After Hours: Tribble works days (not nights) to help students de-stress

Tribble, named after the alien species in Star Trek, works (and dines) in the library and sometimes remotely, when fellow employees can offer her a good home over school breaks.

In advance of National Love Your Pet Day (February 20), we bring you up close and personal with Tribble. She’s the purring rodent with the amiable nature who resides in the library. Tribble oversees all of the comings and goings in the library and occasionally counsels students while sitting in their laps. She enjoys the perquisites of being the only pet mammal on campus.

Position: Library Guinea Pig

Years at NCSSM: 1 1/2

Home: Cage just inside the library door. Formerly Animal Protection Society of Durham (otherwise known as the Durham Animal Shelter).

What she does outside of work: She loves to visit others’ homes on breaks. She especially likes homes with children and no other pets, or with outside pets.

What coworkers may not know: Guinea pigs are great “pocket pets” that thrive without all the attention required by cats and dogs. They don’t bite, and they make all kinds of cool noises. The only maintenance is cleaning the cage a time or two a week and occasionally trimming their nails. They’re also diurnal, so they don’t keep you up at night.

Best part of her job: Occasionally being a therapy animal for a stressed-out student. Tribble will patiently sit in a student’s lap while the student pets her and decompresses.

Favorite perk of working at NCSSM: Hands down, it’s the snacks. Favorites include spinach, cucumbers, and fresh grass (organic only, please! She has standards.)

One thing about working here that she’d do differently: Occasionally allow staff members to bring their (well-trained, non-biting) dogs to work to mix with students. Unis can talk to their parents and siblings, but they miss their pets. Oh, and no more dinner food jokes. Yes, she knows her species is a delicacy in Peru, but it gets old…

— Interview by Robin Boltz, Library Director

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