This past year, pets were promoted from sidekicks to co-workers and we loved them all the more for it. They kept our work-from-home couches warm with their fluffy faces and took lunch breaks with us in hopes of going for quick walks around the block. This year’s SRQ Pets We Love audition calling saw a surplus of canine colleagues clawing their way to the top (alongside one standout horse). Check out the winners of the year’s cutest competition.

SENNA (above)

A Ray of Aussie Sunshine, six-month-old Australian shepherd mix

“Senna has captured our hearts since she entered our home,” says owner Aurelie Vandenbroek. “She has been a ray of sunshine for our 13-year-old Aussie, Rocket, who is having difficulties walking.”

If your pet had a show named after her it would be: Sweet Senna

your pet’s perfect day? Hugs, kisses and plenty of walks.

Senna's dream? become friends with our cat, Nico.


The Dreaming Dachshund, eight-month-old dachshund mix

“Hugo sleeps wherever and whenever. He gives the best snuggles and has to be touching one of us at all times. When he’s excited, he prances like a horse,” says owner Rachel Brummer. “Nothing makes him happier than chasing tennis balls at the dog park, or any snack you give him. He’s extremely fast! For a little dog, he has a big bark, too. We found him in a small St. Petersburg shelter and he’s changed our lives for the better. We had been searching for a rescue for so long and had even tried to adopt one, but it didn’t work out. We had almost given up hope, then came across sweet Hugo. We have so much love for him and we know it’s reciprocated! Every day is a new adventure with our little nugget.”

If your pet had a show named after them it would be: Snoozin’ with Sleepy Hugo Slogan: First Barks, Then Naps. 

your pet’s perfect day? Barks, naps, foods (especially chicken), chasing tennis balls at the park with daddy and snuggle time with mommy while she taps on her laptop.

Hugo's dream?  Follow daddy wherever he goes and nap around the world in mommy’s lap.

His slogan?  “First barks, then naps.”


19-year-old Piebald Paint horse

“I’ve always had a special spot in my heart for horses. I’ve been riding since I was five. My mom took me to look at some horses and I didn’t like any of them until Blue,” recalls owner Bailey Ouellette. “When I saw him for the first time, just looking at him brought me so much joy and that’s what made me fall in love with him. Even more is his personality. He had the goofiest personality. He would constantly give you kisses and nod his head if he thought you had treats. I would love nothing more than to show him off to the world because that’s what he deserves: the world.”

your pet’s perfect day?  Wake up, eat breakfast, take a nap, and then he would go out to pasture and eat grass. Then he would be brushed while taking a nap. I would tack him up and we would go move cows, since that’s his favorite job, and then we would come back. I would untack him, hose him off, feed him and then he would go back to sleep.

Blue's dream?  To be the best ranch horse ever.


The Escape Artist Eskimo, three-year-old miniature American Eskimo  

“One time, she was staying with a dog sitter who lived in the country club golf course in Lakewood Ranch, and she decided to play Houdini and escape from her leash,” says owner Sejal Patel, shown to the right. “She was seen by several golfers running across the golf course, exploring the ‘wild.’ It took about four hours, a community and some police work only to find her sitting back at the doorstep of her sitter’s house post-exploration!”

If your pet had a show named after her it would be: Ellie Diaries: A Tail of Stories About Daily Life as a Dog Pretending to be Human 

your pet’s perfect day? A day at the park followed by lots of cookie treats and belly rubs, and then cuddling on the cold tile floor sideways for a long nap.


The Tug-O-War Champion, six-year-old white Alaskan husky

“Her favorite game is tug-o-war, but she will only play on our area rugs. She realizes she can’t get a good enough grip on tile or hardwood. If her rope is thrown onto a hard surface, she stops at the edge of the carpet, pauses and evaluates,” says owner Jacob Roberie, shown below left. “She then either grabs the rope and backpedals as fast as possible to a rug, or goes as fast as possible from rug to rug to get the rope (as if the hard floor were lava).”

If your pet had a show named after her it would be: It is My World So Love Me and Give Me All the Pets  

your pet’s  perfect day? Snow day!  Kona's dream would be to chase and actually catch a squirrel.


The Ultimate Weekend Trip Buddy, two-year-old Keeshond

“It took a year and a half for me to find the perfect breed to replace my boyfriend’s dog, Bear—a chow mix who we put down when his cancer started causing him to suffer. My boyfriend was suffering from failed back surgery syndrome and was home alone much of the day on most days. A friend had done a DNA test to discover her dog’s breed and posted the results online; among them was Keeshond, whose chow-like fluff and smile were reminiscent of Bear’s but who had a friendly temperament. They’re known as ‘velcro dogs,’ sticking by their owner’s side,” says owner Krystle Harvey, shown right. “After a little more research, this breed sounded perfect for my boyfriend. I found a reputable breeder out of state and began an email conversation with her. I was in luck! The waiting list for her next litter was mostly for females, but we liked male dogs. I placed a deposit and kept it a secret until the puppies were born, and then let my boyfriend know so he could get excited as the puppy photos came out. This was the first purebred dog I’ve ever sought out (I’m a huge proponent of rescues and had a Humane Society rescue dog to greet Buddy when we brought him home). Buddy has brought life and laughter into our home when sometimes my boyfriend’s situation gets one or both of us down. He makes great noises, has comedic timing and loves the attention of other people. He expects to go somewhere on the weekend, so we plan our weekends around getting Buddy to the Sarasota or Lakewood Ranch Farmers’ Market (which we call the “Buddy parade”) or at least getting him to DOGPerfect to see the staff (his friends). He is our unofficial therapy dog, and we try to get him out about town in hopes that he’ll bring smiles to others’ faces, too.”

If your pet had a show named after them, it would be Buddy Rabbit: Velcro Dog Extraordinaire. 

your pet’s perfect day? Showing off at the Sarasota Farmers Market, visiting my DogPerfect friends, treats and naps.

Buddy's dream? Be invited to a buffet dinner. He’s very food-motivated.


The Sunkissed Saint, two-year-old St. Bernard

“Bowie is a rescue from the Buffalo, NY area. I like to say that “he found us” and not the other way around,” recalls owner Leslie Ohl. “We had recently lost our Great Pyrenees to cancer, and we were heartbroken and had such a void in our life without a furry friend around. And then came Bowie! He has become a fixture in our neighborhood since we moved down to Sarasota this past fall. He’s a “city dog” that previously had no backyard to run in and down here he has lots of running room. I don’t think he’s missing the snow any more than we are!”

If your pet had a show named after them, it would be: The Great Adventures of Bowie the Bernard (from Buffalo!)

your pet’s perfect day? Sunrise four-mile walk, chasing squirrels in the backyard, a very long afternoon nap, and a huge dinner of kibble and flavored “magic dust” sprinkled on top. To end the day, I watch over my humans while they stare at the big box on the wall. I wonder what is so interesting?

Bowie's dream?  Have a backyard filled with other furry four-legged friends to play with every day!


The Waterproof Pup, four-month-old Shih Tzu 

“The very first time we took Huck to a dog-friendly beach in the area, he charged confidently ahead of us and directly into the ocean! He had never seen the water before and didn’t realize it wasn’t dry ground. He made a quick u-turn and paddled his way back to shore,” laughs owner Laura Castro. “Undeterred from his day of fun, he shook himself off, rolled around in the sand and galloped to the nearest human for a few ‘good boy’ pets."

If your pet had a show named after them, it would be Sweet as Huckleberry Pie: A Little Pup with a Big Sense of Adventure. 

your pet’s perfect day? He would love to spend all day outside, finding the very best sticks, smelling new smells and finding new friends.

Huckleberry's dream? Have his humans quit their jobs and embark on full-time adventures with him.


The Bookish Barker, five-year-old Sheltie mix 

“Max has perfected the art of sleeping in a bookstore (his day job). He has also trained people to make him homemade organic dog biscuits, rub his belly and scratch his ears, all without lifting a paw,” says owner Barbara Barone. “He will occasionally do yoga. He can hold the ‘downward dog’ pose all day long. While other dogs may run circles around him, literally, we think he is the best boy ever. And I know my
bookstore customers agree.”

If your pet had a show named after them, it would be My Chair is My Throne (A.K.A. I Love to Sleep in My Chair While Getting Belly Rubs and Treats, Since I Have Trained People to Come to Me) 

your pet’s perfect day? Resting while being scratched and loved on, round it off with his favorite treat.

Max's dream? To chase squirrels all day— in his dreams, so he can still sleep.


The Intergalactic Monk, 10-year-old full breed Lhasa Apso

“Duey is such a calm, contemplative dog that people often say they’ve never seen a dog like him. He likes to go everywhere with his mom, and sits and looks around very calmly like a Tibetan monk!” laughs owner Bia Antunes. “The Lhasa Apso comes from Tibet and is one of the oldest dog breeds. It was bred to be a monk’s lapdog and a sentinel of the monastery. Duey, like his monk ancestral family, loves to sit around and look at trees, birds and appreciate nature. He makes mom slow down and appreciate nature’s gifts.”

If your pet had a show named after them, it would be Meditations with Duey 

your pet’s perfect day? Wake up late, eat natural food made by mom, go to the park to smell all the bushes, and mainly watch the other dogs play. I’d rather chill and look at the trees. But I always greet the big girls. I especially like pit-girls. Then I go to work with mom, where I sleep until mom is ready to go back home. I eat my dinner and then mom and I go to sleep in my king-size bed. I sleep right in the middle, of course. 

Duey's dream? star as an Ewok in Star Wars.