By Kelly Carr
Mark Taylor, publisher: My daughter and her family have a Siberian husky. Big as he is, Nikki is a snuggly puppy at heart. He likes to be close and be petted. He loves wrestling matches. The kids lie on him like a floor pillow. He follows my daughter from room to room. I’m learning that, just as we can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a dog by the size of its body or bark. This reminds me of some people I’ve encountered whose demeanor masks a tender soul inside.
Sheryl Overstreet, assistant editor: Besides typical pets that kids have (dogs, fish, turtles, guinea pigs, rabbits), when we were young, my sisters and I also had some unique animals: two ducks, an owl, and a squirrel. One morning my sisters and I went to let Sammy the squirrel out of her cage, but she was gone. We looked everywhere. We were very upset, and went crying to our dad, who was still in bed, not feeling well. There we saw a furry little tail sticking out. Dad laughed, as we realized he had gotten up earlier and taken Sammy to bed with him!
Mike Helm, designer: Satchmo was a skinny, yellow, stray cat who wandered onto a construction worksite in the summer of 1989, looking for a meal, and went home to live with me. By summer’s end he was no longer skinny. In the mornings, when a timer would engage my apartment’s coffee maker, Satch would station himself directly before it and stare it down until it ceased to make noise and gush steam. He developed as much of a taste for cantaloupe as for tuna. A fine fellow, he was never shy to make known his requests.
Dave Faust, columnist: My wife and I currently own a tiny, long-haired Chihuahua named Nugget that greets me joyfully every time I enter the house and expects me to play with her on the living room floor each evening. Nugget serves as a conversation starter with neighbors and a stress reliever for me—and her small size reminds me that I don’t need to be a “big dog” to be significant.
Jamie Shafer, columnist: I had a sweet tiger cat named Maggie that I adopted from a shelter at the end of college. She was my steady friend during financially lean years when the lodging and food weren’t always great. On several occasions she erased my messages by touching the blinking button on my answering machine. Our journey together went from college all the way through marriage and children. There is something about an animal that chooses you as much as you have chosen it—that was true with Maggie. I was her person.
Charlie Starr, columnist: I put off getting a pet for as long as possible. But my wife informed me she wanted one. Deaux-e is a 5-pound rat terrier, Chihuahua mix. A dog that small is nice because you can play fetch with her from the comfort of your living room recliner: just throw her little tennis ball out the door into the hallway, and she chases after it with glee. She likes to purposely hide her ball underneath a blanket on the floor and then dig the ball out. That’s a fun thing to see. She’ll be 10 in July—and she’s been a joy to have around.