Is your dog or puppy a pampered pooch, or does he hold a “part-time” job? We reached out to some dog owners and asked them to share stories about the role their pets play in their lives. While each response was unique, all agreed that their lives were much enriched by having one or more canine companions.

Meet Dog + Human

Keith and Kim Gaddie, who serve as the senior fellows (faculty-in-residence) of Headington College at the University of Oklahoma, have their hands full with four full-blooded English bulldogs, whom Kim describes as “a crazy, lovable crew, each, just like kids, with their own unique personality.”

Do you have a funny, poignant or interesting story involving your pets?

They have all stolen our hearts, but now have also stolen the hearts of all of the students at Headington College at OU and have a permanent, daily presence in the building. They are there to just be loved on—puppy therapy—and provide some much-needed stress relief during times like midterms and finals week. I cannot tell you how many times I hear students ask, “are the puppies around, because I need some puppy time” or that “seeing them is the best part of my day”.

The most amazing thing about Georgia (the mother) is that she is deaf. She was born deaf, and we knew when we got her that she was. We have taught her sign language to help communicate with her. She has signs based on American Sign Language for 1) taking a walk, 2) car ride, 3) eat, and one of her favorites 4) ping pong—because she loves to chase ping pong balls.

How are your lives enriched by your dogs?

We get a lot of love from them and true enjoyment. With four of them around, there is certainly never a dull moment. I guess if you have never been around bulldogs or owned one, it is hard to describe why this breed is so “infectious”. There is just something irresistible about these dogs.

Their favorite destination or treat?

They obviously love being on campus and have become have an integral part of Headington, just as they are a big part of our lives. They love their dog treats but are very partial to the occasional “puppichino” from Starbucks and vanilla ice cream.

 Meet Dog + Human

James and Courtney Foster adopted Baxter and Tinkerbelle separately. In both instances they began by fostering them with a rescue, but ultimately decided they needed to become “Forever Fosters.”

Do you have a funny, poignant or interesting story to share?

James is Tinkerbelle’s favorite. She loves him so much that whenever he walks away from her, she barks as she chases after him. At 5 pounds, she’s definitely the smallest big dog we’ve ever met. Baxter is the most beta dog. We’ve fostered at least 10 additional dogs since he’s joined our family, and he’s always gently welcomed them into our home. He’s so chill that I occasionally sneak him to work. It usually takes a few hours for my boss and co-workers to realize he’s even in the same room with them!

How are your lives enriched by your pets?

We have our babies because they give us innocent, selfless and unconditional love. Dogs trust you with their entire lives, and we enjoy showing them how thankful we are for their life shared. Baxter and Tinkerbelle are perfectly happy just being with us—even when we’re doing nothing at all.

Their favorite destination or food?

Nothing gets their attention faster than the sound of someone unwrapping a slice of cheese. You have that, and they’ll be your best friends forever … or until someone else is eating some cheese.

 Meet Dog + Human

Sharon Bourbeau, who has diabetes, enjoys a special bond with her 5-year-old Maltese, whose full registered name is CH Leinani’s Fly Me To The Moon “Pilot.” Like Pilot’s dad, Sharon’s late champion boy, “Moonshine,” CH Ta-Jon’s How High The Moon, Pilot is a medical assistance dog.

Do you have a funny, poignant or interesting story to share?

My assistance dogs were not trained to do their job, although they are TRAINED. They were born with the ability, and with the cooperation of my physician, both are on record as medical assistance dogs. 

Pilot is a “flirty” boy who loves absolutely everyone. He started out as a show dog and quickly earned his championship, earning three majors, and I think part of that is due to his temperament. He loves to go with me places, and when I noticed that he had his father’s “sense” of health concerns–my mother has diverticulitis, and he would always “alert” her when she was about to have a flare up of her disease–he knew before SHE knew. I noticed that Pilot had that same ability, but further, I started noticing he was alerting me when my blood sugar was irregular. Pilot is now my medical assistance dog and he travels with me and even accompanies me to work on the days that I feel unstable. Pilot is amazing. I am pretty sure he has saved my life a time or two. On Saturdays, in particular, I get busy grooming my show dogs, and I often “forget” to eat. Pilot reminds me.

His favorite destination?

I love bringing him everywhere with me. He’s a very well-behaved perfect gentleman and, honestly, people do not even know he’s here unless I tell them, and then if they talk to him, he jumps into their arms. He’s quite the charmer, and people threaten to steal his little 4-pound butt quite often! He’s little, but he’s mighty!

Meet Dog + Human

Brandi Coyner adopted her black Lab from Heartland Lab Rescue in March 2008, and her chocolate Lab, Riley, from the same rescue group in September 2007. Foster failure!

Do you have a funny, poignant or interesting story to share involving your pets?

Riley and Jet grew up to be wonderful sport dogs. They have dozens of titles in five sports, and we’ve traveled to 15 states for adventures! I’ve met so many people who I never would’ve crossed paths, had it not been for two active Labradors in need of exercise and adventure! Additionally, they have turned out useful for my career as a mammal biologist. Riley has been trained to find feces of rare rodents to assist in locating them for studies, and Jet is quite adept at locating gophers and assisted with student research projects during field mammalogy.

How is your life enriched by your dogs?

I definitely gain activity and adventure from Riley and Jet. They are always willing to go and seem to live life by the motto “All things with enthusiasm.” We have spent lots of time visiting lakes around the country, have hiked everywhere from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the top of Black Mesa, and have done too many road trips to count!

Their favorite destination?

We just like to “go on adventures.” This could be as simple as a trip to the bank or a walk around the neighborhood or more involved like a weekend trip to a state park or 10 days teaching college students about field biology (where the photo was taken).

Meet Dog + Human

Gina Petrucelli and Brandon Tyler adopted Enzo, a blue Doberman mix, when he was 8 to 9 weeks old from a local rescue group in Oklahoma, OK Save A Dog, in November 2012.

Do you have a funny, poignant or interesting story to share?

My husband grew up with dobies, so we decided to rescue. I told him since he picked the breed, I chose the gender and originally wanted a girl … but when we arrived at the adoption event, there was one boy and one girl. After playing with both puppies, I said, “I still want the girl,” and then Enzo jumped in my lap right away and started kissing me, so how could I say no? You could say he adopted us.

Enzo is a character; he’s always loved playing soccer. He usually plays goalie or can bounce it off his nose in an endless game of catch. He can also catch Frisbees, give high-fives and bark back when we say “Boomer,” which is definitely his best trick!

How are your lives enriched by your pet?

I work from home, so Enzo provides companionship and a great reminder to get up during the day and take a walk or go to the dog park and play. He can even close my laptop by pushing it with his nose so he never lets me forget! It’s hard to explain how much joy an animal can bring. He’s always happy to see us, whether we are gone for an hour or days, he loves to cuddle on the couch while we watch movies and he wakes me up every morning with a kiss and begging for ear scratches. He’s a great reminder to smile about the little things.

His favorite treat?

A nickname growing up of mine was Goober and I call Enzo a goober, too, because he can be so goofy. We actually found peanut butter-flavored peanut-shaped treats called Goobers, and they are a favorite. He also loves to have the last lick of the ice cream cone when we want to spoil him!