Aspen Skinner-Royer is the true motivation for her mom’s science: without that grad school stipend, there’s no way Kasey could keep her pup supplied with the treatos and soft blankets she demands. Aspen’s hobbies include watching Kira the cat (see below) and snoozing with her humans. She is also a connoisseur of goat cheese, hamburgers, and sticks. Her research interests include the profound questions “Why cats” and “How eat chicken bone”.
Penny Bash is definitely the happiest lab support animal and she doesn’t care who knows it. Whether it’s snoring on the couch, wrestling Aspen, or barking joyously at nothing in the backyard, she’s thrilled to be doing it! Her one other mood is worried. She enjoys walking (pulling) her human in the woods and eating EVERYTHING. Her research interests are focused with impressive singularity on when is dinnertime.
Kira Bash is the queen of the household and she doesn’t care who knows it. She is worried. All the time. Her best friends are a fake black cat Halloween decoration and Ryan, in that order. Her hobbies include knowing where Aspen is at all times, screaming to taunt Aspen, screaming for food, and screaming generally. Kira researches the inside of kitchen cabinets and dog psychology (so she can steal their food).
Harriet Shelton-Smith is such a stoic ball of spikes that she once pretended to be a boy hedgehog when she was really pregnant! She enjoys hissing, napping, and hissing some more. Notable achievements include the time that she disappeared from her cage and newborn Boudreaux (see below), only to be discovered taking a nap under some clothes several feet away. Her research focuses on methods to get people to leave her alone (spikes work, being so darn cute doesn’t).
Boudreaux Shelton-Smith is no longer this tiny, but he’s definitely still this cute. He takes after his mama, Harriet, in his spikiness, but give him a few minutes and he’ll show you his soft side (literally, his tummy is so soft). His hobbies include seeing how tightly he can roll into a ball, eating, and not taking baths. His research interests include determining the optimal mealworm treat to hedgehog body weight ratio (preliminary studies show that there is no upper limit).
Piper Shelton-Smith (Pippin, Pip, Pooper), former sewer kitty, now lives a life of luxury with his humans and their other animals. His hobbies are eating, being a chonker, eating, and eating. He’s been known to hold grudges if he can see the bottom of his food bowl at any time. If there was a contest for best cat bellies, he would win. His research interest is food, and he asks that anyone interested in funding this exciting work go directly to Petco and supply him with Friskies.
Sydney Shelton-Smith rounds out Abby’s small zoo and is nervous enough for the rest of the household. Her hobbies are squeaking, running away, and being beautiful. She is a co-author on the food study with her brother Piper, but is secretly worried that he might be misappropriating kibble. Her research interest is learning how to meow.
Mia Smithberger-Bryan is so cute, she’s not even a real creature. She will steal your heart and nibble on your Achilles tendon so fast you won’t even know what hit you. She enjoys attending puppy class, sleeping on her humans, and testing out her puppy teeth on anything and everything. Her research interests include determining the best method for avoiding haircuts at the groomers.
Dolce Miller is the old lady of the bunch, but that doesn’t stop her from tearing around the backyard with Aspen and Penny like a pro. She enjoys visiting her dog friends, receiving ear scratches, and snoozing. Her research focuses on how to stop thunderstorms from happening ever again.
Echo Skinner-Royer is Aspen’s new little brother. Born and raised on the streets of Calera, AL, one day he jumped out of a bush and into his parents’ lives. His research interests include Aspen’s every move and the habits of neighborhood bunnies (so he can catch them). When he’s not working very hard on these questions, he enjoys snoozing (10 PM-8 AM) and being the cutest pain in the butt that ever lived (the rest of the time).