Professor to pet ratio high at Simpson

by Stacy Owens

Simpson students often have pets back home – dogs, cats, birds or gerbils, but at college the only pets you usually find in the dorm rooms are fish. The truth is, some Simpson professors are just attached to their pets as students are to their pets back home – but their pets can visit them at work.

Biology Professor Steve Emerman has two pets, a border collie-golden retriever mix named Zohar and a quarter horse named Maggid. Both animals’ names have Hebrew meanings. Zohar means ‘enlightenment’ and Maggid means ‘teller of the future.’

Zohar has been coming to Simpson every day since Emerman got him at an animal shelter in August 2003.

“Zohar comes everywhere with me, all lectures, all labs, and even to the faculty meetings,” Emerman said. “I like the companionship of someone with me all the time.”

In 2004, Emerman took a group of students on a horseback-riding trip through Mongolia during May Term.

“After May Term I realized how much I enjoyed the trip, and I had to get a horse,” Emerman said.

Management Professor Ruth Weatherly also has a dog who visits campus. Her Brittany is named Bradie.

Bradie is the second Brittany that Weatherly has had.

“It is a good breed for the lifestyle of living in a town home,” Weatherly said. “She does not need a lot of exercise. She runs with me and goes hunting with my husband. She has a sporting purpose but also makes a good house companion.”

According to Weatherly, Bradie is a very friendly dog who likes company.

“She is very well-mannered and people-friendly,” Weatherly said. “Students like to stop by and say hello to her because they miss their pets from home.”

Another faculty member with pets is English Professor Nancy St. Clair, but if she brought all of her pets to Simpson, they’d take over her office.

St. Clair has eight pets at home, which may seem like a lot to most people, but for St. Clair, caring for pets comes naturally.

“I like to care for things,” St. Clair said. “My kids are getting older and can care for themselves, so animals are the substitute.”

St. Clair currently takes care of a Border collie mix dog named Gracie; five cats: Morton, Sushi, Simon, Cleo and Vixen; a rabbit named Opal and a chinchilla they refer to as ‘chili monster.’

“They all get along and interact,” St. Clair said. “They can all be in the same room; the chinchilla and rabbit even share a cage. I like observing them. It is very therapeutic when stressed to watch and pet them.”

Not only does St. Clair have eight pets at home, she also keeps a hermit crab named Charlie in her office.

“One of my colleagues, Cory Harrigan, suggested we name it Charlie,” St. Clair said. “She named it after her graduate school advisor who was often crabby.”