NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Pets Come to the Rescue of NIH Teleworkers

A dog and cat snuggle up together in a dog bed.
“How NOT to social distance,” notes Jennifer Collins, a health specialist in NIEHS’s Division of Extramural Research and Training.
A cat snoozes curled up in his cat bed on a desk, as sunlight streams in through the window.
“My telework colleague Arthur insists on sleeping on my desk, and he snores!” said Dr. Stephanie Smith-Roe, a genetic toxicologist in NIEHS’s Biomolecular Screening Branch.
A white dog wearing a green bandana sits on couch next to the book, "Educated."
"Our supervisor and smart dog Bliss chills on the couch getting ‘educated’ while practicing social distancing,” said Meredith Daly, NICHD senior media relations officer.
A parrot munches on a cracker.
"I like having lunch with Mom!” says Ali Macaw, enjoying a cracker during Bonnie Earnhardt of NIEHS’s lunch break.
An orange cat stands on hind legs, looking out the open window.
Providing a metaphor for many teleworkers these days, Basil asks, “Can we go outside yet?” He belongs to Dr. Serena Dudek of NIEHS’s Neurobiology Laboratory.
Black and white cat naps on chair.
“Cabot seems happy that I’m working at home, if only to gloat about napping all day,” said Daniel Silber of the Clinical Center’s Office of Communications.
A hand strokes a grey cat that's lying on the bed
My coworker Seryy (Russian for grey) is fuzzy and ran away when I tried to get her to wear a mask,” said Cheryl Thompson of NIEHS.
Cat gets a belly rub on his perch and second photo shows same cat, looking frustrated while clawing on his cat tree.
Day 1...I love you; don’t ever leave me! Day 30...I don’t understand why you never leave! reports Korey Stevanovic, a biologist in NIEHS’s Neurobiology Laboratory.
Peter Lyster peers over his cat.
“Help, I am being held hostage by a giant cat,” says Peter Lyster, NIGMS.
An iguana sits on top of a girl's head in her home.
"Well he’s not exactly a ‘pup,’ but Skipper has been keeping on top of my 16-year-old daughter Jessica while she settles into the new remote schooling routine (after all, somebody has to…),” notes Brian Steyskal, a contractor at NIGMS.
A dog lies next to woman watching a science video.
“Science class” support dog Tuck does his job for Whitney Murphy, operations coordinator at NIEHS.
A black and white pup with her tongue sticking out sits on a work table.
“Misty had developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and gone through 5 rounds of CHOP therapy as well as 5 rounds of Tanovia but had to be euthanized a month or so after this photo because her lymphoma kept becoming resistant to the drugs,” said Dr. Jack Bishop, a research geneticist with NIEHS’s National Toxicology Program. “She was a wonderful companion that we adopted as a rescue 5 years earlier from the SPCA. She loved everyone, but not other dogs that much. We miss her and have now gotten a new puppy but will never be able to replace her.”
Two cats snuggle up on the rug.
Lexi and Porsche (Maine Coon sisters) keep their human (NIEHS scientific director Dr. Darryl Zeldin) safe during the COVID pandemic.
A dog's head rests on a man's elbow.
Talk about supervision! Fern parks her chin on the elbow of Joseph Schumaker, eRA communication specialist in NIH’s Office of Extramural Research.
A cat naps on Fichter's steno pad
Cider helps take meeting notes for Sarah Fichter, senior writer/editor at CIT.
A large black dog stands outside on a boulder, surrounded by trees.
"Finn was rescued on Apr. 16, 2016, as a very sick puppy and has maintained good health and Good Boy status since then,” said Dr. Bevin Blake, NIEHS. “He has enjoyed all of the bonus walks over the past few weeks, but his absolute favorite thing in the world is running around with a tennis ball and never giving it back.”
Tiny white dog wearing red bow sits in her doggie bed.
“This is my 3-pound smile-maker, Daisy,” said Christine Bruske Flowers, director, NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.
A tabby cat rests with paw outstretched
“Here’s a pic of my handsome boy, Charlie,” said Jennika Wells of the Office of Patient Recruitment at the Clinical Center.
A fuzzy little pup holds a water gun in his mouth,
“Anyone ready for a play time break?” asks Chief, who belongs to Bryan Duran, a manager in NIEHS’s Office of Information Technology.

It took a global pandemic to out the throngs of NIH’ers who—given the photos on this page—obviously can’t bear to work alone.

There is a popular bumper sticker showing the image of a paw, with the caption “Who rescued who?” As you can see, many employees forced to telework by the threat of COVID-19 find solace and companionship in their pets.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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