Pet Spotlight

Sydney and Draco


Kathryn Coffey

About six or seven years ago, a one-year-old Chocolate Labrador named Sydney was adopted by sophomore Music Education major Jordan Niebuhr and her family. Sydney resides happily in their home in Elk Grove Village.

A weird and funny quirk she does is lie on her back and flail her legs like a lunatic. On top of that, Sydney loves to think that she’s a lap dog, and she’s a ginormous snuggle buddy. “It’s funny because she’s not a small dog,” Niebuhr said.

Sydney has mastered the art of shaking her paw. In fact, she’s mastered it so well that she doesn’t want to stop doing it. According to Niebuhr, if you stop shaking her paw, she will put it on your arm until you start again. It just goes to show that Sydney is, indeed, a dog who’s more than eager to please.

She is also an expert frisbee-player. If anyone were to toss a frisbee in Sydney’s general direction, she would take off, tearing across the yard.

Sydney is also seen to be very cheeky. While she loves dog treats as much as the next Fido, she tries to get people food, as well. But the family doesn’t allow that, so she’s mostly stopped.  

All the same, however, Niebuhr loves Sydney, and Sydney loves her owner and her family to the moon and back. Sydney soft, loving, and very empathetic to anyone who encounters her. She can and will snuggle with you if anything is wrong.

And it’s the small moments spent with her dog that Niebuhr loves most. Over the past winter break, Niebuhr loved nothing more than chilling out, watching TV, and cuddling with Sydney. “She’s the cutest dog in the world,” Niebuhr said. “And I hope they can meet her one day, because she’s so lovable.”

This week, Sydney is in good company with a soft and fluffy Siamese-Himalayan mix living in the Woods. His name is Draco, and he lives with sophomore Erica Caruso.

Caruso’s family fosters animals from an animal shelter in Denver. When rescuers found Draco, he was all alone in a field. They put him with a foster litter, and they, in turn, were fostered by the Carusos. While in foster care, Draco got sick and had to stay with the family until he got better. Luckily, by the time winter break wrapped up, he was well enough to travel back to Decatur.

Because he was sick when he was younger, Draco requires special care. He has a heart condition, and not only are his sneezes loud, but his snot-spray will touch everything. “Taking on a special needs animal is a challenge,” Caruso said. “But it more than pays off… He is an amazing little guy.”

And being in apartment life for a couple of weeks has already proven that. Although he was nervous at first, Draco now loves running around and playing with his robot insects. He loves climbing the cat tree in Caruso’s room, where he spends a lot of his time. He loves sticking around the place, especially when there’s food to be found.

Draco is a cat who will eat everything. He doesn’t like regular cat treats, though. He prefers chicken and plain yogurt. Besides food, he also loves cuddling. According to Caruso, he can be found sleeping some place warm, like burying himself in a blanket or a large pile of clothes.   

When asked about what apartment cats would require from their owners, Caruso recommends that they should give their pets enough play time. “At the most basic level, cats are hunters, and they need to be given plenty of toys and activities to keep them entertained,” she said. “Otherwise, they will start finding stuff to destroy and that’s no good for anyone!”