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Pets can help with wellness during a pandemic, says Professor of Sociology Dr. Colleen Dell (PhD).

The pets of Arts and Science

Faculty and staff of the College of Arts and Science share photos of their animal coworkers


When the University of Saskatchewan’s buildings closed for the COVID-19 pandemic, pets became workmates for hundreds of College of Arts and Science employees working from home.

Companion animals can play a big role in helping people manage difficult situations, said Dr. Colleen Dell (PhD), a professor in the Department of Sociology and the Centennial Enhancement Chair in One Health and Wellness.

“Many of us consider our pets to be a part of our family, especially cats and dogs. Just like our human family members, animals too can help in beneficial ways with our mood, loneliness and even relaxation. We may even perceive them to be better at some things, like offering unconditional support. These are all important areas to consider as we attempt to stay healthy during the pandemic. I am super appreciative for the role my companion animals play in my own wellness,” said Dell.

This fall, the College of Arts and Science invited faculty and staff to submit images and words that show how their pets enrich their workdays. Scroll to meet some of the pets of Arts and Science.

Cat in box
“The secret to a productive workday is a good filing system...” –Dr. Olga Lovick (PhD), Head, Department of Linguistics

“This is Rico. She’s a white-capped pionus parrot. Her species live in South America but she was born in Edmonton. She is 23 years old this month.” –Dr. Mark Eramian (PhD), Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science

Two dogs
“Without my furry coworkers, my day would be depressing. Lola and Rocket make me smile, laugh and feel love every day.” –Dr. Angela M. Jaime (PhD), Vice-Dean Indigenous

Two cats
“I have two cats that keep me sane during the workday… Loki “The Marshmallow” and Arya “The Meeting Disrupter.” –Kyla Denton, Administrative Coordinator, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Two cats
“Finn and Merry continue to be assuring little presences during this very stressful year, and I am very grateful for them.” –Sharla Daviduik, Manager, Administrative Support Group

Dog on couch
“(Belle) has been my faithful companion throughout the pandemic, sitting beside me most of the day while I work from home. One upside of the current health crisis is I now have the good fortune of spending every day with her.” –Shannon Boklaschuk, Communications Officer

Cat in sweater
“My cat, Crick, enjoying her new pastime of snuggling inside my sweater while I work at the table. Several of my students have seen her in my video feedback on their assignments.” –Dr. Shakti Brazier-Tompkins (PhD), Sessional Lecturer, Department of English

Two dogs
“Riggins Downe prefers to lie in (or near) his bed while I work. He is allowed into my office whenever he wants because (unlike Mindy!) he is really well behaved!” –Dr. Pamela Downe (PhD), Professor, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Three dogs and a cat
“They constantly remind me that I need to take a break. Which is really good advice for my mind and body because I tend to stay in one chair, in one room, all day.” –Dr. Colleen Dell (PhD), Professor, Department of Sociology

Want to visit with a therapy dog?

Through her research chair, Dell organizes the PAWS Your Stress Therapy Dog Program in collaboration with campus Peer Health and St. John Ambulance of Saskatoon. The program offers free online video sessions with therapy dogs through its website at

Share your pet

The College of Arts and Science will share more images of pets in the coming weeks. Faculty and staff: submit photos and short videos to by Dec. 14.

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