Could it be animal magnetism, or what about puppy love?
We asked what makes your pet special, but we already knew. Big or small, canine or feline, pig or guinea pig — our critters are special because we love them. They give us good-morning kisses, take us on walks through the park and cuddle with us on the couch.
The question was just an excuse to collect adorable photos and stories.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our annual Pet Parade. We also appreciate Apex photographer Lindsay Aikman, who donated a 90-minute pet portrait session and an 8-inch-by-10-inch photo, won by Kris Murgas of Apex and her greyhound, Domino.
So, keep reading for cuteness that will raise the woof!
Dolly is a year-old mini labradoodle. Not only is she the sweetest little puppy who loves nothing more than giving kisses and smiles, she’s also quite the athlete! She does an amazing job catching the Frisbee no matter where it’s thrown and will chase her tennis ball for an hour straight. Best of all, she never fails to put a smile on the faces of those around her.
– Tom and Debbie Farrell, Morrisville
Levi was rescued from an unfortunate situation. His elderly owner accidentally started a fire in his home where he and Levi lived. Thankfully they both got out fine, but the elderly man could no longer live alone. Levi went to stay at a neighbor’s house, but the neighbor’s dog attacked Levi, leaving him with bite wounds on his head and ear. One of the men who came to work on the fire-damaged home found out about Levi from the neighbor, and this worker contacted us knowing we had friendly dogs. We planned on keeping him temporarily; however, he has not left my side since we got him three years ago.
– Kelli Hemmerlein, Willow Spring
Kobe and Charlie
Our dogs are definitely the best pets! Kobe, 2, and Charlie, 6, will sit with you when you are sad, run with you when you want to exercise, help you babysit by licking the babies and take road trips with a smile! Charlie, the brown dog, is an introvert; and Kobe, the black dog, is an extrovert. They provide something for everyone!
– Ron, Stacey, Melanie, Julia and Jordyn Parks, Cary
My mom is in dementia care in Raleigh, and we take Posey to visit mom and the other residents regularly. Posey, 2, gets so excited when she sees a wheelchair that she wants to visit every person in one! She brings smiles wherever she goes.
– Sharon Ambrose, Cary
This is my 12-year-old Alaskan malamute, Sumo. He’s an amazing dog, because he is always ready with a smile when you come home. Not once has he met an animal or person that he doesn’t want to be friends with immediately. He’s helped foster dogs and friends’ dogs get used to other large pets. He’s always ready to chat with you, as he’s such a vocal boy. He’s been with me since he was 10 weeks old and has been my constant companion for more than a decade.
– Kim Pernicka, Cary
We adopted Odin a little over a year ago from Saving Grace. He had just been rescued from a kill shelter with a badly infected eye, which had been removed. His gentle personality is one of total connection to his humans, which is especially touching because he had clearly been mistreated in the past. I’m a pediatric eye doctor and surgeon, and I work with children who only use one eye at a time because their eyes are misaligned or their vision between the two is so different. One of the most common questions I get is: “Will my child have any depth perception?” While you lose stereo-vision when you use only one eye, you can still have depth perception and play sports. I show parents and kids a video of Odin jumping 6 feet to catch a ball out of mid-air, with only one eye to guide him.
– Lakshmi Swamy, Cary (pictured with Odin is Porter Bayne)
Copper and Lily
Copper and Lily are mini Australian labradoodles, and the breed is known for its therapy dog-like qualities. Copper, 1, is an AKC Canine Good Citizen and is hoping to be a therapy dog one day, as he loves people. Seven-month-old Lily is still a puppy and is full of personality. She is very attached to Copper and loves to fetch tennis balls. Copper and Lily can both be found on Instagram at @copper.and.lily
– Jenny DeZubay, Cary
Domino is a retired racing greyhound who came into our lives in June. He lives in Apex and loves to gather with his other greyhound friends on Sunday mornings at the Apex Panera Bread for bagels and cream cheese.
– Kris Murgas, Apex
Cookie, also known as Cooks, is the sweetest cat ever. He is very shy and afraid of everyone. He is a frisky little one but also very sweet. He is a Maine coon cat and loves to give love nips.
– Lilly Schultz, Raleigh
Our dog Sara is a hound mix and full of energy. She is now almost 3 years old, and she is a greeter and lover of people. She runs to the door when we come home each day with a show of energy and excitement and does the happy dance when her favorite humans visit. This means twirling around and around with rapid tail wagging! She is a joy!
– Robin, Lutz and Lucas Kube, Cary
Nordic and Ginger
Nordic and Ginger are one-year-old border collies, and both are mascots for my business, MEWS Designs Florist. They keep me company in my home studio while I design wedding flowers. Nordic is very sweet and sometimes thinks he is a lapdog. Ginger is full of energy, so she always makes sure that I take a break from my work to take her for a walk. She is still learning to behave herself with company, but hopefully one day she can help me greet the brides and grooms who come to my home for floral consultations.
– Marsha Snyder, Raleigh
Casey is a special soul. She is an 8-year-old rescue, and she was trained to be a therapy dog from the beginning. Training was not difficult as she is naturally intuitive to the needs of others. Casey worked tirelessly to care for the sick in hospitals, the lonely in elderly facilities, the scared in foster care and the insecure death of her master. Now, she continues her journey with weekly visits to Phoenix Assisted Living in Cary and periodic visits to rehab facilities and private homes. She shares her excitement with residents who will play a game of fetch with her second love — the ball. It is a special treat to whomever encounters this attentive, loving angel.
– Laura Ashford, Raleigh
Our dog Lily is a 13-year-old English springer spaniel, and she is great! Lily is one of the kindest, sweetest souls that has ever existed. She is the only dog I have ever known to smile — especially when her grandma and grandpa (my mom and dad) come over!
If you’re down, Lily will be the first to hug you and make you feel loved. If you’re sleeping, she’ll sleep right along with you. If you want to play, she’s down with that. If you’re walking — you get the idea.
In 2011, Lily fought a battle against cancer and won! She had a mass removed from her chest and unfortunately had a long and grueling recovery. We had no idea what was going to happen. All through her fight she was always so sweet and loved having the extra snuggles.
She has some human siblings who are younger than her. Lily helped raise her tiny humans, always tagging along to make sure they were safe. I tell myself she wasn’t in it for the snacks!
In a nutshell, Lily is the bomb — an extra special bomb. We hope she has a few good years left on earth with us.
– Holly Morin, Apex
Penny will be three in July. She is not only the kindest, sweetest dog I have owned but the tiniest. She weighs in at 2 and a half pounds. She fits in a little purse and comes practically everywhere with me.
– Kelly Scott, Cary
Smiley and Holly
I love my dogs so much! They truly are a blessing. Smiley and Holly make me smile and laugh daily. Since they love so completely and live in the moment, I believe that they teach me to be a better person.
– Rosemarie Blazevich, Cary
Mr. Snuffleupagus has a zest for life that few pets or people have. At the mere sound of the words “breakfast” or “sprinkler,” he dances in circles with eager anticipation. On weekends, he treks the trails of the North Carolina state parks with inexhaustible energy. He showers friends and strangers alike with unconditional love in the form of wet kisses. Mr. Snuffleupagus is great because he loves the neighborhood kids as much as he loves his own family. Although he eats the same meals and walks the same paths every day, he still enjoys them as if they were new. He inspires his owners to find the joy in all things and to treat everyone as if they were best friends.
– Josh and Rachel Stanley, Cary
At a year and a half and 85 pounds, Miller the English Labrador is the definition of a gentle giant. Growing up in Western Wake, Miller has developed an appreciation for craft breweries (Fortnight is his favorite), collecting golf balls in his back yard from unfortunate Prestonwood golfers and romping around Pupsi Inc. with his many furry friends. Miller offers his unconditional love not only to every human he meets, but each dog, too. He has an oddly easy-going temperament for a young Lab, but a deep understanding of what it means to be a best friend to his humans. Life with Miller is nothing short of an adventure. Thank you to all of the dog-friendly Western Wake places and businesses that allow Miller to tag along and continue making memories with his humans.
– Bobby and Lily Rosene, Morrisville
Charlie is a 3-year-old pure-bred Maine coon and weighs more than 20 pounds. He is a gentle giant and is super sweet. He also doesn’t meow, but chirps and trills.
– Danielle Simon, Cary
Rusty, my year-old Labrador retriever, makes me smile and brings joy to my heart. After a fun time playing catch with his ball, he fell asleep with his ball in his mouth. He is never without that ball, and he makes me laugh every day.
– Patricia Kiphart, Clayton
Rocky, 6, is one of the sassiest yet sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. In true Pomeranian fashion, he pretends to act tough but loves anyone who will pet him and give him a treat. He loves to be with his people and always makes sure that we are on schedule. He is a source of love and humor for our family, and we love him very much.
– Dr. Molly Leavitt and Alexandra Hitson, Cary
Leon is our deeply-loved and adored foster failure from the Montgomery County Shelter, adopted in February 2014 through Best Friend Pet Adoption (BFPA.org). Leon is named after the wonderful animal control officer at the shelter, who thought this dog was worth saving. Leon is a handsome guy, whose sweet, loving nature endears him to all he meets. He deserves every bit of love and special attention he receives, and he makes us feel especially fortunate to have such a wonderful canine companion.
– Glenn and Susie Smith, Cary
Rose (left) and Praline (right)
It’s never a dull moment with them at home, whether they are squeaking at me for some bell pepper, running around my feet as they play or snuggling on my lap while we watch TV. The two guinea pigs, both 3 years old, have such big, wonderful personalities and are always getting into some mischief, just to make sure I’m paying attention. Plus, they have the softest fur and the cutest eyes!
– Rachel Sheffield, Cary
Otis (left) Wilson (right)
My boys are brothers adopted after the loss of a beloved dog. My heart was broken, and I was crying every day. I needed someone to love. I fell in love immediately with Otis, but couldn’t leave his brother behind. They are 6 months old, and their daily antics keep me on my toes and bring me great joy.
– Joyce D’Alessio, Cary
Nevs is the sweetest Hurricane Florence rescue pup. He loves to play, snuggle with mom, eat peanut butter, and he just learned how to catch the tennis ball!
– Alexa Blazevich, Cary
Meet Hershey, age 12. She’s the most loyal and sweet dog ever. She’s a high-energy, happy dog who loves her family and never runs away. She only barks when necessary: if someone’s at the door or she sees a deer in the front yard. She’s gentle with kids and younger dogs. She behaves on walks and never barks at other dogs, even when they bark at her!
We love our Hershey.
– Melissa Bamonte and family, Apex
Whopper is Scooby-Doo in real life. He walks like Scooby, talks like Scooby and will do anything for a Scooby snack. The 2-year-old Great Dane/mastiff mix loves to participate in his agility class at Jackie’s Basics and Beyond and will balance his 135-pound body on a narrow balance beam. What makes Whopper special is that he is a therapy dog who loves to bring joy to students in Durham. He works for hugs.
– Yvonne and John Lue, Cary
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