Readers’ pick: President Wrighton’s cat ‘Purrfessor’
The F Street House is known as interim University President Mark Wrighton’s residence, but when I walked up the stairs to the house on a rainy day last week, it was Wrighton’s dog, Spike, who excitedly met me at the door.
The small, fluffy five-year-old mutt jumped up on my knees with excitement, as he often does for visitors.
That is, unless you’re a dog groomer. Spike can sometimes be “aggressive” with his groomers, Wrighton said, adding that Spike had gotten a trim in preparation for his Best of Northwest nomination photo op.
Spike moved into the F Street House in late January soon after Wrighton became University president. Wrighton walks him three times per day and jokingly refers to him as the “first dog” of GW.
Spike isn’t the first furry animal to take up residence in the president’s house – former University President Steven Knapp’s fluffy white pooch, Ruffles, was known to make appearances around campus. But it’s Spike’s playful demeanor and overall cuteness earned him the top spot for best GW pet.
Wrighton said Spike was known to hate the rain when they lived in St. Louis, but he has seemed more open to walks even in a constant drizzle after arriving in Foggy Bottom.
As he prowled around the on-campus residence reserved for GW’s sitting president last week, Spike was camera ready. He stood on his hind legs at one point to grab a treat from his owner.
“He’s a show dog,” Wrighton said.
Wrighton’s other furry friend who lives in the F Street House, a tabby cat also nominated for best GW pet, wasn’t as enthusiastic and hid from the cameras, even with Wrighton calling his name from the bottom of the main staircase with a treat.
Wrighton nicknamed the cat Purrfessor, but his wife, Risa, was quick to note the cat’s given name.
“His name is Maestro,” she emphasized, like the leader of a band.
Still, the president seems to prefer Maestro’s cheeky nickname.
“I’ve given him tenure,” he joked in a January interview. “Sometimes he gives seminars.”