MY PET, THE PANDA
To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
It came to my attention recently when my son visited home for the weekend that it has now become frequent practice in the Houses at Harvard for undergraduates to have pets in their rooms. My son mentioned cats as being the most common, but it seems that there are also numerous mice, rats, gerbilles (which are an outlandish species of Mongolian desert rat), and various amphibians as well as the permitted fish.
I thought you might be interested to know that while I was matriculating, which was toward the end of the depression, my roommates and I had as a pet a fullgrown panda named George. The summer before my final year at Harvard my father had brought her back with him from a trip to Tibet. I prevailed upon him to allow me to take the animal to school and keep her there, he being ignorant of the prohibition against having pets in the rooms. My roommates were of course delighted with George, and all went splendidly for almost a month. We trained her to use the courtyard of Adams House, where I was resident, for exercise and for her bodily functions, permitting her to go out only late at night.
The end came when the Master of the House invited himself up to Tea one afternoon. Unfortunately, George did not remain quiet, and soon after the Master arrived she began to whine and growl in a most piteous way and to knock on the door to the living room behind which she was incarcertated. The Master, remarking on the peculiarity of the noises issuing from behind the door, opened it.
Until 1948, when she died of natural causes, George lived at the Boston Zoo, where I visited her often. S. J. C. Shea '39