Westchester's Top Pets
Presenting the winners of our Second Annual Pet Contest: seven captivating canines and three fabulous felines
Photography by Chris Ware
We put out the call for photos of your cutest pet family members back in December. Fifty-two entries—alas, none with feathers or scales and only one non-canine or -feline among them (a palomino quarter horse named El Dorado)—and close to 750 votes later, we present the winners, the county’s 10 top dogs and cats.
Basset Hound/Border Collie Mix
Owner Colby Brock of White Plains on his six-and-a-half-month-old best buddy: Ten-second kvell: He’s all one could expect from an adorable little man—loving, playful, rambunctious, funny, clumsy, mischievous, flirty, and smart as a whip. He sleeps: in our bed—under the sheets and with his head on my pillow. Most money spent on him: Three hundred dollars for a Gucci dog collar. Lil’ Man Lionel is so dapper, he had to rock it. Fave activity: Being out and about, getting attention from anyone and everyone. Second home: The Radisson in New Rochelle, where I work and he spends his afternoons greeting guests. Origins: He’s a rescue from the Pets Alive Westchester animal shelter in Elmsford. Favorite place: Target. He gets the most attention there, and he loves to ride in the cart through the store. Most useful trick: The guys at Home Depot taught him how to pull things off the shelves for Dad. People-food nosh: Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Brittle ice cream. Most oddball behavior: He sits and waits until I get out of the shower so he can go in and lick the floor and glass before lying down and falling asleep in it. So bizarre.
“Teddy Bear” Dog (aka a Shuchon or Zuchon, a cross between a Bichon Frise
and a Shih Tzu)
Owners Joanne and Ed Palumbo of Yorktown Heights on her 10-month-old sweetie: Full name: Fergie, the Duchess of Yorktown. Best trick: Playing catch with herself—she tosses her toy in the air and then runs after it. What word best describes Fergie’s personality? Playful. Most endearing behavior: Upon greeting people, she loves to roll right on her back to have her belly rubbed. Favorite activity: Walking to the bus stop with our kids. Most oddball behavior: She likes to bark at herself in the mirror—she thinks there is another dog. Most annoying habit: Nipping at our feet to get our attention. Favorite toy: A yellow Angry Bird. Celebrity she most resembles: Fergie, the Duchess of York. They have the same hair color. Her wardrobe: She has a pink puffy coat and a red-and-black Snuggie. Most money spent on her: She doesn’t have extravagant things—she’s happy with a simple chew toy. Naughtiest act (thus far): She ate two tubes of lipstick—her paws were pink for a week.
HEAVYWEIGHT CUDDLE CHAMP
Owners Caitlin and Michael Snyder of White Plains on her one-year-old gal pal: Ten-second kvell: She started as a surprise gift from my husband— and the surprises keep coming. Origin of name: She’s named after a character from A League of Their Own. She sleeps: in bed with us—she tries to get in before we do in order to secure herself a pillow. Most annoying habit: When she cuddles, she needs to be on top of you—and she isn’t particularly light. Naughtiest thing she’s done: When she was seven months old, she ‘fertilized’ in one of my husband’s sneakers. I found it to be hysterical—he didn’t. Favorite TV show: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills—she turns her head from side to side out of confusion when she sees dogs that weigh less than five pounds wearing BeDazzled jean jackets. Special talent: If a pizza box is on the counter, she is able to open it, take the pizza out, and put the top back down.
Tiger Domestic Cat
Owner Bradley Pettengill of Tarrytown on his almost-two-year-old rescue cat: Most endearing habit: She greets us at the door when we come home and then rolls over on her back so we can rub her belly. Favorite toy: Her giant, rabbit-fur-covered toy mice, because it rattles when she tosses it around. Word that best describes her personality: Energetic. Best trick: She high-jumps in the air to catch her toys. Hates: When we leave the house—she’d rather we stay home all the time to play with her. Annual budget: Close to one thousand dollars. Most oddball behavior: She balances on the banister while playing with her tail. Naughtiest thing she’s done: After creating a hole under our box spring for a private hideout, she proudly showed us how she gets inside. Most annoying habit: Deciding that four am is a good time to bring her toys onto the bed to play.
WHATEVER SHE WANTS
Owner Fiona Sanzo of Dobbs Ferry on her four-and-a-half-month-old pet: Ten-second kvell: Our Lola was delivered to us from the North Pole, which makes her extra special. Best trick: Getting treats simply by looking cute. Particularly endearing habit: The head tilt when looking at you—you melt. Most annoying habit: Chewing anything she can get her teeth into. Favorite flick: Despicable Me—when she hears the line, ‘It’s so fluffy!’ she thinks it’s about her. Favorite kind of music: Hip-hop—her legs are too tiny to actually walk so she hips and hops. Favorite toy: Anything the kids drop is fair game, but she is rather partial to her binky—my daughter Olivia’s pacifier. Celeb she most resembles: Beyoncé as Sasha Fierce. Best nosh: Honey Nut Cheerios or aged rib-eye—she’s not picky. Her wardrobe: So far, she only has a pink fleece hoodie. Thinks she is: one of our kids.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Owner Heidi Schuster Helfst of Larchmont on her one-year-old pal: Best trick: Being able to catch any treat, at any speed, and from any direction, in his mouth. Favorite place to play: The beach. Cutest behavior: No matter where he is in the house, when he hears music in another room, he bolts to wherever I am to dance. Favorite music to dance to: Any Phoenix song, but particularly ‘If I Ever Feel Better.’ Most annoying habit: Trying to herd my husband and me around the house into one room. Favorite toy: His stuffed elephant. Thinks he is: A human. Celebrity he most resembles: Thurston Howell from Gilligan’s Island, of course. We just need to get him a Lovey—or maybe a Ginger!
THE CAT’S MEOW OF FACEBOOK
American Shorthair Tabby Cat
Owner Monica Duarte of Port Chester on her 13-year-old little furry friend: Favorite toy: She pays no attention to normal cat toys, but goes nuts over cotton swabs and straws. Best trick: She knows exactly how to ask for food by looking at us and then walking to the pantry where her food is while meowing. Favorite activity: Play-fighting. My dad pretends to attack her and she goes nuts, rolling all over the floor and swinging her paws in the air. Where she sleeps: All wrapped up like a taco in her blankets at the foot of our bed. People-food nosh: She loves quail, butter, and strawberry yogurt. She thinks she is: The center of all of our attention. She sits on your magazine when you’re reading or on your lap when you’re eating. She hates: Being left alone when we leave for work in the morning. She gives us this look like, ‘How could you leave me? I’m so cute!’ In her closet: A houndstooth cape and a Santa hat—and she hates both of them. Naughtiest habit: She scratches the furniture when she feels she needs a manicure. Fun fact: Minnie has her own Facebook page. Check her out at facebook.com/minnieduarte.
A REAL TROUPER
Owner Kelly Stankiewicz of White Plains on her two-year-old special fellow: Notable Fact: Jack was a rescue dog, saved by New York State Police troopers from the side of the Palisades Parkway. He immediately jumped into the police car and began pressing the lights and sirens. Favorite activity: Eating. He sleeps: On our bed. One word that describes his personality: Nudgy. What he fears most: Fireworks. Fave music: Whatever is on 106.7 FM, because we leave it on for him while we are out. Favorite food: Chicken. He howls for it whenever we are cooking it. Sweetest habit: He greets you for twenty minutes, like a ritual. Most oddball behavior: Any time you are in the bathroom, he busts in and stares at you. Naughtiest act: He ate my boyfriend’s wallet and everything in it. Wardrobe includes: a winter jacket and scarf and two Halloween costumes—a hot dog and a squirrel. Most annoying habit: Using his nose to push away the cellphone or Wii control if he thinks we’re not giving him enough attention.
“Hemingway” Polydactyl Domestic Shorthair Cat
Owner Linda Crowley of Hastings-on-Hudson on her one-year-old calico cat: Most oddball behavior: She relocates hard objects—like jewelry, contact lens cases, and small porcelain figurines—in odd places all around the house. Most exceptional skill: Incredible athletic dexterity. She surprises us every day with where she ends up—on top of tall furniture, shelves, and inside cabinets. Afraid of: Nothing. Fave activity: Getting inside a paper bag and making a lot of noise. She sleeps: Curled up with our dog, Jenny. Most annoying habit: Digging up houseplants—and then spreading the dirt everywhere. TV-viewing habits: She likes golf because she uses her front paws to bat after the ball. Favorite type of music: Opera. Naughtiest behavior: She thinks it is fun to check out what is in the kitchen garbage can. Most loved toy: Our dog’s wagging tail. She has been swatting at it since she was a baby, and it never gets old.
“Heinz 57” (mixed breed)
Owners Laurieanne Delitta and Karen Kosits of Briarcliff Manor on her two-year-old guy: Nickname: Super-Duper Cooper. Best trick: Singing his ‘whoo, whoo, whoo song.’ Favorite food: Anything he can get. Favorite show to DVR: Anything on Animal Planet—he likes to hear dogs barking. Thinks he is: a human. Most annoying habit: Playing in the mud and then coming in the house. Worst pet peeve: Baths. Money spent on him per year: About three thousand dollars, for lots of toys and care when we go away. Wardrobe: Halloween costumes and Christmas pics props—for his stage work. Celebrity look-alike: Brian on Family Guy—he should have a martini in his hand.