South's Greatest Pets of 2016 Winners
The Annual South’s Greatest Pets Contest has quickly become a reader favorite. And why wouldn’t it? We aren’t the only ones who can’t get enough of those adorable, lovable faces. This year brought some steep competition, but the winners took their podiums humbly, happily, and with their tails a-waggin’.
Hobbies: Running, cuddling and her ball
Age: 4.5 years
Breed: Cocker Spaniel/ Terrier Mix
Owners: Alaina Underberg & Cody Newsome
Charli Ezra (or Charli for short) was the overall winner of the 2016 South’s Greatest Pets contest, which is no shocker because this little thing is the doggie embodiment of the South: polite, stylish, and oh-so-friendly “Charli stands out because of her unique look,” says owner Alaina Underberg. “She will forever look like a puppy. She’s our 22lb exotic black lap giraffe with tons of personality!”
Hobbies: Making sure the couch doesn't suddenly fly away, eating, watching TV and opening the kitchen door al by herself when she hears us open the garage door
Age: 8 years
Owners: Anna & Jason Pierce
Anna and Jason Pierce adopted Miss Ellie through the Southeast English Springer Spaniel Rescue organization. She was found in a chicken coop in Lake Charles, La. and was in pretty poor shape. She spent months in foster care in Mississippi while going through heart worm treatment. “When we picked her up in Atlanta, I remember Jason and I cried when we saw her for the first time,” recalls Anna. “We were worried that she would have a ‘transition’ period once we arrived home. As soon as we the crossed the threshold at home, she ran straight to our bedroom and jumped in the bed with a look of utter joy. She has been holding our bed and couch down ever since!” Miss Ellie has been a beloved member of the Pierce family for nearly four years now providing love, protection, and comfort to her adopted family.
Hobbies: Cuddling with humans and going to work at our store
Age: 7 years
Owner: Brenda Scarpati
“There is just something so gentle and special about this dog,” says Brenda Scarpati, who claims she was rescued by Winston in May of 2015. “It’s hard to explain. He has a way of knowing how to bring comfort, calm and joy to just about any situation.” He certainly brightened the set of our shoot with a constant smile on his face. “It’s virtually impossible to be in a sour mood and look at him,” laughs Scarpati. Winston even earns his keep as a greeter at the family’s store, Cool Savannah Tours & Gifts. “He’s just a joy! He comes to ‘work’ at our store almost every day and greets customers. The door is wide open and he stays inside and just waits for belly and ear rubs!” If you’re strolling down Bay Street on a down-in-the-dumps kind of day, stop in for a smile from Winston.
Hobbies: Sniffing out squirrels on daily walks
Age: 8 years
Breed: Unknown: possible Jack Russell, Italian Greyhound, Chihuahua mix
Owner: Rob Paulsen
Cute as a button and smart as a whip, Luci makes everyone she meets fall head-over-heals in love with her. “Luci is spectacular at making everyone feel loved,” says Rob Paulsen, Luci’s dad. “From her Disney-esque eyes to her wiggly-butt, she radiates joy and warmth. Ask her to ‘Go say hello,’ and she will greet a person with quiet enthusiasm - be they one month or one century old.”
Hobbies: Coming to work with her mama and greeting the customers
Age: 6 years
Owners: Rene & Mike Green
BeBe has recently come back from clinging to her life. This little fighter is epileptic and has been on seizure medication from a very young age. That led to gum disease, which led to kidney failure. Her parents, Rene and Mike thought they would have to say goodbye to their little one, but true to BeBe’s personality, she bounced back and is prancing around like the princess she is.
Hobbies: Hiking trails (without his leash)
Age: 1 year
Breed: Lovable mutt: maybe Australian Shepherd/ Dachshund mix
Owners: Tyler Woodworth & Janie Gray
Tyler and Janie found Banjo wandering in a field across from their house in October of 2015. He fashioned himself a little home in a bush with a bed made out of plastic wrappers. “We looked for his owners, but when no one came forward we knew he was ours,” remembers Gray. “He gains a little more trust in humans every day, and we would like to think he’s quite happy where he has ended up.”
Hobbies: Bossing around her two older Chihuahua brothers
Age: 7 years
Owner: Wendi Patrick
Flower has overcome all odds to get to where she is today. As the runt of a litter of nine Chihuahuas (the world record is 10), Flower’s life started as an uphill battle. She didn’t grow at the same rate as her siblings; so her mom began throwing her out of the welping box, sitting on her, and pulling her away from nursing. Wendi Patrick, Flower’s owner, saved Flower by bottle feeding her back to health.