Animal Influencers


Compiled by Madeline Adamo Photos by Stan Lim
I drop cap

t’s no secret that cats and dogs rule the internet. Just try to imagine what your social media feeds would look like without cuddly canines and furry felines staring up at you as you scroll. It just wouldn’t be the same, would it?

Members of the UCR community, like everyone else, love their pets. There are many among us who share with their Instagram friends and followers every head tilt, paw stretch, yawn, smile, and oddball behavior of their animal companions.

That gave us the idea to introduce our readers to some of these good boys and girls. Because it’s summer in Riverside, both owners and pets enjoyed posing for our cameras in the sunshine.

If you’ve got a best friend at home who’s furry, scaly, feathery, or anything in between, be sure to tag your Instagram photos with #PetsofUCR, and they just might wind up on the official UCR Instagram feed: @ucriversideofficial.


Click the image above to play video


Pinky Images

Pinky main image

Dr. Pinkylicious

Age: 3 years

Sex/Breed: Male, poodle/Maltese mix

Owner: Laura Saddi ’20, @dr.pinkylicious

Fun facts: “Pinkylicious’ favorite  spot on campus is near the bell tower, especially on Wednesdays when all the clubs, sororities, and fraternities are out. He enjoys the UCR kids tours so much that he pulls on his leash to go join them; Pinkylicious loves that kind of attention.”



Age: 2 years

Sex/Breed: Male, domestic short hair

Owner: Sara K. Becker, assistant professor of anthropology, @dr.sara.k.bee

Fun facts: “Oyster was captured from a feral cat colony at Leisure World. They expected to release him and his brothers back to the wild, but eventually decided to see if he could make it as a pet. We couldn’t get near him for at least three weeks. He and MacGuffin were introduced around the second week and decided to be pals within a day or two. Oyster is very food oriented and knows the word ‘treats’ and the sound the treat box makes from across the house.”

Pokey image


Age: 5 years

Sex/Breed: Male, bearded dragon

Owner: Stefan Kehlenbach, doctoral student, political science; and Elaine Murphy, @pokeyandciba

Fun facts: “Elaine’s family adopted Pokey from Craigslist. Pokey and Ciba live in separate houses because bearded dragons are territorial and don’t get along. Pokey, who still lives with Elaine’s parents, is a sweetheart and wears his feelings on his sleeve. If he’s being territorial, scared, happy, or confused, he will let you know. He sleeps in a little dog bed and refuses to go to bed until someone tucks him in with his blanket and stuffed dinosaur. He’s definitely a spoiled little prince and loves attention.”

ciba and pokey image

Ciba image


(short for Alcibiades)

Age: 2-3 years

Sex/Breed: Male, bearded dragon Owner: Stefan Kehlenbach, doctoral student, political science; and Elaine Murphy, @pokeyandciba

Fun facts: “Ciba was also a Craigslist rescue. When we got him, he was in terrible shape — too skinny, and he had old wounds from being attacked by another bearded dragon that he was kept with in a tank. A vet had to amputate his hand and foot, leaving him with a little peg leg and arm. He recovered beautifully and loves running around the house. His personality is feisty and independent and pretty much fearless.”

Athena image


Age: 3 years

Sex/Breed: Female, Airedale terrier

Owner: Kathryn Uhrich, dean, College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences, @kathrynuhrich

Fun facts: “Airedales were bred to hunt river rats in England. Athena has translated these skills to hunt lizards in Southern California. She does this with such single-mindedness she has broken more than one tooth in pursuit of lizards scurrying around on pavement and concrete walls. She likes to learn, yet gets bored when asked to do the same trick over and over. There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t both amaze and have us rolling with laughter.”

Images of Athena and Kathryn Ulrich

Ari image


Age: unknown

Sex/Breed: Female, domestic short hair

Owner: Aleksis Livshits ’22, @ucr.arikitty.meow

Fun facts: The once feral cat is now a permanent resident of the Pentland Hills courtyard, where students have made her a little house by her favorite window. UCR student Aleksis Livshits has been especially attentive to Ari, feeding her cat food daily, as well as starting Ari’s Instagram page and giving her routine wellness checks. Livshits, who hopes to become a veterinarian one day, has even gotten Ari to let her pick her up.

Ari images

Daisy image


Age: 3 years

Sex/Breed: Female, Chihuahua/basenji mix

Owner: Samantha Stanfill ’21, @esadaisymae

Fun facts: “Daisy was rescued from the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center. She is an amazing dog and a great learner. One of my favorite things about Daisy is when she gets really excited, she will smile, or at least give her version of a smile. Daisy always keeps me laughing or smiling. She has such a huge personality in such a tiny 11-pound package.”

images of Daisy






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