Now more than ever, we are looking for stories to put smile on our faces, and nothing does that faster than hearing about the incredible bond we have with our pets. They’re always there when you need a positive paw, motivating meow or a well-wishing woof. We invited our readers to submit their furry friends to our Pets We Love program for a chance to have their debut. The pets selected to be featured this year have a special sparkle thatmake them stand out from the pack. A pig who loves to redecorate, a special friend who helped her owner overcome struggles with mental illness and a loveable, tree-climbing pup are just some of the companions you’ll meet. 

DINO & SAMMY (above left)

The Bonded Brothers, One-year-old rescue Cavalier twins

“Dino and Sammy are rescue twin brothers. They were adopted together because they were inseparable and because The Cavalier Rescue required it,” says owner Victoria Varela. “After much love and patience to overcome their fears, they are now living their best life on Siesta Key. My older cavalier passed over the rainbow bridge and they have been mending my broken heart, so we really rescued each other!”



MAXIMUS (above right)

The Plant Pup, One-year-old red merle, mini Australian shepherd

“Maximus loves nature, people and naps. If there is a bird chirping or bee buzzing, he watches and listens intently,” shares owner Annelise Adams. He has to say hello to everyone who passes, and will try everything he can to get you to notice him.”

IF HE HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER HIM, IT WOULD BE Adventures of Maximus—But First Let’s Take a Nap


Miss JJ (above left)

Little Miss Mayor, 
Five-year-old rescue pup

“It was the July Fourth holiday and she was the last one left in her litter, I agreed to foster her over the holiday,” recalls owner Jessica Hershey. “Three days later, they called me to bring her back to the shelter . . . ‘nope, not gonna do it, smitten, she belongs with me, I’m in love, when can I make this official?!’ Fast-forward five years. This girl is my constant companion, my medicine, my snuggle spoon. She is the unofficial mayor of the neighborhood. If a garage is open, she will stop dead in her tracks and investigate the situation to see if anyone is in there that might want to give her some love. Some even have treats ready for her since everyone knows her walking schedule.”

IF SHE HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER HER, IT WOULD BE From Barn to Bougie: One Rescue’s #Tail


ASPEN AND KOTA (above right)

The Cuddle Buddies, almost two-year-old black Labrador/pit mix and eight-year-old white and red-nose pit bull

“When we first rescued Aspen, she needed to be crate-trained whenver we left the house. Kota is older, so he’s fine outside of the cage. Whenever we would leave, Kota would put himself in the cage with Aspen because he didn’t want her to feel alone. They’re so sweet together,” says owner Skye Rose.


Taco Bell and Fenway (above)

The Rescuers, Two-year-old black and white domestic American shorthairs adopted from Cat Depot 

Named for their pet parent’s favorite places, these two were rescued as kittens by a “guardian angel who discovered them discarded in a box alongside Route 75,” says owner Jennifer Hardwich. “They’ve also got some tricks up their sleeves and know how to give a high five and how to play fetch.”



Officer (above left)

The Professional Pig, Eight-year-old pink and black miniature pig

Officer The Mini Pig is a “house pig” who is usually easy to please. He loves food, sunshine, green grass, a comfy bed—and Mommy. However, should more than one of these things be missing, “we will have a depressed li’l pork butt to contend with,” jokes owner Lee Volpe. “When I leave on a cloudy or rainy day, I typically come home to find that Officer has rearranged the house in his spare time. It looks as if someone broke in and redecorated. Dining room chairs are now a part of the living room motif. Decorative pillows are littering the floor, cause let’s face it, they look better there. Pantry doors are wide open, for that ‘lived-in’ feel. Right in the middle of it all, usually sound asleep after all his hard work, is Officer!” Not only is he a part-time decorator and “banana enthusiast”, Officer The Mini Pig, can now add children’s author to the list. Officer’s Pig Tales is an encouraging series of fundamental lessons taught through the tales of a misfit pig. His first book in the series, This Is Me, is a valuable lesson of self-acceptance and the meaning of happiness.”

IF HE HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER HIM, IT WOULD BE Officer’s Pig Tales…Where Pigs Fly


Beauregard (above right)

“The Knife Bandit,” Two-year-old black Great Dane

“We rescued Beauregard when he was seven-months-old and
90 pounds. Already, he was tall enough to remove items from the kitchen sink! Twice, soon after we rescued him, we found knives around the house. I had concerns that I was going to have to disarm him one day, so I asked his trainer what to do. He said, ‘Stop leaving knives in the sink.’ That seems to have worked for us. When you can’t train the dog, train the owner!” muses owner Allison Archbold.

IF HE HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER HIM, IT WOULD BE Ouch: Adventures with a Not-So-Gentle Giant



REMY (above left)

Leader of the PupHive, 11-month-old blonde cockapoo

“When Remy was no older than five months, we were 
watching The Pink Panther starring Steve Martin and Beyoncé. Throughout the first few minutes, Remy was sleeping, but suddenly Beyoncé appeared and sang a simple note, and Remy perked up, ran to the TV and perched himself up on the TV stand so he could look directly at the Queen B herself. 
Since then, he is a part of the hive!” recalls his owner Juliana Harris.

IF HE HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER HIM, IT WOULD BE High on Life: Remy’s Grand Adventure of Making Friends with Everything


POLARIS (above right)

Dog Wonder, Three-year-old mini black Labrador

“She was trained for 18 months by Southeastern Guide Dogs but instead em-‘barked’ on a new career as a brand ambassador!” shares owner Mikael Hansen.

*Polaris’ cousin Mr. Max was initially selected for our Pets We Love competition, but he is stuck in California with owner Kristina due to COVID-19. Though they couldn’t make it, they got us in touch with Mr. Max’s new “family” member Polaris!


GRACIE (above left)

The Snuggle Pug, 13-year-old black rescue pug

“Gracie is a lovable black pug rescue, one of three I adopted when my dear friend lost her battle with cancer. She’s blind, among other health issues. But she’s lovable and loves to snuggle,” says owner David Binder. “Being blind is no obstacle for her. Wherever I am in the house, she finds me. Even behind closed doors. She gets very excited at dinnertime and loves to eat. It’s a pug thing!”

*Unfortunately, Gracie and her owner, David, were unable to attend our photo shoot in person as they’re stuck in Georgia due to the tragic passing of David’s mother, Charlotte Engstrom, 83, to COVID-19. Community and loving local is the cornerstone of SRQ, and we wanted to be sure Gracie didn’t lose her spot on our Pets We Love list, so Gracie’s adorable pug mug is seen here in the wonderful photos taken by David’s daughter Katie of Daniels Den Photography. 

HAZEL, OLLIE & MENINA (above middle)

All are mixed rescue dogs, 6, 7 and 9 years old

“All three of our dogs are rescues. Hazel and Ollie (brown and black- and-white) were my fiancé’s dogs that she rescued while attending FSU,” says owner Ty DeMeza. “They both came from the panhandle area and were looking for a great home. Our newest addition is Menina who has a great story. She was a “pot cake dog” in the Bahamas, or as we may know them, a street dog. After word got around that a local was threatening to harm her if she continued coming onto his property, a local woman who operates a dog sanctuary took her in. Then in 2019, the devastating hurricane Dorian swept through and Menina was one of close to 100 dogs that this same woman saved during the storm. After the storm passed the woman worked to find homes for them in the U.S.—including Menina who also had a litter of puppies. All the puppies were adopted in the states but no one wanted Menina, not even as a foster. My fiancé and I decided to start fostering dogs and she was our second one. The rescue said she was one of the hardest dogs to find a home for because she was always showing signs of sadness or fear and was on the older side. So of course, with breaking hearts, we decided to give her a foster home. Within an hour of being at our home and meeting Ollie and Hazel, her ears went from down to up and she began running and playing. No more than three weeks after taking her in as a foster we knew her home was with us so we adopted her into our family. And on March 21 she, Ollie and Hazel walked down the aisle with my fiancé and I at our wedding. Adopt don’t shop.”

IF THEY HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER THEM, IT WOULD BE Our Crazy Lives: It’s dog dance party time.

COPPER (above right)

“TUNIE”, Boggle (Beagle/Boston Terrier, Coloration- Brindle

“In 2014, my grandmother bought me a Lamb Chop (the television
character) stuffed animal for Christmas,” shares owner Kate De Michieli. “However, it turned out to be a dog toy and not a stuffed animal. We all got a good laugh out of it and I ended up passing it along to Copper to have. He became obsessed with the toy and ripped it to pieces, but would still carry the lamb head, arms and legs all around the house. My mom now buys him a new one almost every year. This past Christmas, my husband and I saw a jumbo Lamb Chop dog toy (bigger than Copper) at the store, so of course we had to buy it. On Christmas, we gave it to Copper and as he pulled it out of the gift bag and started freaking out, he ran across the house with it and flung it on to the bed with it in his mouth. It was so funny because the thing was as big as him and he just took off with it.”

IF HE HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER HIM, IT WOULD BE Copper’s Lazy Day - Where Will he Sleep Today? My husband and I joke he’s half cat. He loves to curl up in a ball and sleep, and loves to lick.


LUNA (above left)

The Happiness Healer, Luna (Loons, Looney Tunes, Bubs), Two-year-old beagleman (beagle and Doberman)

“First of all, Luna is not a pet. She’s a massive soul whimsically trapped in a dog costume,” jokes owner Erika Cain. “Loons is incredibly sweet and supportive, but she’s not quite sure if she is a tiny lap dog or a grand savage beast. In the dog park, she’s scrappy and holds her own with the big guys, but when she connects with seniors or individuals who are mentally or physically ill, she’s tame and loving. She’s afraid of her own shadow, orange construction cones and men with hats, but she’s fearless when it comes to jumping for the ball and running laps. Luna is one of my heroes. The happiness she adds to my life helped save me from a mental illness. She reminds me to live in the moment, to appreciate all that is good and to have the courage to jump for joy!”

IF SHE HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER HER, IT WOULD BE Identity Crisis—The Experimental Faces and Phases of Luna


FELIX (above right)

The Cold Stone Connoisseur, Blonde, white and black Icelandic sheepdog

“Felix is a firm believer in eating ice cream every day,” says owner 
Gina Pribil. “His favorite time he ever got ice cream resulted in the most adorable photo because he was riding with the top down of the car, letting that wind fluff his fur, was with his grandpa (second-favorite person on this planet) and knew he was on 
his way to Cold Stone for a pup cup with peanut butter. He has such a personality and loves the camera. Poses every time he notices one.”

IF HE HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER HER, IT WOULD BE Felix the Fluffy Butt—The Fluffiest Little Icelandic Sheepdog


MARGO (above)

The Tree Whisperer, Three-year-old black,
white and brown border collie mix

“If you’ve seen a dog climbing up the trees at our Sarasota parks, you’ve probably seen Margo,” shares owner Gina White. “It all started with a casual squirrel chase, but after some training to keep her from hunting bushy-tailed creatures, her love in the treetops remained. To Margo, there’s no greater joy in life than climbing the many branches of a majestic live oak. Just don’t even think about saying ‘climb that tree’ when there is no tree to be found; she’ll lose her mind!”

IF SHE HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER HER, IT WOULD BE Let’s Climb a Tree: Navigating Life’s Ups and Downs with Margo


TEDDY (above left)

“The Little Locksmith,” Two-and-a-half-year-old black rescue from Cat Depot

“Teddy is like no other kitty I have ever had. The folks at the Cat Depot didn’t think he would survive as he was so tiny when he arrived. At first they named him “Paper Clip” because that is how much he weighed!” explains owner Elaine Perangelo. “He is the smartest kitty I’ve ever had. I have child locks on all of the cabinets, as he likes to open them!”



SPARROW (above right)

The Queen of Halloween, One-and-half-year-old sable/white rough collie

“Sparrow has never met someone she doesn’t like,” says owner Brittany Bruski. “Her favorite holiday is Halloween because all the kids in the neighborhood come to see her!”



TANK (above)

The Tax Collector, Eight-year-old- shorthair tricolor mixed rescue

“Tank runs the house. Anything left on the kitchen counters is fair game, so it’s led me to be tidier in my daily life,” says owner Samantha Solie. “I got him a week after I closed on my house, so I figured we’d settle in at the same time. Eight years later, he’s eaten shoes, furniture, a metal name tag, even my taxes one year! He may be a big boy, but he’s basically a big baby.”

IF HE HAD A SHOW NAMED AFTER HIM, IT WOULD BE Tank Talks, with the slogan “The loudest voice gets all the attention (and treats!)”