By Alexis Glynn Latner
This signage turned up on the Rice University campus recently. It was probably in response to indiscretions on the part of owners walking their dogs on campus. The University’s pet policy reads in part:
Consistent with Houston City Ordinance, dogs, cats, and other animals must be under direct physical control of a responsible person while on campus grounds and restrained by a harness, chain, or leash not exceeding 8 feet in length.
(Further into the pet policy, here’s this intriguing line: Non-flesh-eating fish in tanks of 10 gallons or less are permitted in campus housing.)
Interestingly, the design on the sign signals that Rice people and visitors are owls – nice civilized ones that keep their equally nice dogs on a leash!
There are a few schools that have pets as mascots. Carnegie-Mellon’s mascot is one: the Scottie dog.
In general, though, school mascots, whatever they are, are not pets. At least for the purpose of school athletic pride, mascots should be something formidable and/or fierce: longhorns, tigers, warriors, mustangs. Owls aren’t typical mascots – “fighting owls” does not conjure up victoriousness. Happily, there are universities that do not let the tail of athletics wag the dog of academic mission. Rice is in that category with its mascot owl originally modeled from a Greek drachma coin. MIT’s mascot is a beaver (to symbolize engineering skill).
My all-time favorite university unmascotlike mascot is the University of California Santa Cruz’s Banana Slug—a redwood-forest-floor creature native to that part of California. As you may imagine, UCSC does not pride itself on its competitive athletics!
Some people keep banana slugs as pets. A helpful website recommends collecting a healthy one in the wild and putting it in a terrarium with moss, and this: “With proper care Banana Slugs will live a long while and they will slime their way up and down and around your tank. They can climb the walls literally, and you can see their undersides and watch them explore.” http://petcaretips.net/banana-slugs.html
Growing to ten bright yellow, fringed, moist inches, this species could serve admirably in an ultra-low-budget SF film for an alien life form! All it would take would be a few props to put around said slug, and a miniature camera, and the thing would look ten feet tall. Speed up the video and you’d have such a creature actually moving fast.
For a quite interesting article about banana slugs including how their slime resembles liquid crystals (!), their unusual mating habits, and the development of robot slugs, go here.
Even an alien needs a pet…
Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?
New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Best selling authors have eight original, never-released stories and one expanded story giving readers nine amazing adventures that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!
10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.
By Alexis Glynn Latner
Young Roboticist Ten Jaxdown has to deploy, and possibly sacrifice, the swarm of investigative robots that he has invented and cares about more than anything else in the star system. It may be the only hope for those depending on him and his robots to save them. Yet, even as frantic preparations for the unprecedented deep-space rescue mission are set in motion, it could all be threatened by sabotage.
Anastasia Steed is an intrepid young mission designer. She steps forward with an idea that can improve the odds of the mission. Neither she nor Ten expect the assistance they receive from a very unusual pet. A pet that will bring together two alienated human beings who didn’t realize they needed each other. Can Ten and Anastasia discover who is behind the sabotage, save the mission, and discover what is evolving between them? With a little bit of unusual help, anything is possible.