Pets of Tri-I

Pooja Viswanathan

For this issue, I interview Michelle, the dog who lives with Emma Garst (Hang Lab, The Rockefeller University). I love animals, please write me at if you have pets! That’s the whole point of this.

Pooja Viswanathan: How old are you? In human years?

Michelle: I’m going on four years old! I guess I should be settling down, but I think maturity is overrated. I am still “young at heart,” as my mom likes to say.

PV: Is there a story behind your name?

M: The foster agency gave it to me, and mom kept it because she thought it was funny! You can take it up with her. We get asked sometimes if I was named after First Lady Michelle Obama. For the record: no. Who would dare.

PV: What is your first memory?

M: I have some early memories, but the most exciting one was when I took a long road trip up from Pittsburgh to meet my new mom! I was driven by a couple of volunteers, so I got to meet a lot of new people. I love new people.

PV: Where do you live?

M: I live in Faculty House with my mom and our roommates, Fangyu Liu and Mizuho Horioka. I like to play a fun game with Fangyu, where I make funny noises and she makes funny noises back. We have a good time. (*Editor’s note: this is not a fun game for Fangyu.)

PV: What are your favorite smells of NYC?

M: Oh boy, I love trash day. New York has so many interesting smells, I couldn’t name just one! There’s old chicken, and fresh pee, and Thai take out, and bird droppings…

PV: If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you live?

M: I love New York but I would love to run more! I’d like to live somewhere off in the mountains, where my mom wouldn’t worry about me running off to explore every once and a while.

PV: What are your favorite foods?

M: I’ll try any food once, but it’s got to be chicken. I love when we get rotisserie chicken and I get the little fatty salty skin bits. MMMmm.

PV: What is your favorite weekend activity in NYC?

M: I like taking mom up to Randall’s Island! There’s plenty to sniff and explore up there. There are squirrels, and we also get to walk past lots of dogs on the way. I find other dogs confusing… but very interesting.

PV: Besides your human roomie, who is your favorite human in the Tri-I community?

M: I have to pass on this question, I don’t want to play favorites with my fans.

PV: Do you have a funny story to share with us?

M: One time I almost got that rabbit on the Rockefeller campus! I even got away from my mom, but I couldn’t find it once it got in the bushes. Actually, it is an exciting but sad story, not funny. I would like to chase the rabbit again someday.

PV: Is there some way we can see more pictures of you on the interwebs?

M: My mom basically only posts pictures of me (for obvious reasons). You can follow her Instagram @egarst.

PV: If you could have any human ability, what would it be?

M: Opening doors. Just imagine, I could take myself out on walks all the time!