They might smell funny, terrorize the mailman, or harbor peculiar habits, but they are our (furry and four-footed) neighbors nonetheless.
Advocate readers were asked to send in photos of their pets. We received droves of darling doggie pics — pointy-eared Dobies, droopy-eyed hounds, mussed-up mutts and dogs wearing clothes (which never gets old). The following is but a sampling of the sundry submissions that drew from our editors the most emphatic, “aww”s.
Size: 45 pounds
Mom: Janice Wolff
Janice Wolff turns a lot of heads in her neighborhood — at least when she’s strutting down Chevy Chase Avenue with Ruby. “Nobody even knows who I am; I’m just Ruby’s mom.” Children come running when they see the playful, stout bulldog, and adults have even asked to take pictures of her. “I’ve thought about renting her out for parties,” Wolff jokes. Ruby was the last pup left from a friend’s litter, and Wolff decided to take her home on a whim. “She was the leftover, but she ended up being the prize.” Ruby has claimed her napping spot on some blankets inside the linen closet. Although bulldogs are thought to be slow and a bit lazy, Ruby is defiantly not. She’s all about toys that honk, especially the ugly, rubber chickens. On walks, she likes to grab stray baseballs from the nearby field. And she always stops to say hello to neighborhood children. “She loves kids. She has to go up to all the strollers and look in,” Wolff says. And the kids love her back. “She just eats it up.”
Size: 10 pounds
Mom: Patricia Ivanisevic
Sam is about as close as it gets to a domesticated tiger, and Patricia Ivanisevic’s living room is his jungle. “They’re wild,” Ivanisevic says of Bengals. “That’s why I don’t have drapes.” Bengals lead active lifestyles and are intelligent. Sam is no exception. But this troublemaker also may have saved his owner’s life. In April 2004, during the middle of the night, a fire started in Ivanisevic’s kitchen. Sam awoke Ivanisevic before the smoke alarms even sounded. She had two other cats at the time that just hid underneath the bed. “If he hadn’t alerted me, I couldn’t have gotten out as quickly.” When he’s not being a hero, Sam’s on the move, jumping around the furniture and even opening cabinets. Unlike most cats, he loves the water and likes to lounge inside the shower. And he doesn’t cut corners when it comes to hygiene. He has two water bowls — one to drink from and another to rinse his paws after tiptoeing through the litter box. At bedtime, he climbs up next to Mom and nestles underneath the covers — a peaceful end to a rambunctious day. “He’s very loyal,” Ivanisevic says. “He never scratches or bites. I just love him.”
Breeds: Japanese chin and bulldog
Sizes: 11 and 68 pounds
Ages: 5 and 1
Mom: Robin Bruce
As a single mother of two preteens, Robin Bruce says she gave up on getting a man in the house, so she got a bulldog instead. “The dogs help teach the kids responsibility,” she says. The yard doesn’t have a fence, so Buster and Delta must be walked every morning and evening. Delta is the quintessential lap dog and queen of the house. Buster is energetic and loves to play, but he can’t resist his favorite napping spot on the cool, stone entryway. “He’s just crazy-happy,” Bruce says, adding that the pair together just make life more interesting. “They’re more to us than dogs.”
Sizes: 8.5 and 10 pounds
Ages: 11 and 10
Parents: James and Renee Cameron
If you’re a guest in the Cameron home, you might notice one, two, three or more toys mysteriously gather near your feet. “Then you look down, and you have a semi-circle of five toys around you,” Renee Cameron says. That’s the work of Brutus the Chihuahua, eager to play and trying to figure out your preference — a fleecy, stuffed bone? Or how about one that squeaks? Brutus and his more reserved partner, Bobo, are simply known as “the boyz”, and they’re pretty much inseparable. “If you have one small dog, you should also have two. They love one another so much,” Cameron says. And they both have their own set of talents and quirks. Bobo does his part of the yard work by furiously digging next to Cameron while she gardens: “As if he’s helping me.” She says he’s definitely the alpha dog and helps keep tabs on Brutus, the 11-year-old “perpetual puppy”.
Size: 18 pounds
Mom: Lori McCracken
Ada’s one lucky dog. She was a puppy mill victim, and when Lori McCracken found Ada, she knew she had to save her. “She probably had about two more weeks to live,” McCracken says. Suffering from pneumonia, ear mites and a torn retina, Ada underwent several weeks of treatments and surgeries before she could live a normal life. Today, she’s a happy, middle-aged pug that goes nowhere without her favorite stuffed cow. At bedtime, she clutches the toy in her mouth before falling asleep. “It’s like her little binky.” McCracken is a local acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter and can tell when she has created a good song because Ada pays attention. But as far as tricks, “She’s a first-class lap dog.”