Celebrating the Patron Saint of Animals: A Tribute to USF Pets

by Eva Reyes, Office of Development Communications

October 4, 2023 is the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. To celebrate, we remember Jesuit figures such as Saint Francis of Assisi for his life’s work as a friar, philosopher, and deacon.

His feast day on Oct. 4 is observed annually by Jesuit communities and other faith backgrounds around the world and commemorates his life of service, his devotion to the protection of animals, the environment, and to the poor and underprivileged. Members of the USF community spoke about the connection that they share with their USF pets and some lessons learned through these special bonds. 


Maggie Marlowe and her cat Atlas

"Atlas is a city cat at heart and one of my biggest supporters as I finished up my years at USF. When he’s not watching birds outside my window or hitting my laptop keyboard, he’s my constant comfort after the longest of days, snuggled up with me in my studio apartment. I’m excited to see where life takes this sweet little boy and I together." - Maggie Marlowe ’22

Louise De Oliveira and her pet snake

“Not only is Poe goofy and cute, but he has helped me prioritize my mental health during college so that I can provide him the best care possible for the next 25-30 years. I appreciate that he’s not judgmental (he doesn’t have the mental capacity for that), but instead will always invite silliness into our bond by curling up and climbing all over me. Being with Poe since he was four months old has also taught me a lot about reptiles and the fear that many people have of them. This allows me to share with others and break down the stigma around snakes. - Louise de Oliveira ’23

Matilda Tavares and her dog Iggy

“We adopted our dog, Iggy, in 2020 through a Northern California-based rescue center, Love & Second Chances. Iggy came to us as a shy and anxious dog, but after spending the pandemic together, she has become quite the playful dog with a sassy personality. We especially adore her love for fashion and are eagerly waiting for USF to come out with a USF logo branded dog bandana” - Matilda Tavares, MA ’18

Michael and Jaime Damer petting an alpaca

“For me, [our alpacas] are not pets in any conventional sense. It's the presence of something wild and foreign right in your own yard that makes them a joy to be around. No comfort or solace.... just a reminder of how different life can be.” - Michael Damer ’70

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