South’s Greatest Pets 2022

South’s 2022 Greatest Pets contest winners are first responder aids, Ronald McDonald House© volunteers, guardians, AKC show dogs, beloved family members, and best friends.

With 98,876 total views and 32,974 total votes, let’s celebrate South’s 2022 Greatest Pets!

South’s 2022 Greatest Pets contest winners are first responder aids, Ronald McDonald House© volunteers, guardians, AKC show dogs, beloved family members, and best friends.

The Tybee Island Police Department’s Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) can assist officers in conducting high water rescues during hurricanes and tropical storms. Photos / Angela Hopper

1. Rocky

Owner: LT Emory Randolph, Tybee Island Police Dept. 

Age: Three years

Breed: German shepherd

Favorite Toy: Balls of all shapes and sizes

About me: My name is Rocky, and the residents of Tybee Island know me well! I thrive on a sense of duty — as most German Shepherds do — and can often be found patrolling Tybrisa Street wearing my on-duty vest. That’s right, I’m a police dog! But, I’m not your average police dog; I’m a cool police dog. As an animal ambassador for the Tybee police department, rather than sniffing out bombs, drugs or bad guys, my only mission is to make people smile. I take my job very seriously, and love to give out fist-bumps to all of my friends. When I’m off duty, I like to race my friends at Tybee Island dog park.

My people: I was adopted from the Humane Society for Greater Savannah in June 2020, and am cared for by the amazing Dr. Maddie Kral and Dr. Allison Witherow at Allison Animal Care for all of my medical needs. When my family travels, I’m left in the loving hands of Erica Deeb Cannon and Savannah Pet Sitters, LLC. 

Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Starland, a favorite spot for South’s pooches to get pampered. Photo / John Alexander

2. Phillmar Angel Fire’s Phoenix, Phoenix (PhePhe)

Owner: Angela Lucas Snipes 

Age: Two years

Breed: Doberman Pinscher

Favorite Toy: Piggy

About me: My name is Phoenix — PhePhe for short — and I’m a Pisces and a “riding in the car with the windows down” enthusiast. Seriously, I will cry if I’m in a moving car with the windows up. There’s no better feeling of tasting the freedom on your tongue as the breeze blows past your face. Although Doberman Pinschers tend to be an intimidating breed, my fierce looks are misleading. I love meeting new people and am known for giving out plenty of slobbery puppy kisses. 

Currently, I am working on attaining my AKC Championship in the conformation ring with my handler, Esteban. To fuel my show preparation, my diet consists of Purina Pro Plan and fish oil pills for a glossy coat. As a treat, I love cow ear treats, blueberries, and sardines.

My people: My vet Dr. Katie Nowland at Case Veterinary keeps me healthy, and my obedience trainer Kristi Howe with Nexus K9 and conformation handler Esteban Farias prepare me for the spotlight!

3. Willow

Owner: Bill Sorochak

Age: Seven years

Breed: Australian labradoodle

Favorite toy: Yellow ducky

About me: As a dog, I live one of the most fulfilling lives a dog could possibly live. I get to play with children every day! As a puppy, I was specially trained and anonymously donated to the Savannah Ronald McDonald House©, where I spend most of my days accompanying families dealing with life-threatening illness. When I’m not doing rounds at Ronald McDonald House© searching for playmates and belly rubs, I like to play with friends at Club Fido, pick out treats at Woof Gang Bakery, play in the backyard, and watch sports with my human.

My people: Case Veterinary has monitored my health through each stage of life so far. Club Fido cares for me on weekends and during hurricanes, and Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Starland provides my favorite treats and toys. 

Coastal Pet Rescue’s Camp Pawsawhile Retreat. Learn how you can change a life at

4. Roxie (the Couch Hippo)

Owner: Lisa Scarbrough

Age: 10 years

Breed: English/American bulldog mix

Favorite toy: Stuffed animals with squeakers

About me: My official name is Roxie, but I also go by “Couch Hippo” regularly. I may live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but my favorite place will always be anywhere on a couch. It’s always couch o’clock somewhere, and if I ever go missing (which is unlikely on account of my build and disdain for movement), that’s where I’ll be. When I’m feeling frisky, I like to demolish stuffed toys and rip out the squeakers. After completing my conquest, I head back to the couch. When I do go out, I prefer car rides. It’s fun to see the world pass by and feel the breeze in my face without having to do the work of walking around! Most of all, I enjoy keeping my human company — my loyalty to her is stronger than my loyalty to the couch, if you can imagine that.

My people: I am kept happy and healthy by Dr. Brandy Bragg at the Animal Hospital at Rice Hope and cared for by Russ Deen at the Guyton Pet Lodge.

Savannah Boathouse, South’s spot to hop on a boat and get away with your two-and-four legged family members.

5. Stella

Owner: Julie Collins

Age: 10 years

Breed: German Shepherd

Favorite snack: Cheese

About me: My name is Stella, and what makes me a star in my family’s eyes is that I am a loyal protector. I like it when everyone is in one place where I can keep watch. Usually, I try to herd everyone into one room, but when I can’t, I post up on the first floor and monitor for any unusual activity. One time, I sensed an intruder in the backyard, so I alerted my family to the trespasser: a sneaky turtle. As it turns out, the turtle wasn’t a major threat, but you never know.

In my 10 years on earth, I’ve picked up a lot of English from my humans. I know all the important words and can point to them, like “cheese,” “food,” “leash,” “paw,” and “farm.” I’ve also developed serious self control and can resist any food temptation upon request.

My people: I am cared for by Whitemarsh Animal Hospital veterinary professionals and visit Eureka Farms for boarding and playdates.

6. Garbo

Owner: Dr. Carl Pearl

Age: Two years

Breed: Vizsla

About me: My name is Garbo, and I have a (not-so-secret) doggy super power: I can convince my human to give me anything I want with just one look with my adorable, puppy-dog eyes. While this may seem manipulative, it’s actually the product of a mutual understanding between my human and me. To put it as simply as possible, we are best friends. While I know he would do anything for me, I would do absolutely anything for him, too.

Unfortunately for me, sometimes my human needs to go to work to have the means to give me anything I want when I give that look. On the bright side, this gives me a chance to hang out with my crew at Shady Pines, where we catch up on all the latest dog gossip.

My people: I love doggy daycare at Shady Pines and my veterinarian, Heather Gill at Cedar Animal Hospital.

Starland Yard. One of the most instagrammable spots in Savannah for a reason.

7. Allie

Owner: Brooke Collins

Age: Seven years

Breed: Yorkshire terrier

Favorite toy: Squeaky toys

About me: As a Yorkie, many people misjudge me based on my size. I may be small, but I can do anything a German Shepherd can do — and look adorable doing it. When my human’s human babies were newborns, I worked tirelessly day and night to make sure they were protected and safe. Now that they’re a bit bigger, we all like to visit Forsyth Park and play together. It’s nice to back off of my protective demeanor, let my guard down, and be the energetic, lovable, cuddly, tiny pup that I am. 

My people: I love getting spoiled at Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming.

A perfect date: bubbles and fries at Perry Lane Hotel’s Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market. Photo / Miranda Osborn

8. June

Owner: Joyce and Brett Velicovich

Age: Four months

Breed: Maltipoo

About me: Let me introduce you to the glamorous life of June Velicovich — that’s me. Starting with my fitness routine, I practice yoga four-to-five times a week with my mom. She even asks me for pointers sometimes because the upward and downward dog poses come so naturally to me. I’m sure to drink plenty of water to hydrate throughout the day and maintain optimal fitness levels.

However, I’m not all work — I balance out my schedule with plenty of play. My favorite toy is my luxe neon-green anteater stuffed animal with a state-of-the-art squeaker. After a long day, I like to hit happy hour with my parents at the Perry Lane Hotel. We’re regulars; they sip bubbles while I snack on fries and look cute. Follow all my adventures @June_in_Savannah on Instagram!

My people: VCA Greater Animal Hospital keeps me healthy and Woof Gang Bakery keeps me happy!

Heal the soul with southern hospitality and come meet this furry salon stylist at By Jessica & Co Beauty Lounge.

9. Dustmite De La Hoya

Owner: Jessica Sauls

Age: One-and-a-half years

Breed: French bulldog

Favorite toy: Bear

About me: My name is Dustmite De La Hoya, and as a French Bulldog with a short (but cute) snout, dust mites tend to give me some trouble. In general, I am a pretty laid-back dog and enjoy going with the flow. As a homebody, I tend to stick around my neighborhood (since my short legs probably couldn’t carry me very far). Plus, home is where the food is, and food is the cornerstone of my existence. I love to eat, but my mom makes sure I maintain these muscles with a healthy diet. And despite my eating and farting habits, my humans say I am a joy to be around. I make up for my smelly shortcomings by giving hugs to everyone I meet.

My people: I work on my obedience  with my trainer, Michael Duncan.

Photo / Katie Burke

10. Luney Toons

Owner: Cassandra Walker

Age: Five-and-a-half years

Breed: Tabby cat

Favorite toy: Cat-shaped laser pointer

About me: My name is Luney Tunes, and I am Savannah’s goofiest and most loving cat. My mom adopted me from The Humane Society of Greater Savannah, and I’ve hardly left her side since. We do so many fun things together. When she comes home from work, I run to her side and follow her around because I miss her so much when she’s gone. We like to play with the laser pointer, and I honestly can’t figure out why I like it — since I never win — but it’s just so addictive. My mom suspects I may have been a dog in my past life because I naturally knew how to play fetch, which we play a lot. After all that play time, I enjoy some Temptations cat treats for all my hard work!

My people: Case Veterinarians make sure I am happy and healthy.

Photo / John Alexander

Honorable Mention: Deputy Deer

“Owner”: Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher

As a deer, I’ve always had big aspirations for myself; I never wanted to adhere to the expectations of traditional deer life. And look at me now! With a little hard word and a lot of consistency, I’m Deputy Deer for the Chatham County Sheriff’s office. I patrol the woods around the shooting range that the force uses for practice. My special skill is that I stay completely calm despite the constant gun fire, and offer support for the trainees. While my work is rewarding in itself, I really love the honey buns that Sheriff John Wilcher feeds me for a job well done. 

There’s a lot of talk about when I might retire to start a family, and the Oatland Island Wildlife Center is monitoring my needs carefully. When the time comes, I’ll step back. But for now, it’s all honey buns and blazin’ guns.


To read this story in its entirety, subscribe now to the print edition for the full article or get instant access to our interactive digital edition.