Teacher's Pet

Welcome to Teacher’s Pet! This new series will feature University of Winnipeg professors with their lovable pets. Twice a month we’ll be introducing you to faculty members and the charming animals they come home to.

Dr. Lucas Mol and his dog Ernie

Dr. Lucas Mol (Mathematics and Statistics) and Ernie

Ernie is a ferocious eight-year-old Chihuahua. Adopted by his human from the Winnipeg Humane Society, he’s developed a love for beef jerky over the years and will lick anyone’s dinner plate clean. When he gets super excited about going for walks or getting his favourite treat, Ernie starts spinning in circles, which is something his doctor advises against.
Asked what he thinks of his human, Ernie said: “He’s the best person ever!”

Learn more about Ernie's human: Assistant Professor Dr. Lucas Mol, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Heather Milne with her cat Sylvie

Dr. Heather Milne (English) and Sylvie

Sylvie is six pounds of concentrated sweetness and personality. Born without a tail and living with 35 other cats in a barn for the first year of her life, she finally ended up at the Human Society after having kittens, which is where her human found her in 2008. Sylvie is known for bossing around her brother, who is twice as big as her, eating coconut oil, hunting cat toys and bringing them to her humans, and sitting on windowsills watching birds.
Ask where you can often find Sylvie, her human said: “Sleeping on one of her five cat beds.”

Learn more about Sylvie's human: Associate Professor Dr. Heather Milne, Department of English

Dr. Jino Distasio with his dog Ziggy

Dr. Jino Distasio (VP of Research and Innovation) and Ziggy

Ziggy is a wrestler. If he wants someone on the ground to play with him, this 11-month-old Australian Labradoodle’s go-to move is leg-locking them with his front paws and lovingly tackling them. Ziggy is also a food connoisseur. If it’s on a plate, Ziggy will eat it... there’s no doubt about that. If he had a superhero nickname, it would be Captain Canuck because he's always friendly and polite.

Asked what he thinks of his human, Ziggy said “What does this guy do for a living? I can’t figure him out!"

Learn more about Ziggy's human: Dr. Jino Distasio, Vice-President of Research and Innovation

Dr. William Rory Dickson with dog Safi

Dr. William Rory Dickson (Religion and Culture) and Safi

Safi is a real character. If you asked this 10-year-old pharaoh hound. what her best talent is, she’d say it’s being an escape artist. When left alone, Safi is renowned for unlocking her apartment door and hanging with the upstairs neighbour. A global traveler, she was originally a rescue from Europe and then again from Ohio.

When her mom skips town or runs errands around the city, Safi is cared for by her surrogate pops, who is the only person she ever listens to.

Learn more about Safi's human: Associate Professor Dr. William Rory Dickson, Department of Religion and Culture

Drs. Peter J. Miller and Carla Manfredi with their daughter Adeline and cat Rico

Dr. Peter J. Miller (Classics), Dr. Carla Manfredi (English), and Adeline with Rico

Age is just a number for Handsome Rico. Even though he’s now into his golden years, Rico has the heart and soul of a chatty kitten, as he loves to talk all day long and show affection. You can often find him sleeping under covers, sitting on laps, and running down two flights of stairs to greet his humans when they come home.
Right now, Rico is learning to share his humans with another new arrival — their daughter Adeline.

Learn more about Rico's humans: Assistant Professor Dr. Peter J. Miller, Chair of the Department of Classics, and Assistant Professor Dr. Carla Manfredi, Department of English.

Dr. Rafael Otfinowski and his dog Puk

Dr. Rafael Otfinowski (Biology) and Puk

Calling Puk quirky is a bit of an understatement — she loves to sleep upside down, climb trees, and, once, chewed and licked a hole through the Red River ice trail at -45°C. A rescue from Pukatawagan First Nation, Puk is lovingly known as Pukabelly (for the belly rubs) and Platypuk (she really flattens when she sleeps). If Puk was a superhero and had one special power, it would definitely be to fly… or make people smile.
Asked what she thinks of her human, Puk says: “He’s trainable… with patience.”

Learn more about Puk's human: Assistant Professor Dr. Rafael Otfinowski, Department of Biology

Dr. Janis Thiessen and her Schnoodle Hobs

Dr. Janis Thiessen (History) and Hobs

Before finding her fur-ever home, Hobs worked at a seniors' home cheering up residents for more than eight years. Now this 15-year-old Schnoodle is enjoying retirement with her human, who “just had enough in her savings account” to adopt her at the local pet store. Hobs is a self-proclaimed cheese connoisseur — the stinkier the cheese, the better the cheese… so naturally her favourite is stilton.

Asked what she thinks of her human, Hobs has a few complaints: “She doesn’t take me to enough places and she doesn’t share enough stinky cheese or bacon with me… but we are best buddies.”

Learn more about Hobs's human: Professor Dr. Janis Thiessen, Department of History

Melanie O'Gorman and her dog Lucky

Dr. Melanie O'Gorman (Economics) and Lucky

There is no such thing as too many pets for Lucky ­— you could pet her all day long and she would still want more. When this goofy four-year-old shepsky, originally from Tataskweyak Cree Nation, isn’t rolling around in the snow or going for walks, her favourite pastime is eating all of the leftover pizza crusts. Lucky's superpower, according to those who know her best, is her super sense of smell, which allows her to play detective.

If she could talk, Lucky would tell her human: “Please quit your job and walk me all day.”
Learn more about Lucky's human: Associate Professor Dr. Melanie O'Gorman, Department of Economics

Kelly Gorkoff with her dog Miss Kitty

Dr. Kelly Gorkoff (Criminal Justice) and Miss Kitty

Age is just a number for Miss Kitty. While this lovable cockapoo is seven years old, she’s more like a teenager with her sleeping habits, as she’s often snoring away until 11:00 am. A rescue from It’s A Dog’s Life in Kenora, Miss Kitty holds a number of nicknames, including Scrappy and Kitty Cat. Her human says she’s the perfect companion because she’s not high energy, which partners well with academic work.
When asked to describe her human, Miss Kitty said: “She works too much, but she loves to cuddle me when she reads."

Learn more about Miss Kitty's human: Associate Professor Dr. Kelly Gorkoff, Department of Criminal Justice.

Jane Barter and her dog Leonard

Dr. Jane Barter (Religion and Culture) and Leonard

Leonard is the perfect companion… when he’s not nibbling his human. Named after Leonard Cohen, this cute six-month-old Shih Tzu from Reinfeld, Manitoba was somehow the last puppy left of the litter. Just about everything is quirky about Leonard — because he’s still a puppy. When he’s not going for walks, his favourite thing to do is keep his human company while she grades papers and preps for class.
Asked what his favourite food is, Leonard said: “Anything my human is eating.”

Learn more about Leonard's human: Professor Dr. Jane Barter, Department of Religion and Culture

Julie Pelletier and her dog Lil Bean

Dr. Julie Pelletier (Anthropology) and Lil Bean

Lil Bean is all about the glitz and glam. Born and raised in West Hollywood, this 13-year-old Chihuahua always keeps up with the latest fashion trends. Like her style, Lil Bean’s taste in food is also bold. There’s nothing she loves more than seafood — specifically lobster. A frequent traveller and conference attendee, Lil Bean always steals the spotlight from her human: “My colleagues are more interested in her than my papers.”
Asked to describe her human, Lil Bean said: “Mom is boring.”

Learn more about Lil Bean’s human: Faculty member Julie Pelletier, Department of Anthropology

Pauline Greenhill and her cat Neko

Dr. Pauline Greenhill (Women's and Gender Studies) and Neko

There’s nothing Neko loves more than eating. In fact, she calls it her super power. Adopted from the Winnipeg Pet Rescue in 2009, this sweet, but temperamental 17-year-old domestic shorthair lives by a very strict schedule. During the winter, you can find her nestled between two blankets where she stays until she gets her treats brought to her, which she knows as room service.
Asked what she thinks of her human, Neko said: “She is not the best servant, but it is hard to get good help these days.”

Learn more about Neko’s human: Professor Dr. Pauline Greenhill, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

Anna Stokke and her dog Sadie

Dr. Anna Stokke (Mathematics and Statistics) and Sadie

The quickest way to Sadie’s heart is simple: this adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel LOVES peanut butter and a good lap to sit on — preferably both at the same time. Because she’s got so much love to give, Sadie is an early riser and has earned the nickname ‘Rooster.’ But don’t be fooled by her sweet face, because she likes to get into mischief too — like opening up all of the Christmas presents last year.

Asked what she loves most about her human, Sadie said: “Anna gives me the best love, food, and cuddles.”

Learn more about Sadie’s human: Professor Dr. Anna Stokke, Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Blue and Rowan Crowe

Dr. Roewan Crowe (Women's and Gender Studies) and Blue

Affectionately known as the ‘captain of the love team,’ Blue the Border Collie is best friends with pretty much anyone he meets. A rescue from Alberta, Blue wasn’t quite cut out for a life of herding cattle — so he decided to live a simpler life in Manitoba. When he’s not busy going for walks, Blue loves playing at the park with his sister Mieka, licking butter off popcorn during movies, and cuddling with Prince the Cat.

Asked what he loves most about Roewan, Blue said: “She’s a good neck massager and reads me the most interesting things.”

Learn more about Blue's human: Associate Professor Dr. Roewan Crowe, Department of Women's and Gender Studies

If you would like to take part in Teacher's Pet, please email Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, at