South’s Greatest Pets 2020

A Day in the Life of Pets

The winners of South’s Greatest Pets 2020 contest spent shoot day prepping their fur in hair and makeup and perfecting their puppy dog eyes and purrs, getting ready to make their big debut in the Lowcountry limelight.

Zeke

Photos: ANGELA HOPPER

1. Zeke

Favorite Activity: Hunting pesky flies

Owner: Karyssa Brinkley

My name is Zeke and I’m a Maine Coon cat, which is the largest breed of domesticated cat. I was born in Russia before coming to the U.S. to live with my humans and dog brother, Koda. When I’m not on the prowl after my brother, pesky flies or my unsuspecting mom as she walks by, I’m relaxing on the front porch with a cocktail and a treat.

Pet Tip: Don’t overlook pet grooming. Make sure you groom your pet to avoid overgrown nails and matted fur


Gus

2. Gus

Favorite Activity: Wrestling with my sisters

Owner: Kelsey Duarte

When South readers met me, I was a 12-week-old rescue and had just been given to my mom as a fifth wedding anniversary gift from my dad. Now, I’m six months old and have earned the nickname “tonka truck,” as I’m known to instigate wrestling matches with my sister dogs and cats.

Pet Tip: Have your pet examined by a veterinarian regularly to be up to date on vaccinations, deworming and parasite control


Rupert

3. Rupert

Favorite Activity: Fetch

Owner: Kacie Giles

I’m not like most miniature Schnauzers. One look at my silky smooth fur, very different from the tightly curled locks of other mini Schnauzers, should prove that. I may only be one year old, but I have already perfected the art of snuggling.

Pet Tip: The key to a quality pet life is to shelter your pets form harmful and hazardous elements and maintain good hygiene


Arlo

4. Arlo

Favorite Activity: Howling at the moon

Owner: Ziomara Rivera

When people meet me on the street, they often like to play a guessing game about what mixed breed I am – it turns out, I’m actually a mix of eight different breeds! My mom got me a genetic test and found out I’m mostly part Pit Bull Terrier, Chow Chow, Beagle, American Eskimo Dog and Rottweiler, among a few others. I was rescued from Hilton Head Humane Association, who took me in after discovering I was a feral pup. Nowadays, I’m pretty laid back and like to show my mom my old stomping grounds when we go hiking.

Pet Tip: Learning simple commands like “sit” or “stay” can strongly improve the relationship between you and your pet


Buddy

5. Buddy the Superhero

Favorite Activity: Going to work with my mom!

Owner: Hallie Worthington

My name is Buddy and I’m a Golden Retriever and a Southeastern Guide Dogs school dropout – that’s not to say I haven’t continued in the field of canine service work! My strengths lie in emotional and mental support, as I am now a certified therapy pup with Alliance of Therapy Dogs. You could say I love my job – my favorite words are, “Let’s go to work!” Right now, I practice therapy when I go to work with my mom at a forensic psychiatric hospital, but I look forward to being allowed to make other hospital visits again, soon.

Pet Tip: By learning to communicate with your dogs, you will develop a strong relationship with them


Millie

6. Millie

Favorite Activity: Splashing in the Lafayette Square Fountain.

Owner: Morgan Morris

My name is Millie! Recently, I was able to able to give some good luck kisses right before my humans walked down the aisle to say, “I do!” Although it was their big day, I loved playing a role. Nowadays, we love to watch TV together on the couch as a family!

Pet Tip: Brush your dog’s teeth regularly or offer veterinarian approved dental chews to avoid serious infections and diseases


Sake June

7. Sake June

Favorite Activity: Being my mom’s running coach

Owner: Kayce Bradbury

When my mom rescued me from Coastal Pet Rescue, she had yet to find out what she signed up for. As an American Foxhound and Labrador Retriever mix, I’m still only half as cute as I am sassy. I spend my days coaching my mom on her runs and making sure she’s in shape for her upcoming races.

Pet Tip: Make sure your dog gets regular exercise needed to allow your pet to stay fit


Murphy

8. Murphy

Favorite Activity: Snacking on peanut butter

Owner: Kat Winkenwerder

Hello – my name is Murphy! I am an Australian Labradoodle and I live in Midtown Atlanta. I am just over seven months old and lovable as can be. My hobbies include taking afternoon walks, eating peanut butter, puddle jumping, chasing birds, sniffing everything and long naps. I’m thinking the next contest I will enter will be for “best hair.”

Pet Tip: Follow the dietary recommendations of your veterinarian for your pet’s nutritional needs to help prolong quality of life


Trapperjohn

9. Trapper John, MD.

Favorite Activity: Greeting tourists in Savannah’s squares

Owner: Loretto Lominack

My full name is Trapper John, MD, but my friends just call me Trapper John. My name was given before my mom adopted me from Coastal Pet Rescue and is a reference to the seven-season television series spinoff from the movie M*A*S*H. She wanted me to keep my name so I wouldn’t have too much change to adjust to in my new life. Like I mentioned, I am adopted and I am a Pit Bull Terrier and Labrador Retriever mix. Before my wonderful new home, I was abused, but I’ve made some pretty incredible progress in my first year since being rescued. I love to play with children and other dogs, and make a point to introduce myself to every new person I meet! The squares around Savannah and Forsyth Park are my favorite places to meet new friends. Find me strolling around town or playing with my favorite toy – a really loud squeaky rooster.

Pet Tip: Making sure your pets maintain optimal hydration is important for pet’s health and energy


Scarlett

10. Scarlett Rey

Favorite Activity: Long walks at Fort Pulaski and the Whitemarsh Preserve

Owner: Carrie Stillwagon

If you’re wondering if my name has something to do with Star Wars, you’re right! My name is Scarlett Rey and I’m just over one year old – my birthday is May the Fourth! I have a pretty distinct “scream” when I get excited, or when I’m running away from water (because I hate getting wet). I spent my quarantine days learning new tricks with my human sister and best friend, Ava.

Pet Tip: Not only is having your pets fixed good for the community and your home, it is also important for the pet’s health


Axel

10. Axl

Favorite Activity: Swimming!

Owner: Clara, Malena, Gianni & Lou Valoze

Where Malena goes, I’m not far behind! Most people don’t picture an American Bulldog mix as a service companion dog, but I’m the best man for the job. Malena and I are best friends and we do just about everything together – I absolutely adore her and take my “best friend” title seriously. After I was rescued as part of the Humane Society of Greater Savannah’s New Hope program, my owners wanted to teach me to swim, but on account of my bulkier build, I sunk like a brick. After some practice in a doggy life jacket, I learned some strokes pretty quickly and now they can’t keep me away from the pool!

Sheriff John Wilcher with Malena and Axl, who was adopted by the Valoze family at the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department through the New Hope program.


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