Professors and their Pets: Shiva Balaghi


This segment of Professors and their Pets features Shiva Balaghi, a Visiting Professor of Iranian Studies, History of Art and Architecture, and History (sidenote: she is our best friend on Twitter).  Meet Shiva’s dog, Binker. You can call this proclaimed “celebri-dog in the Providence dog world” Binky.

Type of pet: Dog

Name: Binker or Binky

Do you have a story behind your pet’s name? My husband, Mike Kennedy, and I adopted Binker through Petfinder when we were living in Ann Arbor five years ago. She and her siblings had been dumped at a Cleveland, Ohio kill shelter. We got her from a foster parent when she was 4 months old. By then, she was already clearly Binker: the name suits her perfectly!

Tell us a little about Binky: Binky’s motto in life is “play hard, nap often.” She greets us every morning by jumping around and wagging her tail. When we have stressful days at work, Mike and I remind each other: “Just wag your tail like Binky, and it’ll be ok.”

What are some of Binky’s favorite activities? Binker is a very sociable, friendly dog. She goes on regular “doggie excursions” with Ruffin Wranglers. On days when Mike and I are on campus all day, they come fetch her in a van and take her to play with other dogs on a farm in MA. When I walk Binky around Providence, other doggie parents often recognize her. People comment on her ears; she’s got great ears.

What is it like to bring Binky to campus?  When I taught HIST1460, around midterms, I’d surprise the students by having Binker waiting on the green to greet them at the end of class. Mike takes her for long walks on campus. One time we let her off leash on the green. Binker ran straight to the Provost and jumped right on top of him. Embarrassing!!

How does Binky feel about Brown students? Binker’s favorite person in the whole world is my stepson, Lucas, who is a senior at U of Wisconsin-Madison. She grew up playing with him and his friends. So whenever Binker sees a group of students, she runs up to them and waits for them to make a fuss over her, pet her, and play with her. Sometimes when we take her for hikes in Lincoln State Park, Binker will run ahead and find some Brown students on the trails. College age students are by far her favorite kind of people.

Would Binky prefer the Ratty or V-Dub? Binker loves to graze on the bits of food students sometimes leave behind on the Green. The whole campus is like a giant buffet for her! But if she had her druthers, Bink would probably be a Ratty dog. She loves pasta and pizza… and any kind of meat.


  1. Shiva

    Binker’s playing it v cool that she got a story in the BDH. Her reaction? She took a nice nap!

  2. Bruno

    These articles need more pictures!

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