Lose your job? Break up with the boyfriend? Blubbering over a sappy movie? Funny how that ever-present furry family member can fix the world with a big sloppy kiss some days. The Advocate this year received an unprecedented amount of entries into the annual Best Pet contest. Each submission, accompanied by photos and amusing anecdotes, confirmed the power of a pet’s unconditional love. Though we could only highlight a few in the magazine, the whole collection, which you can see on our facebook page, had us oohing and ahhing, laughing and crying for days.
Before developing a hip disorder that forced her into retirement, Tiva was a dog agility champion. The 8-year-old Australian Shepherd mix qualified for the American Kennel Club National Agility Championship in 2010. She obtained the AKC’s prestigious Master Agility Champion title (MACH), and her kennel room is full of other ribbons, medals and certificates. Dog agility is dominated by purebreds that go on to compete internationally. Mixed-breeds were only recently allowed to compete, and they cannot advance from the nationals. “There’s always some satisfaction when we beat [the purebreds],” says Tiva’s owner, Anne Pullen of Northaven Park. Dog agility is no cakewalk for the humans or the dogs. Owners are given just eight minutes to memorize complicated obstacle courses. Half the time, it’s the owners who slip up during agility. Other times, the dog just has a bad day. “The dog is the variable,” Pullen says. “She couldn’t care less. For her, it’s about getting to run around.”
Jennifer Doss Davis adopted terrier mix Sadie at 10 weeks old from a rescue organization in Denver where she and her husband, Curt, were living at the time. Sadie was the first of their three “fur angels,” which now include mixed-breeds Max and Jesse. “She’s the big sister,” Davis says. “She’s the queen of the house.” Sadie is smart and energetic and possibly telepathic, Davis jokes. She’s everybody’s best friend, but she can be a bit demanding. “Every night before bed, she gets her father to come tuck her in,” Davis says. “She’ll go in the den, and Curt will have to come in the bedroom and tuck her in under her blanket before she can go to sleep.” Rough life.
The German drahthaar is bred to hunt everything from birds to wild hogs. But this 3-year-old hardcore working dog finds plenty of time to play. Her pastime of choice? Water skiing. “She would always ride in the boat and watch us,” says Suzanne Warner, whose children Grace and Ryan are internationally ranked water skiers. The family spends most weekends at their lake house about two hours from the city. Peaches didn’t need much training. On shore, she stepped on a kneeboard tethered to the boat and went for it. “We put her on it, and she just took off,” Warner says. “Most dogs you’d have to train, but she wanted to do it. It came naturally.” Several laps around the lake wear Peaches out, and each session is followed by a long, hard nap.
This purebred Golden retriever was down on his luck, having been returned to the Wylie Animal Shelter twice by different owners. At just 1 year old, he had already been called two different names — Harley and then Charley. He didn’t respond to anything. Then, Kathy Wine came along in search of her sixth Golden. “They’re so sweet, smart and intuitive,” she says. “They’re a people dog. They always want to be with you.” Wine had recently lost her 7-week-old puppy to an allergic reaction. “It was so quiet in our house, we couldn’t stand it.” So, she took the shelter dog home and called him Lucky. He’s about 6 years old now, enjoys a 3-mile walk with Wine and her girlfriends every morning, and is always plotting his next move to pull out the trash compactor in the kitchen. The Wines have since installed baby locks.
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