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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Telework Aides Offer Reason to Put Phone on Mute

Turtle on rock

After draining the pond, we were pleased to discover that Fluffy the turtle had, in fact, survived her first winter outside,” said Jennifer Sizemore of NIGMS.

Dog on rock with hand-painted sign,"6 feet" hanging on pole

“My dog, Sally, appreciates me being home and taking her on walks during conference calls,” said Dr. Peter Kilmarx, deputy director of the Fogarty International Center. “Here she is modeling and providing scale for a neighbor’s display of what 6-foot separation looks like.”

Cat sips from water glass on top of desk

“I’m going to have a serious discussion with my coworker about boundaries,” said Nicole Popovich, a management analyst in NIEHS’s Division of Extramural Research and Training.

Orange fish swims toward camera

Gerry, who usually floats about at FIC, was also sent home to telework. Gerry was rescued from a wading pool at an NIH event back in June 2017. Spoiled with love from staff, the fish has grown to be quite beautiful and friendly, said Mili Ferreira, FIC global health program specialist.

Cat looks up from blue-jeaned knee.

“My current favorite companion is our kitty Mystic,” said Dr. Pat Brown, director of OER’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, who has had many pets over the years. “He was a rescue that my son found as a kitten in Salisbury, hanging around the student apartments. He is now 11 and considers himself the master over me.”

White dog with black spots

“I am loving this social distancing rule because now I am able to spend ALL day with mom and we get to go on 47,473 walks a day!” says Princeton, owned by Ashley White, recruitment & outreach specialist in the Clinical Center’s Office of Patient Recruitment.

Cat on pavers

“I have two cats and this one [Moon] is the oldest,” said Judy Bartz, an administrative technician at NIEHS. “She turned 20 in January. She thinks she is a kitten yet. She lightens the mood and helps us stay upbeat.”

Black dog

“My quarantine coworker, Kona, at work providing IT support,” says Karen White, web content manager at NICHD.

Close-up of dog with tongue hanging out

NIEHS’s Debbie Gaffney has a personal assistant, Lansky, who she says “will be getting a 2 on his PMAP for social distancing!”

Yawning cat

NIEHS’s Ru-Pin “Alicia” Chi has a cat named Gary who yawns constantly, not realizing it is contagious.

White dog

Hazel supports Omar Echegoyén, Clinical Center patient recruitment specialist, during his telework days.

Dog curled up sleeping

Dr. Erica Spotts, health scientist administrator in the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, notes, “My supervisor is working hard.”

Hawk perched in tree

One day while eating lunch, NIAMS’s Alisa Machalek caught sight of this red-shouldered hawk in her backyard. Using her husband’s new zoom lens, she was able to capture this image.

White dog with blue ball in his mouth looks into camera.

“How can we play if you’re working all the time?” says Charlie, who belongs to Richard Barnes of the Online Information Branch, OD.

Dog with paw on keyboard, looks into camera.

“Billy provides ’round-the-clock IT support,” says Dr. James Onken, a contractor for OD. “The PrtSc key [has been] retrieved from his mouth. G key still missing.”

Two black cats--one looks to be whispering in the other's ear

“Listen up, this is what we are going to do to get her out of our house!” say cats Pixel and Luna, who belong to Eli Ney of NIEHS. “As you can see,” says Ney, “they don’t practice social distancing either.”

Close-up of German shepherd looking into camera

“Are you having a ruff time?” asks Max, a German shepherd belonging to Gladys Gonzalez, a study recruiter at NIEHS.

Dog looks over the shoulder of Alyssa Brooks as she smiles into the camera

“This is Luce (the mini labradoodle), who has been stealing the show during Zoom and Webex meetings since the start of the pandemic,” says Dr. Alyssa Brooks of the Clinical Center. “She wishes everyone would mute themselves except when they are speaking, but not as much as she wishes she had more treats.”

Close-up of dog's face as she rests her chin between two blue-jeaned knees

Gabby, a 13.5-year-old lab, comes in for some petting from Joseph Shealey, senior electrical engineer at the Research Triangle Park Facilities Management Branch.

Two cats with captions "Is this 6 feet?" "Rebecca & Wally"

Justin Kosak of NIEHS has two at-home supervisors.

Dog looks out over a beach.

“This is Clark,” says Dr. Allen Dearry, program director in the NCI Cancer Research Data Commons. “He is a 1.5-year-old whippet. He loves the beach, which is unfortunately closed right now. But every day, he helps keep me sane and focused and serves as a reminder of what’s important.”

Bird perched atop computer monitor with image of NIH director Dr. Francis Collins showing on screen

Christine Sizemore of the Fogarty International Center has an assistant, “Peck,” a green-rumped parrotlet who loves NIH’s director.

Two dogs lounge in front of corner windows

The support team belonging to Paul Williams, communications director at NICHD

Goat stands on patio chair

“Goldie, a 4-week-old Nubian goat, is my telework co-worker and also my stress relief,” says Erica Jaworski, clinical manager of oncology clinics in Bldg. 10. “My kids bottle-feed Goldie and her goat sister three times a day. We are all getting an education of the farm-yard variety.”

Cat sits in front of computer screen.

Duncan, a cat belonging to Christine McGowan, an NCI research nurse specialist, likes to catch up on email.

Bo nuzzles Stephanie Wildridge as she takes a selfie.

Bo has been the best co-worker during this extended time of teleworking, says Stephanie Wildridge, clinical manager of 3NW Adult Oncology in the CC.

Cat shown beside manuscript page

Bella is in the habit of distracting both Daniel Avila, an anesthesia tech in Bldg. 10, and Belinda Avila, supervisor of sterile processing in the hospital.

Raise your hand if your pet ever interrupted one of your telework efforts, to your embarrassment.

Here are more of NIH’s prized telework helpmates, who have assisted their (alleged) masters since the workforce was encouraged to begin telework in mid-March.

On Apr. 24, NIH’ers learned that telework remains the preferred mode of operations until the end of May.

Here’s hoping the unprecedented amount of attention works to the benefit of all.

The NIH Record

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

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Associate Editor: Carla Garnett
Carla.Garnett@nih.gov

Staff Writers:

Eric Bock
Eric.Bock@nih.gov

Dana Talesnik
Dana.Talesnik@nih.gov

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