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Celebrating our Participate Learning Pets

National Pet Day falls on April 11 and celebrates the unconditional love that pets bring to our lives. Last March, our Participate Learning staff moved quickly to working remotely through various phases of lockdown and stay-at-home orders. In a time of increased isolation and emotional strain, our pets have been our loyal companions, lowering our stress levels and bringing laughter and joy to our daily lives. We asked members of the Participate Learning staff to tell us about their pets and what life has been like with them during the past year. Meet some of the staff and their furry friends below.

Dogs bring the whole neighborhood together and bring smiles and joy to everyone. Tiki, our family dog, loves going on walks and joining me for walking meetings. We adopted Tiki from Saving Grace, an animal rescue farm. During the pandemic, my daughters started fostering puppies from Saving Grace. Kaia was one of our former fosters, and she is pictured here back for a visit with us. Kaia (formerly known as Fuzzy Wuzzy) was my favorite foster puppy so far, and it has been a joy to host her for a visit.
–Ranya Hahn


During the day, I always have a work assistant who wants to sleep on my lap or sit on the keyboard.
–Todd LoFrese with Libby (left) and Roy (header photo)





Sammie, Krisya's dog Sammy is a very happy puppy that brought so much joy and fun to our home! He is only two months old, but he has already learned where the treat buckets for his big sisters are, and he runs there and barks so he can also get one.
–Krisya Arguedas





Cleo and Clementine have brought my multigenerational family together in a lot of ways. They’re friends, and the way they tease and play with each other cracks us all up. Cleo climbs up on my shoulder every morning first thing for a ride downstairs to help me make coffee, and Clementine has been my daily walking companion.
–Meriwynn Mansori




Ollie loves to play outside in the fenced yard, and he’s been growing way too fast. We got him when he was six weeks old last November, and he weighed eight pounds. Now, he is almost six months old and weighs over 60 pounds! He is a fast runner and loves to chase the horses. Our three horses, Storm, Cash, and Dakota, are always together and are like a family.
–Judy Ouyang



Archie joined our family in February 2020 as a puppy, just a few weeks before the start of the pandemic. Over the course of the year this mini Aussie has become my world. He lies at my feet while I’m working and lets me bestow endless hugs and kisses on him throughout the day, and he always returns them. He’s also my lunchtime yoga partner and my reminder when it’s the end of the workday that it’s time to close the computer and take him for a walk. Archie has without a doubt brought me all the support, companionship, and joy that I needed this past year.
–Lynly Campbell

Le’ahi loves having us at home all the time. My daily morning walks with Le’ahi have brought me much sanity this year—getting me outside and moving! We’ve also done lots of hiking which she loves. She takes turns sleeping near my daughter, my husband, or me in different rooms in the house, but she especially likes to lie at the top of the stairs between my daughter and me so she is ready for any activity!
–Kaselehlia Sielken



I had Rothko for 16 years. Sadly he passed away late last year, well into COVID times. I had many happy memories with him as he was with me for such a long time. His companionship, love, and support were steadfast throughout his life. I miss him dearly.
–Maria Carazo




Winnie is learning how to be a dog, and she provides endless entertainment for the family as she learns how to live the good (indoors) life. After my beloved dog Lucy died last March, we decided to foster dogs until the right one came along. Winnie managed to convince us that she was the right one! A rescue dog from Kosovo, she somehow also convinced a local rescue group that she’s a golden retriever. (Spoiler: She is not.) While she is still very reserved and cautious with new things, she is fiercely loyal and protective.
–Heather Hindin

Having CeCe has been great for unconditional love and snuggles, as well as keeping some consistency in my daily routine. She never lets me forget to take her for a walk between 4and 6 p.m. every day. She’s a former greyhound athlete now living the retired life, and she did suffer from some pretty extreme separation anxiety. A big silver lining from this past year is being able to work from home and slowly help her feel more comfortable with being home alone!
–Kristin Lowder

Do you have a pet making your day brighter during the COVID-19 pandemic? Share a photo with your furry friend and tag us on Twitter @ParticipateLrng this Sunday, April 11, in celebration of #NationalPetDay.

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