Worlds Greatest Pet in the World

Like the sun, our pets become the center of a revolving solar system of family chaos, offering warmth and comfort at the heart of it all.

For this Family Issue, we wanted to meet the furry friends that elicit so much love and happiness in the homes of our readers, and proud parents from all over Western Wake answered our call.

Presenting six of the greatest pets in our world …

My Name is Duncan.

I am a gentle giant.

As a puppy I was homeless.

Now I’m healthy and spoiled rotten.

A childhood dream of owning a Saint Bernard was fulfilled for Darci vanderSlik when a then 10-month-old Duncan became available for adoption at a local shelter. Despite being sick, malnourished and partially bald, vanderSlik and her husband, Kyle, adopted him right away.

“It was love at first sight for my husband and me,” vanderSlik said. “But we had to get used to the drool and shedding factor. They are very high maintenance dogs.” She adds owning a Saint Bernard is like “having a walking coffee table in your home.”

With a docile personality, Duncan often accompanies his mom and dad to work. He loves romantic comedies, especially those starring Matthew McConaughey, long belly rubs and bluegrass music, says vanderSlik.

My Name Is Daisy.

I am a grateful rescue.

I love to cuddle.

Six-month-old Daisy came home with mom, Alexandra Logg, from the Wake County Animal Center when she was then just 6 weeks old. Logg quickly realized she had bitten off, literally, more than she had bargained for.

“Daisy was a tough cookie to crack, to say the least,” said Logg. “I worked through weeks and weeks of terrible biting, but she is finally starting to learn the rules.”  

Now, Logg says, Daisy is great with kids and is becoming a good canine citizen.

“I think it’s really important for people to know how valuable adopting a dog is,” she said. “You are saving their life!”

My Name is Jackson.

I am a certified service dog.

I love squeaky toys.

Jackson the wonder dog, as he is known at home, is an 18-month-old beagle-collie mix with a knack for picking up around the house. Jackson stood out to trainers at a three-week obedience boot camp, so his parents Beth and Chuck Hartley enrolled him in service dog training.

Chuck experiences chronic back pain and with the command “bring” Jackson will pick up dropped items, such as TV remote controls or car keys, and return them to Chuck. A diligent worker, Jackson can also be found retrieving items displaced by his fur-brother Riley, a cat with a penchant for knocking household items on the floor.

Jackson’s happy-go-lucky personality has dubbed him “Mr. Congeniality” at the Brier Creek Pet Hotel, where he attends day camp, said Beth. Still “in training,” Jackson is now learning to be able to assist those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

My Name is Dizzy.

I am a cat with multiple personalities.

As a kitten I was a gymnast.

Now I’m a huntress.

Found in a dumpster inside a plastic bag at 4 weeks old, Dizzy survived thanks to special care from the Cary Cat Clinic. Adopted a few months later by Stephanie Beer and Bob Gehrdes, Dizzy is equal parts playful and loving.

A 4-year-old gray tabby, Dizzy oscillates between snuggling on mom’s pillow and boxing with dad. She earned her name by running tirelessly around the room when the couple first met her at the adoption facility.

She waits at the front door every day starting at 4 p.m, says Beer, then “allows” Beer back into the house with a gentle nuzzle and a nonchalant greeting.

My name is Commodore.

I am a country club dog.

As a puppy I loved to play tug of war.

I love my family.

Donated as an auction item for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation gala six years ago, the Anfindsen family met Commodore as volunteers for the event, chaperoning the dog during the days leading up. Another family won him in the auction, but insisted on giving him to the Anfindsens.

“They wouldn’t take no for an answer,” said Cindy Anfindsen, after seeing the bond the family had formed in two short days. “He has turned out to be one of the best things to happen to our family.”

Named for former Carolina Hurricane Mike Commodore, he is a companion dog through and through, following Anfindsen from room to room.

“He is a country club dog,” Anfindsen jests. “He wants to be inside all the time and has special perches for lounging.”

My name is Rocky.

I am a Valley Bulldog.

As a puppy I trained my family to let me sit on the couch.

I love running around crazy in the house.

Anne Costa initially resisted the idea of pet ownership. Her family had recently moved into a new home and she feared the wear and tear that inevitably comes with a puppy.

Persuaded by her husband, Joe, the Costas settled on Rocky, a boxer and English bulldog mix, to surprise their two sons.

“He has had his accidents and chewed baseboards, books, blankets and a couch leg,” said Anne. “But we forgive him and love him every day.

“He is so very smart!” she said. The Costas trained Rocky to ring a bell when he needed to go outside. On sunny days, they noticed him ringing the bell every five minutes so he could sunbathe in the yard.

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