People love their pets.

Like doting parents, owners hold forth on the virtues of their domesticated mammals, “… makes my world a better place,” “… changed my life,” “… has the sweetest soul.”

And most Americans back those warm sentiments with cold cash. We will spend some $58 billion pampering our animals this year, according to the American Pet Product Association. Around the Preston Hollow area, we have our pick of posh pet hotels and pooch patios, doggie bakeries (barkeries) and upscale grooming services.

We took a close-up look at a cross section of neighborhood pets to find out what makes them so worth it.


Dudley the social media mogul

Dudley the social media mogul: Photo by Rasy Ran

Dudley the social media mogul: Photo by Rasy Ran

Jeff Kitner is on a mission to promote pet-friendly businesses in our neighborhood. Luckily, he has the assistance of Dudley, an irresistibly adorable Corgi. While Kitner’s Twitter account has 108 followers, Dudley’s has nearly 200. But the dog’s owner, a Preston Hollow resident, isn’t jealous – he’s amused.

“I never anticipated that Dudley would have the number of followers he does, and it seems to grow everyday,” Kitner says. “It’s a mix of a lot of neighborhood folks and neighborhood businesses – places we go to and support. I think Councilman [Lee] Kleinman follows him.”

He does. We checked. Other Dudley fans include the Dallas Arboretum, Corner Bakery Café and Northaven Trail, the last of which Kitner supports as a board member. On behalf of his pet, Kitner Tweets pictures of Dudley scoping out businesses like Anthropologie and Home Depot. Followers will also see pictures of the dog meeting members of the Dallas Police Department.

“He’s jumped in a police car before,” Kitner says. “A lot of people like dogs – the police are no different.”

Dudley knows how to have fun, but he always stays true to his roots. He was a shelter dog who Kitner found through the Education Animal Rescue Society of Texas (EARS). Many of his Tweets link to fellow dogs in need of adoption.

“Dudley has a lot of popularity,” Kitner says. “People do seem to know him in the neighborhood, and if we can use that to promote dog rescue, all the better.”

Want more? Follow Dudley on Twitter @DudleyCorgi.


Jimmy the working dog

 Jimmy, a six-year-old Bichon Frise, occasionally can be seen alongside Rachel Tibbs while she works at the Hollywood Feed store at Inwood Road. Jimmy, whom was adopted when he was five through the Dallas Pets Alive! rescue, is Tibbs' first pet as an adult. Photo by Rasy Ran

Jimmy, a six-year-old Bichon Frise, occasionally can be seen alongside Rachel Tibbs while she works at the Hollywood Feed store at Inwood Road. Jimmy, whom was adopted when he was five through the Dallas Pets Alive! rescue, is Tibbs’ first pet as an adult. Photo by Rasy Ran

Rachel Tibbs saved her dog, Jimmy, from an identity crisis. His paperwork at Dallas Pets Alive, an animal rescue group, said he was a poodle. Shortly after adopting the pooch, Tibbs discovered he was actually a Bichon Frise.

“So many people we saw on walks said, ‘Oh, a Bichon!,’” she remembers. “We looked it up. His personality and his looks fit the description perfectly.”

Jimmy, the Bichon, is now almost 6 years old. Most days, he accompanies Tibbs to work at Hollywood Feed on Forest and Inwood. He’s very popular at the store, which sells products for dogs and cats.

“He gets petted a lot and gets to meet a bunch of different people,” Tibbs says. “He loves kids. Kids will sit with him, hug him and pet him. He gets really happy to see them.”

But no one hugs Jimmy more than his owner. Tibbs grew up with dogs, but this is the first one she’s owned independently.

“I was surprised by how quickly I got attached to him,” she says. “Within a couple weeks of having him, I couldn’t imagine being without him.”


Chimi the pick of the litter

Chimi, short for chimichurri, is the Law family's one-year-old havanese who has helped through the family's hardship of losing their 14-year-old schnoodle, Libby. Chimi's entrance into the family's lives was unexpected, but very welcomed, Lauren Law says. Photo by Rasy Ran

Chimi, short for chimichurri, is the Law family’s one-year-old havanese who has helped through the family’s hardship of losing their 14-year-old schnoodle, Libby. Chimi’s entrance into the family’s lives was unexpected, but very welcomed, Lauren Law says. Photo by Rasy Ran

When Libby, a 14-year-old schnoodle, passed away, Lauren Law was devastated. The dog had become an integral part of her family. Her son, Nick, was equally heartbroken.

“He had known no other dog except for Libby,” she explains. “He just loved and adored her.”

Initially, Law thought they should give themselves some healing time before getting another pet. But then she saw her neighbor’s Havanese and fell in love.

“I thought it was the cutest little dog,” she says. “I found a breeder through a club in San Antonio. She had one dog left and it was her pick of the litter.”

The breeder wanted to keep the pooch, but had just undergone knee surgery and felt too weak for the daily walks dogs require. Law was happy to assume parental duties.

Last November, Chimi arrived in Dallas with his sister, who also found a home in Preston Hollow. Every so often, the dogs see each other.

“The other family has a little girl and she wrote Nick a letter, asking if they could get the dogs together,” Law says. “It was fun. They played, but I don’t know if they recognized each other.”

Even if his sibling didn’t live nearby, Chimi would feel at home in our neighborhood. Though they miss Libby, the Laws have welcomed the dog into their family with open arms.

“We just kind of thought, ‘This is a new little life coming into our home,’” Law says. “He just stole our hearts.”


Neko the athlete

Paula Satterfield has her eyes set on agility training for her most recent addition, Neko, an Australian Shepard mix. Photo by Rasy Ran

Paula Satterfield has her eyes set on agility training for her most recent addition, Neko, an Australian Shepard mix. Photo by Rasy Ran

Neko, an Australian Shepherd, might be in better shape than you are. Once a week, her owner, Paula Satterfield, takes her to All Fur Fun in Addison, where she trains to become an agility dog. She completes obstacle courses, plays kickball and catches lots of Frisbees.

“You say the word ‘Frisbee’ and she knows exactly what that means,” Satterfield says. “She’s very motivated to do this stuff. She likes a challenge.”

Neko was the first dog Satterfield got through a breeder. She made this choice because she wanted an active dog that she could take on adventures. Neko enjoys kayaking and paddle boarding at White Rock Lake, but she isn’t reckless – she always wears a life preserver.

Satterfield’s Preston Hollow home is a bit of a menagerie. In addition to Neko, she has another Australian Shepherd named Jackson, who is just as sweet but more sedate. Also on the premises is Mr. Tibbs, a brown tabby cat, who Neko keeps in check.

“Tibbs always gets on counters in kitchen,” Satterfield says. “Neko knows Tibbs isn’t supposed to be up there. She’s like the enforcer. She makes sure Tibbs gets down.”

Satterfield hopes Neko’s sharpness will help her become a top-performing agility dog. She’s already making tremendous strides at All Fur Fun. While Neko trains, Satterfield bonds with the other dog owners.

“It’s a great group of people,” she says. “We all want our dogs to succeed and be happy.”

 


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