Boston University Terriers live by the basic rules during the COVID-19 pandemic: fill out the daily symptom survey on time, never assume there is a short line outside the Warren Towers Starbucks, and say hello to every dog you find see on the street with gusto.
@ Pets.von.busm Instagram account. Students can send photos of their pets to the account and view other students’ contributions. ILLUSTRATION BY HANNAH YOSHINAGA / FREE DAILY PRESS STAFF
With travel restrictions and no spring break, BU students also feel the cost of living when they are home for long periods of time without their four-legged friends. While pets can be spotted on campus, there is no need to leave your room to see BU-related animals.
Last summer, Afrah Mohammad, a third year student at BU School of Medicine, created the @ Jews.of.busm Instagram account, dedicated to other BU students’ animals, to help their peers find out about a to exchange mutual love for furry friends.
“A couple of my classmates have pets and I like being informed about them, and I realized that other people do too,” she said. “It’s great because then they could see like everyone else.”
Since its inception, the account has had roughly 300 followers and 60 posts with pets wearing blankets, sweaters, and costumes, including a Meowidith Gray cat and Queen Elizabeth II corgi.
As someone who does not have pets of her own, Mohammad said that posting animals helped her connect with others.
“Sometimes the first thing I know about someone is that they have a pet on social media,” she said. “This is going to be a good topic to talk about and when I meet her it kind of breaks the ice.”
Although most of the pet pictures submitted to the Instagram account are of dogs or cats, rabbits and a rooster were featured. Mohammad said the Instagram account could be used as a means for other animal lovers to share their appreciation.
“It’s just fun to see all of the pets,” she said. “I feel like people feel a little more connected to each other.”
Jason Ham, a junior at the College of Arts and Sciences, said he lived on campus and seeing pets nearby made his mood better and better.
“The presence of pets on campus greatly improves my mood,” Ham wrote in a follow-up email. “They are always very cute and it’s nice to see them interact with their owners or just strangers who pass by.”
He said he personally missed spending time with his dog, a terrier mix appropriately named “Happy”.
“It’s only temporary, but you know you miss the little things,” said Ham. “You miss walking him, just petting him, it’s physical contact with your pet that you love.”
Anyone who has a pet knows they will become a huge part of your life – they are like family, he said. When he talks to his parents on FaceTime, Ham often asks if Happy can also make a phone call.
“One of the things about having a pet,” he said, “is that you love them unconditionally.”
Ashley Shaw, a student at Boston Questrom School of Business, said she adopted a French Bulldog puppy, Quinn, during the winter break after struggling during the isolating fall semester.
Shaw said she adopted the now five-month-old puppy because studying online had put a massive strain on her mental health last semester.
“The main reason I got them was because I wasn’t doing very well with online courses,” she said. “I’m someone who is very social … and being stuck in my little apartment, taking classes and not seeing people often was really, really hard for me.”
Shaw said she takes Quinn for walks to the dog park and barn where she is on the BU’s equestrian team. While Quinn is napping, Shaw will do his job and at night “snuggle up on the couch and watch Netflix together”.
Best of all, Quinn is making learning more manageable for Shaw’s sanity during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said. When asked how she adapted to life with her new pup, Shaw said Quinn made “a huge difference”.
“I’m never alone again,” she said.