South's Greatest Pets 2017 Winners
There’s no bond stronger than between humans and their pets.
South Magazine celebrates some of the greatest pets and their loving owners who are happy to share the spotlight with their adorable companions.
Amanda & Tatum
BREED: cavapoo (King Cavalier
Spaniel, Bichon, Poodle Mix)
Tatum is quite the funny dog. He loves to watch TV and hasn’t figured out how to fetch yet. Other than making me laugh, Tatum has truly changed my life. I got him in college and had no concept of responsibility, but luckily he has the sweetest temperament and absolutely adores being loved on by people. My advice to those considering getting a pet is to know what you’re getting yourself into. It seems easy when you see cute pictures of little fluffy puppies, but life is not a photograph. Dogs are a lot of work and require a lot more attention than you would imagine, but I guarantee it will be one of the most rewarding experiences. Give them tons of love and attention. You are all that your dog has in life—they love you unconditionally and they just want the same in return.
Leeann & Dillon
BREED: French Bulldog
Dillon is the gentlest pet I have ever owned—he would never even hurt a bug. Everything he does is funny due to his big ears and head-tilting! Dillon is my best friend and constant companion. He gives so much love and makes me laugh multiple times a day—what greater gift could anyone ask for? He loves to travel with me and is always entertaining guests and myself. (I think my friends come to see him instead of me!) If someone is willing to be a responsible and loving pet parent, run fast and do it. The love and time you give to your pet, you will get out of it—and so much more. Make sure you give them high-quality dog food, exercise, interaction, time and a lot of love!
AJ & Kimmi
BREED: German Shepherd
Not surprising, Kimmi is very protective of our son, A.J., while her son, Bruno, is a loveable loaf who is happy watching TV with our other son, Patrick. Kimmi and Bruno are quite opposite of each other—she is very disciplined and he reacts to everything. Both of these dogs have absolutely become members of the family. They’re incredibly protective and loving. They love going outdoors with us, especially on hiking and fishing trips. Getting dogs outside is important in keeping them happy and healthy. Owning a dog is definitely a commitment and sometimes hard work, but the things worth doing usually are. Make sure you love them endlessly.
Chelsea & Tucker
Tucker has the personality of a human and he’s very sneaky. The weimaraner breed is nicknamed “gray ghost” for a reason. I remember when Tucker was a puppy, he used to drag EVERYTHING he could find to the back yard secretly. One day we looked out the window and realized he had been brining our mail, clothes, dishes, food and anything else outside. Too funny. Tucker is my sweet boy. I can’t do anything without including him. He and his brother even have their own bedroom. (His brother was also in South magazine in 2013, by the way.) Pets require tons of attention and love. Stay active outside to make them tired... and don’t leave food on the counter! Remember, dogs are sneaky.
Lisa & Emmett
BREED: French Bulldog
Emmett has two strong traits: He loves to be around people and he loves to cuddle. Every time I leave him, even to go to the restroom, he howls. I hate not being around him, too. He has brought me so much joy, especially once my oldest son left home to join the Army. He didn’t replace my son, but he kept me calm and reduced my anxiety tremendously. Emmett is truly my saving grace! My advice for someone considering getting a pet would be to extensively research the breed you are interested in and make sure you have enough time and money to properly care for the pet. In order to keep a dog happy and healthy, give them as much love and praise as you can. Dogs respond to positive reinforcement, just like we do!
Amanda & Xena
BREED: Chocolate Lab and American Bull Mix
Xena is always playing with toys, but has an odd obsession with black-and-white toys such as cows and panda bears. She also tries to sneak outside and play in mud puddles after it rains! My parents got Xena for me as a birthday present about four years ago. She was just a puppy and loved to cuddle in my lap. She is definitely not a puppy anymore, but still tries to claim herself as a lap dog! She has made a big impact in my life by just loving me as much as I love her. Plenty of kisses and play time are sure to keep a dog happy and healthy. All they want is love (and “accidental” food droppings while cooking)!
South's Greatest Pets Part II: In Their Own Words
Taylor & Lyza
BREED: BLUE WEIMARANER
Lyza is extremely energetic and sweet, and loves to drink out of the toilet! She is my best friend—I couldn’t imagine life without her. She is by my side day and night. Whenever I come home, Lyza is always excited to see me, which makes my days incredibly better in an instant. If someone is interested in getting a pet, make sure to do a lot of research on the breed. Also, dogs require a lot of time and energy, so be sure to have enough time to give to them. Play with them, give them walks and love on them all the time!
Jared & Kelsey with Daisy
BREED: Beagle/Dachshund mix
Daisy is a major snuggler! She was abandoned outside of Grayson Stadium but loves people now. She goes to work with Jared and the Savannah Bananas staff all the time. We love how her place of abandonment is now a place of joy. Daisy has shown us that there is still so much good in the world. If someone is considering getting a pet, I hope they look at adopting a pet over buying a pet from a breeder. By adopting a dog from a shelter, you save one life, and open up a space for another dog to have a chance at finding a forever home. Also, a training class is a great way for you to learn more about the needs of your dog, as well as for them to learn respect and how to communicate with you.
Matt & Hercules Dayjah & Sophie
BREED: American bully & Staffordshire Terrier
These two couldn’t possibly be more opposite. Hercules has a very docile and lazy mentality while on the other hand, Sophie is very upbeat and wild. But what they do have in common is the beach. They are naturals and love the water and sand! Matt is in the military, and has been deployed several times. Sophia and Hercules have helped greatly when he’s away. They make everyday life easier whether it’s loving on you to death or simply just being there.
Maci & Chloe
Chloe has a lot of fun characteristics, including dancing like a ballerina when she wants something like human food. It’s the cutest thing! She has made such an impact on my life. Chloe has always been there when I needed her. No matter if it’s a good day or a bad day, Chloe is there to comfort you with plenty of kisses. She knows when you’re down and she knows when you’re happy. She has truly been such a blessing to me and my most favorite Christmas gift! Having a dog is the best decision anyone could ever make. They are, without a doubt, your best friend. The key to having a happy and healthy dog is to spoil the heck out of them and love them unconditionally.
Katherine & Blue
BREED: silver lab
Blue, a silver lab, is a relatively new breed. The Silver Lab is AKC registered as a Chocolate Lab, the silver color is a recessive gene. My children gave Blue to me as a Christmas present a few months after our Chocolate Lab was hit by a car during a storm. He has made me slow down and enjoy going outdoors more often. I was missing out on this incredibly beautiful time of the day before Blue came along! Having a pet is one of the greatest rewards and comes with a lot of responsibility. It takes a lot of time and patience, plus it is important to give your dog plenty of attention and exercise to keep them happy and healthy!