Blenny, best friend of Ashley Ferguson. Photo courtesy Ashley Ferguson.

Dog Days of Summer: Lovable local pups that stand out

It’s no secret that our readers love their dogs. Last year, we were overwhelmed by the response when we put out a call for photos and stories of Baton Rouge’s four-legged friends. And with everything that has happened since then, and the major role that pets have taken in our quarantined lives, we knew we had to do the same this year.

[caption id="attachment_82128" align="alignleft" width="363"] At age 13, Choco still loves to take “very very slow walks,” says owner Karla Coreil. After the sun goes down, Choco barks at her human family to remind them it’s bedtime. Photo courtesy Karla Coreil.[/caption]

On the pages that follow, you will find photos of furry friends from mutts to purebreds, all of whom brighten the days of the families they’re a part of. However, on this page, you’ll see the winner of our Dog Days of Summer contest: Siberian husky/Labrador retriever mix Choco.

“At 13 years old and in failing health, Choco greets me every morning with smiles,” says mom Karla Coreil. “We’ve had her since she was 5 weeks old, and she’s the center of our world.”

Choco found her way to the Coreil family after forming a quick bond with Karla, who went to visit her neighbor after hearing of the birth of a litter of nine puppies. Bringing the puppy back to her own house, Karla’s son Drew Alvarez named the then solid brown puppy after a chocolate bar, and the group has been inseparable since. Choco is so much a part of this family that Karla loves to bake the dog’s favorite special treats, in which she often incorporates locally grown ingredients like cushaw from the Red Stick Farmers Market.

“Choco improves our quality of life,” Karla explains. “No matter what mood we’re in, she’s happy to see us. She is the nicest, sweetest and most beautiful dog I have ever had the pleasure to know.”



¼ cup peanut butter
1 cup canned pumpkin or cooked and puréed pumpkin, cushaw or butternut squash
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir peanut butter and pumpkin, cushaw or butternut squash until well mixed. Add flour and stir until it is fully incorporated. Roll out dough on a floured surface to about 18 inch. Cut dough into fun shapes with 1- to 1½-inch cookie cutters. Bake for about 12 to 16 minutes, until light brown on the edges. Longer baking will lead to crispier dog treats, which is almost universally preferred by pups. Allow treats to cool completely before offering them to your dog. Store in a sealed container for 1 week. If you have too many—we never do!—you can freeze some for later.

Note: This recipe is very forgiving. Measurements and baking time do not need to be followed exactly to have great results.


Pembroke Welsh Corgi

“He goes everywhere we do! He has two human special needs brothers, Glennon and James, and they are the best of friends. He travels with us in our Airstream. He goes glamping and never met a trail he didn’t like. He loves to swim at the beach and climb the mountains. He’s a very adventurous pup.”

—Carol and Thomas Latour


“This pic was the face of quarantine for me out on the deck, over morning coffee, every single day. It was a wonderful way to start my day in an interesting time! He’s the absolute best pup with his sweet eyes and goofy disposition. We couldn’t imagine our world without him.”

—Amy Radle Fasullo


“We rescued Howie from CAA in July of 2016, and his foster said that he had been very shy and not very people friendly. Fast-forward to today, and he is the sweetest dog ever and we couldn’t imagine our lives without him. He is my son’s best friend and the light of our lives. Since adopting, we have spent time at the animal shelter hoping other dogs can find their forever homes.”

—Alyssa Gautreau


Golden retriever

“Sadie started suffering from a rare autoimmune disease when she was eight months old. It attacks the muscles in her head and prevents her from opening her mouth. She has to take loads of steroids to keep it in check, but it doesn’t prevent her from being just a big puppy. All she wants are hugs and belly rugs. And whatever you’re eating, of course.”

—Tommy Groves


“Pure mutt rescue”

“She found her way into our home and hearts almost two years ago. She is so loyal and grateful to be a part of our family. She loves everyone and is willing to put up with all the shenanigans the grandchildren pull on her. She has brought us such joy—especially to my husband, who formerly really wasn’t a pet person.”

—Jill Lemoine


“Blenny is named after a fish, and she is the best! She was adopted from a shelter in northern Louisiana and turned out to have parvo, so she really had to fight at an early age to survive. We adopted her just before my dad went on hospice, and she was such a lift in spirits for him. He loved having a puppy to cuddle with.”

—Ashley Ferguson


Australian labradoodle

“I decided I was ready for an addition to our family after my baby girl moved to Georgia for college. I needed something to fill that void but I never realized just how much until we got Otie. He is my lifesaver! He loves to ride in his daddy’s boat and he loves the beach, balls and babies.”

—Lea Paxton



“Wrigley started as a family pet and has morphed into a therapy dog and perfect companion for the COVID-19 lockdown and cancer treatment. He is a gentle giant that is great with grandchildren, when they were allowed to visit, and now is essential in our neighborhood walks and social distancing. He has been a perfect dog since birth as he was easily trained to never get on furniture, stay out of certain rooms, and not chew anything except his toys.”

—Charlie and Susan D’Agostino


Cur Mix

“Leonard has great downhill speed like his namesake, Leonard Fournette. And if you’re not looking out for him at the dog park, he’ll take you down at the knees! He’s the best dog and just wants to be with us no matter what we are doing.”

—Jan and Herb Sumrall



“At nine months old, Carré mysteriously became completely paralyzed. Luckily, LSU had a miracle worker in the guise of Dr. Ronald Koh, who heads their integrative medicine department. She walked out of the hospital under her own power. In the spring of 2015, Carré and I ventured back into the show ring, where she finished her AKC championship and then her grand championship. She is now retired from dog shows and spends her days racing in the yard and greeting neighborhood walkers as they stroll past her fence.”

—Dee Jones


Golden retriever mix

“Named for a local championship player, Dorsey is a big LSU fan, except when we yell at the TV. She is a mix between golden retriever and best dog ever. She is a champion shedder and loves to be loved.”

—Karen and Elmer Tatum


Fox red lab

“Not only is she a beast at fetching ducks, she is also my best friend. Any time I am sad, she always finds a way to cheer me up. She has even licked my tears through the really hard times. I could not imagine my life without her.”

—Jennifer LaCost


Golden retriever mix

“Dixie has yet to meet a stranger. Squirrel chasing makes her really happy, along with a nice, long neck rub. There simply can’t be another dog who is loved more than she is.”

—Dianne, Chris and Sophie Bourgeois


Lab/shepherd rescue

“Everybody loves Lucy (except the mail carrier). At 13 years old, she lives by the stove, tolerates the toddler, and reminds us to enjoy the finer things in life, like bacon.”

—Amy Craig


Cavalier King Charles spaniel

“Lovey was originally an Uptown lady of New Orleans but moved to Baton Rouge with me in 2015. She spent her earlier years as a shop dog on Magazine Street. She loves attention, belly rubs from humans, and hunting lizards.”

—Jessica Jones


Lab/pit bull mix

“It was a heavy time for us when I saw him. I had locks past my waist that morning. That same evening when I returned to pick him up from CAAWS, I was bald. I was going through chemotherapy, and a 15-pound pup was put in my lap. Freedom is now a 75-pound kissing bandit silly boy. He keeps my energy level up. We’ve helped each other because I needed to stay active since having chemo and a bone marrow transplant. He also keeps my husband, who has PTSD, happy and gives him a reason to get up every day.”

—Kathy Michael


Mini goldendoodle

“He loves to go on walks and cools off by enjoying a puppy ice cream. He loves to play with all 1,000 and counting of his toys. In the fall, you are sure to find him wearing his dog-tailored LSU jersey and cheering on his favorite team.”

—Kristi Condon


Cavalier King Charles spaniel

“Spanky has proven to be a fantastic cubicle mate these past few months. When I have a long conference call, Spanky breaks up the monotony by verbally assaulting a squirrel. When my remote connection freezes, Spanky eases my frustration by asking for an ear scratch. When I try to work through lunch, Spanky offers to clean the dishes if I eat a sandwich. Like many senior citizens, he naps throughout the day. But every time he wakes up, he shuffles into my ‘office’ to check on me.  And every day when I finally emerge from my new normal, I receive the same happy greeting.  The best part of my day. It’s been such a blessing to be able to enjoy my best friend’s retirement with him.

This photo is from our backyard wedding where Spanky was the ring bearer. He proudly walked down the aisle, waited patiently during the vows, and followed us back inside where he promptly pooped on the floor. Good boy, Spanks. Thanks for waiting.”

—Anna Boren Joubert


Mixed breed

“Snoopy is the epitome of sweetness. Adopted from the CAA shelter, he turned life into one big love fest. Never tiring of getting kisses and giving 10 times as many back, he is a snuggle bunny extraordinaire. He does take breaks to bark at bicycles going by the window but makes sure most of life is filled with adoring looks and devotion.”

—Libby Johnson


Golden retriever

“Meet Gus, a West Virginia born and Baton Rouge raised Golden Retriever. He’s our family pet who became a therapy dog when we needed some major cheering up! When our daughter had an accident in New York last spring, she was hospitalized there for three months before we were able to transfer her closer to home. We moved her to Houston for a month of inpatient therapy and they allowed Gus (@therealgoldengus on Instagram) to stay! He helped lift Reilly’s spirits and also became the unofficial mascot of the rehab gym! The patients all loved him. Now we are home and Gus loves to walk himself (grabs his leash when you ask, also holds his leash in his mouth as he prances around the neighborhood), and he loves to swim! He really loves to hang out in the kitchen, especially when he hears the sound of chopping. He’ll come running and is great at catching treats–all the vegetable trimmings! Broccoli is a favorite. Having a full house has been the highlight of Gus’s life, and when everyone goes back to work/school/life I am prepared to take him out on the therapy circuit.”

—April Hamilton


Lab/pit bull mix

“Some of Oliver’s favorite things include fetch, sleeping, giving kisses and chasing bugs. He’s also a pro at chasing his tail—he gets it every time!”

—Whitney Williston


Norwich terriers, Wire hair fox terrier

“They are all unique in their own way and together make the perfect pack. I could write a book about them and how much we love them. For now, just take my word that they are everything to us.”

Milette Coles


Silky terrier

“Our granddog, Finn, is a very special member of our family. He entertains us daily with his pre-breakfast happy dance, where he runs in circles and jumps on his hind legs before enthusiastically consuming every morsel. As seen in this picture, he loves to crunch on celery slices while he keeps us company at dinner.”

—Darrell & Frances Boudreaux


Yellow lab, Chocolate lab

“As you can see here, they really do adore one another. The Riverbend neighborhood adores them as well. They have become somewhat of the escape artists and like to get out of our gate and go find our next door neighbors, who they refer to as the ‘roast beef counter.’ On a serious note, I snapped this shot of them well before our world had gotten in such despair. It reminds me that we just need to all love one another.”

—Jennifer Boneno