It is just an animal …
an inferior species prone to flea infestation, shoe destruction and squirrel abuse, right? Like other cases of true love, man’s connection to domesticated beast defies logic. Pet behavior — slap-happy romping, guttural purrs of pleasure and exuberant expressions of gratitude in the form of unbridled kisses — can inspire profound joy. Conclusively, their companionship can boost the quality of a human life. But no use trying to define how or why humans grow so attached to their fleabags. We would rather show you.
Good luck not falling in love.



Cory Smith’s life changed about eight years ago when his mom handed over her tortoiseshell cat, Lily. “My mom was a crazy cat lady and always had it in her heart to rescue the ones who were trapped out,” he says. Smith said he was living alone for the first time in years, and though he was dating his current partner, Brian Garrison, he needed some company. “She was destined to be with us,” Garrison says. “She has great taste. She only lounges on our best throws and loves to barf in my partner’s Italian shoes and the Italian dining room chairs.” Though that part is pretty frustrating, Smith says, 9-year-old Lily is his to keep. Lily also likes to rule another portion of the house, the backyard, where the couple’s 7-year-old Australian shepherd doesn’t use his 67-pound advantage on her as intimidation. “They get along just great,” Smith says. “He’s pretty docile — doesn’t mess with her ever.”



Coco and Abby

People’s Choice

This time of year, “fur sisters” Coco and Abby spend their days nuzzling on the couch and watching their favorite teams play. Saturdays are dedicated to Aggie football, and Sundays are reserved for the Cowboys. Anna Temple and her husband don’t have children, so she says they treat their Labrador retrievers as their kids. Temple and her brother acquired Coco when they lived together. After he moved out and took his dog Shiner with him, Coco became depressed. But Anna’s sister-in-law knew someone whose dog had just had puppies, and Abby entered the picture. Six-year-old Coco suffers from appetite-suppressing allergies, but after the vet recommended that Temple give her a little “people food,” Coco learned what a food coma is. “Sweet potatoes are her absolute favorite thing,” Temple says. Well, that and spaghetti. At 3 years old, Abby is more focused on play than food. She loves to roam the house with her “lovies,” or stuffed toys.

THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE PET was selected based on reader votes on advocatemag.com.







Ashley Stephens and her husband were not on the same page when they first met. “I’m a vegetarian, and I love animals more than anything in the world. I grew up with pets. My husband is the exact opposite,” Stephens says. “When I first met him he said he didn’t like pets, and I thought it wasn’t going to work.” So after eight years of being together, Stephens decided it was time to break the news — she was going to get a dog. She searched rescue shelters for five months looking for the perfect pup. Stephens wanted a Great Dane, but she knew she needed to convince her husband, Michael Stephens (pictured with Smalls on page 19), who had never owned a pet. In October 2012 the publicist was on her way to introduce herself to a TV network at the annual Fiesta Latinoamericana when she got sidetracked by a White Rock Dog Rescue setup. There she found Smalls, who changed her husband’s mind about pets. “It’s amazing how my husband has fallen in love with him,” Stephens says. “We can’t go to the grocery store without him buying a new bag of treats for him, even though we already have two big bags at home.”




Most popular
Dixie is pretty popular around her Preston Hollow neighborhood, says her mom, Taylor Teague. She especially loves playing with her black labrador and golden retriever cousins, who also claim the neighborhood. This little chocolate lab also loves to swim. “I can’t get her out,” her mom laughs.

Winnie and Bentley

Best buds
A year ago, the death of 5-year-old Winnie’s younger brother sent her into a deep depression. Her person, Janice Winton, says she and her husband quickly found another English springer spaniel puppy named Bentley, pictured on the right, to cheer her up. “He brought her back to life and they are now inseparable,” Winton says.


Most missed
On Jan. 2, 2013, Sandra Baugh lost her best friend when her Australian shepherd, Cash, died of cancer. Baugh says Cash was quite the comedian. “He was very athletic and could jump like a deer or kangaroo,” she says. “He could be sitting next to a couch with several people on it and just spring into the air and land on the other side with no problem.” Baugh says every minute he was around was a blessing.


Coolest canine
Lucy is a clinger, but in a good way. She is always by her family’s side, and the daddy’s girl will even follow him into the pool. The little “princess” also becomes very excited when people sing “Happy Birthday.” “Lucy unwraps gifts and assumes every gift is for her,” says one of her people, Shari Goldberg.

The featured pets were selected by editors, based on submitted photos and stories. More neighborhood pets will appear, continuing next month, on the Advocate’s Paws and Claws page. To submit your pet for publication, email editor@advocatemag.com.

Photos by Danny Fulgencio and Chris Arrant

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