With early morning classes, extracurricular activities and the struggle of balancing a healthy social life, students are often drained mentally and physically. However, when one is feeling down, they can always turn to a little furry friend to help cheer them up.
Lloyd is an 11-year-old cat that resides near the Johnson dorms and LaFollette Complex. With his friendly attitude and cute appearance, Lloyd attracts students in the area while wearing his “I love all the people” collar.
“He loves all of the people, he’s just a social animal,” said Jody Mason, Lloyd’s owner. She said the friendly cat loves to receive constant pets and affection from students.
Mason has owned Lloyd for eight years. After arriving on her doorstep at the age of three, the Mason family decided to take Lloyd in. He’s been living near campus for more than a year after the Mason family moved from Jay County.
After being picked up by campus police and spending a weekend in the animal shelter, Jody decided to add a collar to Lloyd with a QR code leading to his Instagram page, which contains several pictures and videos.
And while Mason is happy to let Lloyd roam, she said she worries about his safety at night, especially since he was once found near Noyer Complex, which is a 10 to 15 minute walk from where he usually resides.
“We’ve started to keep him in more at night. The locals and the students can get a little speedy on some streets when there are very little pedestrians,” Mason said.
Hannah Hill, a freshman journalism major, said safety is something she worries about with her pets, too.
“I have two cats and we usually don't let them roam around, we’re scared for their safety.”
Although he does not have a fixed schedule, Mason said Lloyd is an early morning cat who likes to go out and start his day between 6:30-7:30 a.m. He usually returns home around noon or early evening.
“When I saw Lloyd for the first time I automatically assumed he was lost, as others thought,” said Sophia Boeckstiegel, a freshman fashion merchandising major. “I have a pet Maltese named Jaxin so petting Lloyd brings back a feeling of nostalgia. It's also very therapeutic because a lot of students are occasionally stressed.”
Some high schools and hospitals are known to have integrated “pet therapy,” a way for patients to cope with stress and depression through petting and cuddling various pets. Mason said she hopes Lloyd can help students as well.
“He is known to go to people who are in distress. If someone’s upset in the house, he will go towards that person and he will love on them and rub on them and want to be around those people,” Mason said.
And while winter is approaching and temperatures are dropping, Lloyd will still be roaming around.
"He loves the snow, he would jump and play in the snow like a kid,” Mason said.
Contact Tyree Jakes with comments at email@example.com.