Partners and Their Pets

Aug 1, 2017

Group of pets together in front of white backgroundWhen a pet “incident” caused a member of SVPAZ’s marketing committee to call in from home for a meeting, a discussion about keeping Partners engaged during the summer months turned into a series of stories about our beloved pets.

All the members present had a pet of some sort – and had at least one good story to tell. Each dog, cat, bird or otherwise has a unique personality and a story.

So we decided to reach out to Partners to share a few of theirs. It’s not necessarily SVPAZ-related. But it’s a good way to keep us connected on a personal level.

Pet owners know their furry or feathered friends offer important companionship. A growing body of research shows they also do much more; pet owners tend to be more physically active and a pet provides socio-emotional balance in lives. A recent Harvard Medical School study (“Get Healthy, Get a Dog”) found that petting a dog can lower the petter’s blood pressure and heart rate (while having a positive effect on the pet as well). But pets do come with unique personalities and peculiarities and “interesting” moments.

Here are a few stories from pet-owning Partners:

sunnyAkerSunny “Bunny” Aker

Sunny is Andrea Aker’s six-year-old domestic cat, named so because his orange coat matches the sun. He’s the one who started this storytelling when he was chasing a baby rabbit through her house (the good news is she saved the bunny).

Andrea says she decided “it was time for grown-up responsibilities, and got a cat because of dog is far too much responsibility.”

“I am a firm believer in rescuing animals vs. designer breeds, so I picked him from the Arizona Humane Society (one week before kittens were being given away free, of course).”

“Sunny has more personality than most humans. He’s crazy, brilliant, unpredictable, loving, a giver, a taker, and finds a ton of joy in running around outside, just like his mother.

Sunny loves to hunt, and he gets the most joy out of slaughtering innocent animals and birds right before important events, such as a meeting or vacation. I missed an SVP meeting because I was chasing a poor baby bunny throughout my house. The good news is that I saved the bunny.

Sunny also kneads on my stomach and loves head butting as a sign of affection.”

Charlie CallinanTraveling Charlie Callinan

Charlie is Tom and Maureen Callinan’s bijon-poodle with a black coat and white feet that make him look like he’s wearing spats.

“When we downsized last fall from our spacious home in Ohio to a condo in Scottsdale, we left behind a life surrounded by big dogs (a black lab, pointing griffon, Labrador). They are with the kids there now, but Charlie made the trip. He travels well in cars and kennels, including our frequent flights “home” to Seattle and Ohio.

He’s 13, on a special diet and gets insulin shots twice a day. We have to watch him closely, but he’s doing well for his age. The diaper was too humiliating so we walk often!

CardinalClownsGone Viral

Chris Cardinal has two Golden Retriever brothers, named Bleu & Colby. (We call them the Cheese Pups, for their namesake.)

“I made a video of them running for their food from 11 weeks up to 11 months and it went viral. It’s had 13.5 million views on YouTube, ran on Good Morning America, 25+ local news affiliates, and a ton of other places.

They’re great dogs, with Colby the “smart one” and Bleu… not. But they’re best friends either way.”

CallieAlways Ready to Pounce

Amy Armstrong is accustomed to opening the door to her house and finding feathers. Lots and lots of feathers. “Callie {Calico Cat} is straight up savage. She’ll torment her prey for hours, stalking it around the house. The only thing she leaves behind is feathers.”





CalderonCriminalsThe Calderón Criminals

Being rescue parents of two cats and two dogs brings lots of joy to Terri and Ernie Calderón’s house. It also brings animals with their own issues that now are being shared with us, which brings us to talking about our canine kids. Upon our return from our two week honeymoon in July 2015, we learned our dogs, Bella and Charlie, had shared their frustration during the evening and early morning hours by yelping and barking at the back door. They were smart enough to know that the house sitter was sleeping upstairs WITHOUT them and they were not happy.

One morning, a very angry neighbor banged on the door, scaring our house sitter.  The neighbor proceeded to have a tantrum over the dog noise, threatening the dog sitter, and implied she would take care of the dogs herself if they could not be quiet. Our house sitter made arrangements for the dogs not to go out during the night while we were away.

Upon our return, we became vigilant about keeping our dogs from barking. So imagine our surprise when we received a formal complaint and violation from the City of Phoenix for dog barking. We were even more surprised to learn that in the City of Phoenix this violation is a CRIMINAL offense and we could either pay a fine or go to court. AND we were surprised again when a police officer came to our door at 6 a.m. to tell us that a city councilman had asked them to check the complaint out!  The police had been by the house five or six times listening for the dogs, but had never heard them!  In their humble opinion, we didn’t have a dog problem—but a neighbor problem.

We decided to fight for our little canines so hired a criminal lawyer and went to court on January 10, 2017. The half day trial included witnesses and cross examinations. The judge found the Calderón’s NOT GUILTY! We are still shaking our heads that tax payer time, talent and dollars were allocated to go after two 13 pound dogs, but grateful that justice prevailed.


TomCCompiled by Partner Tom Callinan, writer, editor, wordsmith.






If you have a fun or interesting story … or story idea to share, please contact Communications Manager Meghan Leatherman.