The neighborhood’s animals we love

Lose your job? Break up with the boyfriend? Blubbering over a sappy movie? Funny how that ever-present furry family member can fix the world with a big sloppy kiss some days. The Advocate this year received an unprecedented amount of entries into the annual Best Pet contest. Each submission, accompanied by photos and amusing anecdotes, confirmed the power of a pet’s unconditional love. Though we could only highlight a few in this magazine, the whole collection, which you can see on our facebook page, had us oohing and ahhing, laughing and crying for days.

Monkey Photo by Danny Fulgencio


If Monkey the cat is a little neurotic, give the guy a break. He had a rough start in life. Owner Rachael Scott’s mom found little Monkey in the middle of the road, amid his siblings and the mama cat, who were the victims of someone’s car tires. “I went to see him, and I was like, ‘OK, this is my cat,’” Scott says. As a kitten, Monkey used to climb Scott’s clothes hanging in the closet, and he earned his name in the “jungle.” The 2-year-old cat is still a climber, and he has a woobie. “When he was little, I would roll him up in this blanket, and he would lie there for hours, content,” she says. “He still drags that blanket around the house.” He’s a cool cat, even if he is slightly off. “He’ll bite out of nowhere,” Scott says. “My mom said, ‘He’s a little crazy in the head,’ and he is.”


Osito Photo by Danny Fulgenci


A few months after 18-year-old Christina DeLeon’s dog disappeared about five years ago, her brother bought her another pet to cheer her up. It was a Yorkshire terrier, and DeLeon thought he looked like a teddy bear, so she named him “Osito,” Spanish for “little bear.” Osito is a hyper little guy with tons of energy. “He loves to be outside,” DeLeon says. “Every time he comes inside, he jumps from the back of one couch to the other like he’s playing hot lava.” Osito also likes to take naps in the backyard hammock and bark at DeLeon’s pet hamster. Recently she discovered that Osito loves watermelon.

Jenny Photo by Danny Fulgencio


Tawana Couch calls herself a “fulltime dog rescuer.” The Oak Cliff resident founded the Society for Companion Animals, which this year has rescued about 150 dogs from the city pound and off the streets. One of those was Jenny, a border collie/Australian shepherd mix. Another volunteer had adopted Jenny, who had a mean case of kennel cough, and she asked Couch to care for the dog while she went on vacation. “In the meantime, Jenny gets worse, and it turns out she has distemper,” Couch says. “Most of the time, that’s fatal in dogs, but we pulled her through.” After that, Jenny came down with mange and lost all the hair around her face. Later, a cut on Jenny’s leg became seriously infected. “So it was like nonstop, ‘Is she going to make it?’ ” Considering all of the dog’s medical complications, and Couch’s experience with sick dogs, the volunteer asked Couch if she would take Jenny. Once the dog’s health problems cleared up, Couch started taking Jenny to one-on-one and group training, in which she has excelled. “She’s a sweet, special dog, and she got to my heart,” Couch says. Find more information about the Society for Companion Animals at


Gus Photo by Danny Fulgencio


Gus is a giant mutt who thinks he’s a Pomeranian, owner Mariel Street of Winnetka Heights says. “Little kids are scared of him; littler dogs are afraid of him,” Street says. “His paws can cover your whole face, but he thinks he’s a lap dog.” Aside from his size, his signature characteristic is his eyebrows. Last year Street rescued Gus from Town Lake Animal Rescue in Austin, where she was living. “He was in the kennel with a really rambunctious, adorable dog, and he was just lying there, and he had this goofy look on his face and these expressive eyebrows,” she says. “And he had paws the size of IHOP pancakes when he was a puppy, so it was adorable.” When Street takes the more than 100-pound Gus to the dog park, he is often afraid of big dogs, but he falls right in with the little dogs and romps around with them. “He thinks he’s one of them,” she says.


Allas Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Allas (of dallas)

One morning when Steve Porter of Elmwood went out to get his newspaper, a 3-month-old bull terrier wandered up to him. Porter was preoccupied over some basal-cell carcinomas his doctor had diagnosed the day before. That turned out to be no big deal, but he was in a strange mood, he says. “This little tubby dog came running up to me like a little sister of mercy,” he says. “She’s my little angel.” Despite her mysterious origins, Allas never had any health problems. Porter and wife Jeanne walk her twice a day, at 6 a.m. and in the evening, and Allas loves visiting with neighbors. “She’ll run right into their house if I don’t watch her,” Porter says.


Max Photo by Danny Fulgencio


Max is the size of a Great Dane, but she’s covered in curly hair. She’s Bill Martin and Clay Chancey’s giant schnauzer, and she receives a lot of attention. “A lot of people have seen the mini schnauzers,” Martin says. “But you don’t see giant schnauzers very often.” He chose the breed because a friend had one, and Martin always liked the friend’s dog. For one thing, schnauzers don’t shed. So he bought Max from a reputable breeder when she was 8 weeks old. “Max is very calm,” Martin says. “She has an old soul. She likes to lie down and watch.” Max prefers people to dogs and often makes human friends at the dog park, he says. “She’s a great companion.”