The Unshakable Bond Between Dogs and Their Owners
Marin's four-legged friends and the humans who love them.
Mona Steinberg with Buster
Breed: McNab | City: San Anselmo
WHERE DID YOU MEET? We met at the Marin Humane Society the day after Christmas 2010 when he was two-and-a-half months old. We brought him home two days later. He was one of a litter of seven born in Mendocino. His name was Freddy when we met him. We were told when we adopted him that he was quite smart and would require a lot of engagement and play time. That remains true to this day. FAVORITE SNACK? Cheese, steak, the wrist of anyone he likes — he gently shows his affection by hugging a wrist with his mouth. FAVORITE PARK/TRAIL? He loves San Quentin Beach. He likes the Elliot Nature Preserve. He has spent many, many hours at the Mill Valley Dog Park but we have to be careful if there are boxers present. DOES HE SLEEP IN YOUR BED? I wish. He loves to sleep on beds and couches but only if he has them entirely to himself. His favorite place to sleep other than the couch is his pink beanie bag on the floor. THE ORIGIN OF HIS NAME. Look at him — he was a rascal when we first brought him home as a puppy and we had no choice but to call him Buster. SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT HIM. A few things. He loves to jump up in the air for bubbles and is known as “Buster the Bubble Dog” at some local parks and from his Good Morning America “Your GMA Moment” appearance. He has always been partial to the color pink and he hates boxers.
Casey Addicks with Kiwi
Breed: Mutt | City: Novato
WHERE DID YOU MEET? We found Kiwi at the Marin Humane Society. There was a litter of pups found in a storm drain. By the time we met Kiwi, all of his siblings had been adopted. In fact, he had been adopted for a day and then returned. We called him the reject pup but to be honest, he was a dream dog. The easiest dog we have ever had. FAVORITE SNACK? We just feed him dry dog food. But he does know all of the cat doors on our little cul-de-sac and so he also feasts on cat food. The neighbor said he was going to start charging us for cat food. FAVORITE PARK/TRAIL? Down our cul-de-sac and into anyone’s open garage or front door to say “hi” to the neighbors. Kiwi does not like long walks. If he is off a leash, he will turn back to the trailhead. DOES HE SLEEP IN YOUR BED? Bed or couch or any soft surface. But now I like to sleep alone so Kiwi is curled up like a cat on the couch. THE ORIGIN OF HIS NAME. My sister came up with it. He doesn’t look much like the fruit or the bird but the name suits him well. SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT HIM. He doesn’t like long hikes. He sleeps all day and always has. He is a cat in disguise. He always finds his way out and walks down the street to visit the neighbors and then comes back and jumps at the front door until it opens.
Kathleen Meier with Charlotte and Heidi
Breed: Bernese | City: Greenbrae
WHERE DID YOU MEET? I met my first Bernese mountain dog in about 1976 through a friend and fell in love with the breed. My first Berner joined our household in 1979 and except for three months in 1987, after I lost [that] first Berner, I have always had one or two to share my life with. Charlotte is number six and Heidi is number seven. I brought both of them home when they were each eight weeks old. FAVORITE SNACK? The girls love Frosty Paws — a special treat in warmer weather. They also love Zuke’s treats and Newman chicken/sweet potato sticks. FAVORITE PARK/TRAIL? They love to frequent the path along the Corte Madera Creek here in Greenbrae and also the Bay Trail. DO THEY SLEEP IN YOUR BED? Yes, both of them sleep in the bed. THE ORIGIN OF THEIR NAME. Because it is a Swiss breed I favored Swiss names. My first Berner was named Liesl, from The Sound of Music. I picked Charlotte because I loved the name and there were few if any Berners I knew of (or dogs for that matter) with the name Charlotte. It suits her perfectly. And then I was back to Swiss-derived names with my youngest, Heidi. SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT THEM. Charlotte is an amazing therapy dog — well-known throughout the county — and there is just something about her that really makes an impression on people. She is comical, she’s engaging, has a bounce in her step at eight-and-a-half and seriously seeks out people engagement. Heidi is just two and this is her first year taking part in animal assisted therapy. She is an amazing agility dog and a great partner to the autistic kids in our Jumping for Joy program. She also seems to have a very special appreciation for people with disabilities and really engages with them.
Jo and Bill Haraf with Betty
Breed: Mixed | City: Mill Valley
WHERE DID YOU MEET? Betty and I met at the Milo Foundation in Richmond. I wasn’t sure about her so I visited her three times a week for three weeks until my husband finally said, “Go get the darn dog already.” As I was walking her to our car, a woman stopped us and asked if she was Felicity (her Milo name). When I replied in the affirmative, the woman was crestfallen. She said that she was coming to get Felicity to [rescue her and] take her home. I hesitated for a second, then hustled Betty into the car and sped off. FAVORITE SNACK? Of course she loves my homemade liver treats, as do the other neighborhood dogs. Her second favorite is Cheerios. She’ll darn near walk on her hands for those. FAVORITE PARK/TRAIL? At least once, sometimes twice a day, she walks on Strawberry Spit. All of her dog friends are there and they have a great time playing and searching out varmints in the bushes. DOES SHE SLEEP IN YOUR BED? Nope. She prefers to sleep in her bed in my office. She has a firm rule — only two to a bed. If I manage to convince her to join me in the evening for a bit of TV or a book, she bolts as soon as my husband lifts the covers. She does jump in bed with either myself or my husband for a cuddle in the morning. A girl needs her beauty sleep and between the snoring (not me) and the thrashing (that’s me) I don’t think she gets enough sleep with us. THE ORIGIN OF HER NAME. After my husband and I met her the first time, we tried out old-fashioned names on the way home. Somewhere on the Richmond Bridge we decided on Bettie Page, the 1950s pinup queen. They both have dark bangs, after all. Our girl (the dog) preferred the traditional spelling, so Betty it is. And, no, she was not named after my mother. SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT HER. We had her DNA tested and she’s half miniature schnauzer, one-quarter cattle dog and one-quarter border collie. We call her our “miniature cattle collie.”
Kimberly Goldsworth with Jax
Breed: Whippet/Hound | City: Mill Valley
WHERE DID YOU MEET? I met Jax at the Bay Area Pet Fair in San Rafael. I saw him cowering under a table at the Family Dog Rescue booth, and for some reason I knew he had to be mine. FAVORITE SNACK? Jax will immediately start licking his lips upon hearing “Greenies,” though recently he has learned to come running at the sound of a cheese slice being unwrapped. FAVORITE PARK/TRAIL? Jax’s favorite place on earth is the Sausalito Dog Park, where he can safely run off a leash, explore and play with all his friends. DOES HE SLEEP IN YOUR BED? Yep. Since day one he has not only slept in my bed with me, but he also insists on sleeping under the covers — and must be touching me at all times. He has also taken over one of the big chairs in the living room, where he perches atop what we call his “nest” (since he sinks into it) while looking outside. THE ORIGIN OF HIS NAME. Jax was transferred from the Kauai Humane Society, which originally named him. As is very prevalent on the island, Jax was raised to be a boar hunter — wherein dogs are often starved and abused as incentive to get them to hunt. If they’re not good at hunting, they’re either abandoned, killed or dumped at the shelter. Jax — a lover, not a fighter — was one of the lucky ones who was dumped at KHS. He was very shy and shut down and at risk of not getting adopted, so some wonderful people had him transferred to San Francisco. SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT HIM. Jax is a champion at awkward sitting, much to the delight of his Instagram fans @jax.the.hound.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine's print edition with the headline: "True Tails".