The rain held off for the better part of the morning, but by early afternoon it had begun to pour. Any pet owner knows the danger of the rain — when dogs jump in puddles, roll in mud, and then shake it all over you. I can’t even imagine the terror of having to put a wet, muddy dog in the car. All that is to say that, sadly, it was necessary to call Senior Pet Day off. With pet owners busy in class, it took some time to ensure that every pet was safe and dry in the car. For Mason, though, the journey to the car involved more steps. 

When the rain began, Freya had already taken the car to an appointment, so her dog Mason ended up in the main office. Freya says that someone from the main office had met Mason earlier in the day, and decided to move him to the office while the car was unavailable. “He was just sitting inside the main office with the ladies, who were super nice, for three hours,” says Freya. She is grateful for the people in the main office for taking care of Mason, and says they had a great time with him and he was well-behaved. Still, Freya says “he smells really bad when he gets wet.” After Mason was successfully transported from the office to the car, he waited there while Freya and her sister Evie B-W. ’22 finished classes and a musical rehearsal.

Despite weather cutting the event short, Sophie is proud of how this year’s Senior Pet Day turned out. She said that, in past years, “people brought rabbits and stuff like that. One person even brought his little brother on a leash.” She is optimistic that, now that people are more familiar with Senior Pet Day, there will be even more participation and excitement next year. “If I can do it again next year, that would be a lot of fun.” Let’s also hope that next year the pets can all stay warm and dry!