Xavier Gators love their furry friends


Dani Richter

Bruce, Ginger and Winston Richter pose in their fashionable scarves.

An emotional safe haven. “The wind beneath my wings.” Easy to talk to and trustworthy. Always excited when one gets home. All of these names have been used to describe a certain comrade. 

He or she may have whiskers, four paws or two feet, wings, gills, scales, tiny noses, an annoying tendency to chew on one’s favorite pair of shoes … or one’s homework. The term “best friend” might also be used.

Who is this friend that remains at one’s side through thick and thin, come rain or shine, and who’s always present no matter where one may go?


Pets are upsides that have gotten us through this tough time. Whether they are present to make one laugh or smile, or to lend a comforting ear to scratch, pets have proven themselves to always be there when one needs them. Xavier has some great pet stories that will make anyone smile.

Dani Richter, an English teacher at Xavier, had her nieces sneaking pieces of their lunch to their dogs one day. As a result, their mom told them not to feed human food to the dogs because it would make them sick. The older of the nieces asked if this meant the dogs would “go to Heaven,” to which the younger niece responded, “That’s okay, they can say ‘hi’ to Jesus!” She then continued feeding the dogs saying, “Have some more ham!”

Xavier theater teacher, Jessica Vining, has a cat named Yojimbo, which means bodyguard or bouncer in Japanese. He was named after the famous samurai movie “Yojimbo”. “Aside from catnip and cuddles, being groomed is his most favorite thing in the world. His brush has a clicking mechanism that helps remove the hair from the bristles. When he hears it he goes absolutely mad and will run and jump onto our living room ottoman. He will then meow until we start brushing him; if at any point we stop, he will look over his shoulder at us and will meow again until we resume brushing him.”

Emma Cantoni, a junior at Xavier who is currently taking yoga online as her second-semester elective, has a very involved toy poodle, Bleu. “Lately, Bleu has been sitting in on the class. But, when I say ‘sitting in,’ I don’t mean just sitting to the side and watching. Some of his antics include scratching and pawing at me until I lose my balance, blocking my view so I can’t see the class and, no joke, sitting underneath me during downward dog.”

Senior class moderator Jamie Itule had a dog named Slim. “Our beloved dog, Slim, who recently passed away, did so many hilarious things when she was a puppy….  My favorite story is when my husband had trimmed all of the palm trees in our backyard, and neatly stacked all of the palm fronds on the side of our house awaiting trash day. 

While we were at work one day, Slim brought all of the palm fronds into the house through her doggy door. When we

got home, you couldn’t even see the floor in our living room because there was so much green. And there was Slim, lying there on top of the layer of fronds, in the indoor island oasis she had made for us, looking so proud of herself!” 

Freshman Gabriella Conti said her golden retriever, Archie, one time ate a two and a half inch wood screw, from which he needed surgery. Following his surgery, Archie needed to wear a cone. Sadly, the cone was too wide to fit through the doggy door. As imagined, he was caught running into the door multiple times. 

Sophomore Maria Wolowiecki, said her dog’s desire for attention and companionship are what makes her smile. Jelly, a fuzzy, white 10 pound dog, is always by her side, following her and asking for attention. He will also go to anyone in the house and stand on his hind legs to show he wants to be held. Fortunately, when time to do homework begins, he also sits on Wolowiecki’s lap, keeping her company when studying for AP Biology. 

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened,” said French poet Anatole France.