Dog Days of Summer: The four-legged friends that make Capital City families complete

It’s easy to look back on the past year and see only struggles—missed events, canceled vacations and modified celebrations. However, through a dog’s eyes, the quarantine, decreased social events and work-from-home protocols seemed like the ideal situation. Rather than being locked away, when the world shut down in March of 2020, dogs finally had their day.

And while furry friends that were already a part of families had more time to spend at their feet, new dogs were adopted both from animal rescues and breeders in droves. A response to the increased need for COVID-friendly companionship, the new relationships were only strengthened by adverse circumstances.

“I fostered Bacchus (formerly Cassidy) in March 2020 from Companion Animal Alliance the day the state shut down due to COVID,” explains Sally Stiel, who officially adopted the pup a few weeks later. “I truly believe we found each other for a reason that day.”

Rifling through the submissions from this year’s Dog Days of Summer contest, we found that countless families throughout the Capital City feel the same as Stiel. Azizza Darwish wrote of her poodle-schnauzer mix Lucy, “I adopted her during quarantine and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.” If these dogs could talk, we think they would express the same feelings about their new owners.

Here (and here), you will find just a few of the heartwarming reader submissions from this year’s contest. From puppies filling the void from a lost pet, as is the case with Cayenne, to Barley, who is just growing into his paws, these profiles offer a glimpse into the families that call Baton Rouge home.

Barley, Bernedoodle

“He arrived last year during COVID, which was no small feat considering we had to get him flown down here from the breeder in Illinois. When he enters the room, you can’t help but smile and fall a little bit in love every time.” 

—DD, Michael and Ashley Dubreuil

Bacchus, Labrador mix

Cayenne, Fox red British Lab

“We got her after we had to put our 16-year-old Lab down during the pandemic. Cayenne came into our lives and has been the perfect fit for our family.” 

—Trasie Stelly

Lucy, Poodle-Schnauzer mix

Bonnie Blue, Labradoodle

“She is the very best girl because she loves babies and puppies, takes me for long walks, and became our office emotional support dog in 2020. When we sent most people home at the onset of the lockdown, Bonnie began coming to work with me every day to give comfort to those of us in the office. She still comes to work with me and greets ‘Uncle Hank’ (Saurage) at his door because she loves him and she knows he keeps treats for her in his office.”

—Nicole Davis

Noodles, Possible Pomeranian mix

“We rescued him four years ago. He’s the biggest bundle of energy and joy that brightens up the day of anybody he meets!”

—Brandon Ransome

Remi, Labrador retriever

“Remi is the best because she is a loyal and loving companion who is always by my side. She enjoys fetching her toy in the swimming pool, riding the golf cart and fishing. She is 11 years old, but regardless of her age, she is a young pup at heart.”

—Mack Brown

Abed, Probable dachshund-beagle mix

“Abed is the epitome of Baton Rouge. He loves a good Garden District porch swing, he will eat anything fried, and he loves being in everyone’s business.”

—Adrienne Wood

Billie, Labrador retriever

“I had been waiting for the right time to get a dog, and luckily Billie came into my life at the perfect time! I love watching her grow and learn new things every day. She has brought me so much joy being her dog mom.”

—Joanne Tribou

Honey Bun, Labrador retriever

“Honey Bun has the sweetest personality. She enjoys swimming, lounging on her own pool raft, fishing, and being with her family 24/7. She is always found with a smile on her face and will give you tons of puppy kisses if you get too close.”

—Courtney Blanchard Brown

Bentley and Baylor, Golden retrievers

“My now-husband and I got Bentley when I was a freshman in college. He’s been our sidekick through thick and thin. Right before COVID began last March, we got a call that someone did not come pick up their puppy and that she had the same dad as Bentley. We knew we’d be home a lot more and thought it was the perfect time to get ‘Benny’ a friend. We can’t imagine our lives without these two fur babies.”

—Maggie Westbrook Jackson

Layla, Teacup Yorkie

“Layla is 10 years old and weighs 3 1/2 pounds. She is very photogenic and loves to snuggle under the blanket with us. It’s easy to put her in my purse and do things with her. She loves to come anywhere where she is allowed. She even comes with me to the hair salon and nail salon.”

—Rachel Vielee

Sam, Blenheim Cavalier King Charles spaniel

“Sam lives up to his breed’s reputation in that he is loving, playful, sweet, kind and an excellent companion. His favorite activity is barking out the window at anything passing by, going on walks, and cuddling. He also likes to bark at other dogs on TV.”

—Mickey Shortess

Rudy, Beagle

“Rudy came to live with us after my mom passed away. At the time, my little boy was 2. They quickly became best friends! He gave Rudy the nickname of ‘The Champion’ and told us ‘he has so many tricks in his body,’ which is particularly funny because Rudy can hardly walk. Most recently, our son told us that his ‘Champion’ is actually part dog and part eagle. To know Rudy is to love him.”

—Loren McIntyre

Cookie, Miniature Australian labradoodle

“Here are a few reasons why she is the best dog in the whole entire world: She’s always willing to help. She FaceTimes me when we aren’t together. She loves to play with friends. She keeps Dad busy when working from home. She protects Mom. She is our princess.”

—Mandi Hughes

Dolly, Labrador-pit bull mix

“I have Dolly trained to smile on command. She loves the BREC Burbank dog park, especially the pond. She cools off when she gets hot and will lay in any place she can find water.”

—Stephanie Peltier

Jacques Pepin, Splash Boston terrier with a bit of French bulldog

“Jacques, named for the famous chef, enjoys hijinks, Zooming and watching sports and balls on TV. Many people find him funny.”

—Sarah Stanford

Henry, Goat

“While not a dog, he certainly thinks he is! We have two Labs and he’s been raised with them, so we think he’s confused. Goats are a little strange, but he brings endless entertainment and love to our household.”

—Katie Alligood

Teddy, Schichon

“Teddy is always wearing his signature underbite smile and bringing joy to everyone he comes across. His pastimes include playing with his raccoon toys, hitting the town and posing for photos for his Instagram and blog. He is so special that we’ve nicknamed him Mister Amazing Boy!”

—Tara Schoonover

Beignet, Pomsky

“Beignet is full of energy. His favorite toy is a ball, but it can only be an orange Chuckit ball. He loves to play fetch and watch TV. He brings so much joy to my life and is a great companion.”

—Tricia Gorsich

Clotilde Marie Sugar Magnolia Lefeve (“Chloe”), Catahoula corgi

“Chloe is the perfect sidekick! She is 6 years old and lives for the summer! When she’s not swimming or floating in the pool, she’s dreaming of the dog-friendly beaches of the Gulf Coast. She truly is the perfect little companion, and we love her so much!

—Terri McKinney