Our Pets and Animals


Christi Meyers, Assistant Concertmaster

Scotty takes a snooze in Christi’s violin case

Scotty is not quite 6 months old and came to us as an adoptee from the Pacific Cat Clinic in late July. He took a bit to get used to my practicing- at first he’d bite my ankles but now looks forward to me taking my violin out of my case so he can crawl in there and have a snooze. He also, with some regularity, walks on the piano keys to let me know I should stop and give him a little cuddle. This is a welcome change from our previous cats who would flee as soon as I started tuning!

We love having a pet as a member of our family- Scotty is very social, he loves to be carried around and happily interacts with visitors!



Mike Oswald, Horn  &  Anne Power, Bassoon

Pet’s name / age: Daisy – 4 years old

How pet came into your life: Rescue from Mexico via McKenzie Vet’s Mexi-Can Vet Project

Does Daisy react to your practicing?  I don’t practice with her in the room, but during lessons she will sit on the couch downwind of my bell and sleep.

Any stories to share?  Daisy learned to sing from Ambulances.

What is special/quirky about her?  She can be a fearful dog and takes a long time to be comfortable with any new situation or thing.  The trick to working with her is to learn to see things through her eyes and very slowly and patiently work with her.  The good thing is she will do most anything for food so there’s never any doubt of what you need to do to motivate her.


Darren Buhr, Bass

Darren’s chicken eggs were a hit with orchestra members

When we had several chickens, we had many eggs per day so I sold some to colleagues in the orchestra.  One time, I spent so much time before rehearsal selling eggs that I didn’t realize that, for some reason, I did not have my bow that day so I had to really scramble to borrow a bow somehow!





Marcus Hissen, Trombone

Sniffy the cat

Sniffy is a rescue cat that we got from the SPCA in May, 2015.  She was found wandering around with one leg stuck through her collar and her prolonged recovery prompted tears from the volunteers upon her adoption.  When Rebecca practices clarinet at home, Sniffy often “goes to work” in solidarity, enthusiastically harassing her various stuffed mice.  When Marcus practices trombone Sniffy usually disappears to some far corner of the house as though waiting out a rain storm.  While not the most cuddly of creatures, this cat always seems to be close by, eager to lock her fuzzy mind with yours through an unfairly persistent gaze that asks you gently, affectionately, to rethink your life.


Emily Salmon, Violin

Emily spending time with her new bunnies

I wasn’t always “adopt-don’t-shop”.   My first bunny needed a new home because her owner was moving to Europe, and I didn’t think it was a big deal to take her in until someone told me how generous it was.  Charlotte was a wonderful bun, very friendly and easy to train. It took years to build up the trust to take her outside with no leash, but she became so reliable I once even took her to a campsite and she just hung out. Her health declined in the last two years and she died only a few hours after I played Symphony Splash this year.

Showing off some personality

Now I have Meeka and Betty. They’re both from the SPCA. It’s hard starting over building that trust and I miss Charlotte terribly, but it’s also wonderful to see their personalities come out as they become comfortable with me.

Since becoming more aware how many of these lovely creatures are misunderstood and discarded, I feel very strongly about adopting rather than going to a shop or a breeder. They are like children; they understand more than we realize, and there is a give and take to the process, as with any relationship.


Martin Bonham, Cello

Isn’t he adorable?

Pet’s age:  312

When did you adopt your “pet”?  1984

Does your pet react to your practicing?  He bites me when I miss something.

Any stories to share?  He had a problem with his neck a few years ago.  The vet bill was enormous.

What do you personally get out of having your pet?  I love it when he growls.

What is special/quirky about him?  He screams and whines, too.

Anything else you’d like to share?  I keep him well caged up when I’m not around.


Michael Byrne, Principal Oboe  &  Mary Byrne, Alternate Flute/Piccolo

Photo by Mike Byrne of the sneaky Pamina

Our two cats, Pamina and Sarastro, have been in our family since 2003, when we adopted them from the SPCA. They are named for two major characters in Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute”.

Pamina is a dark tortoise shell (or “tortie”) female, who has a way of quietly sneaking through narrow doorways or gaps in furniture, and suddenly appearing unannounced, demanding  attention. In the middle of the night, she often practices her piano skills by playing rather loud, atonal melodies if the keyboard lid is left open!

Photo by Mike Byrne of Sarastro

Sarastro is an orange gentleman, and is the more vocally enthusiastic of the two. He will loudly announce his desire for food promptly at 6:00 AM, whether or not his staff (us) have an early morning obligation.

Both Pamina and Sarastro are relaxed and comfortable around practicing musicians, which is a good thing at our house!