ANIMAL TALES

Cheeto

The day my daughter called and told me she had heard about a great-sounding dog on the radio, I stopped what I was doing and went and adopted what I thought was a cute little Chihuahua-mix lap dog. I named him Cheeto because he was orange and snack-sized. He weighed 9 pounds. After a short time, it became apparent that he had a personality that just needed some encouragement to blossom. Now, instead of a shy and timid little thing that didn't like new places, he loves to travel by car, airplane, sailboat and golf cart. Compared to the dog I adopted, he is practically a "circus dog" and is always willing to try something new. What a find! He is the best little buddy anyone could ask for. We now refer to him as "Cheeto the Wonder Dog," a title we awarded to our first adopted dog, Todo.

Gina Kozek.

Johns Island

Sadie and Sebastian

Sadie and Sebastian are an integral part of our family. Sadie, our chocolate Labrador retriever, is the baby and is spoiled rotten. Sebastian, our black mutt pup, is the oldest and a serious, but gentle, soul. Both of our babies have very distinctive personalities and interests but are always ready for a good party. After my graduation from the Charleston School of Law, Sadie and Sebastian threw on their leis and joined the graduation celebration. Their mom had worked hard, and now it was time to PARTY!

Kimberly Wysong Gertner,

Goose Creek

Northie

I run the IPPL primate sanctuary in Summerville. Earlier this month, I got a call from a member who lives in Myrtle Beach. She is the grandmother of a 4-year-old boy who was born with a crippling degenerative disease that has kept him in a wheelchair all his life and who soon faces complex surgeries, which will hopefully allow him to walk for the very first time.

Jake's dream wish was to visit IPPL before his next medical ordeal. He has already endured many surgeries. So Grandma Nancy; Mom Michelle; and Jake, a lovely little curly headed boy who is very bright, visited IPPL. Of course, you can't handle our wild animals, you can just observe them from a distance.

When the group got out of their car, Northie, our big black Newfoundland, came out to greet them. North took one look at them and thought, "A CHILD." He absolutely adores children. He hurried up to Jake's wheelchair and gave him a lovely, smoochy welcoming kiss! We spent an hour visiting the animals, and North did not leave Jake's side for one second. He was always so gentle and never pushy. He is a big dog who looks like a bear and could have sent the wheelchair flying!

North helped give this sweet boy a day to remember as he bravely faces life's challenges. I was so proud of him!

Dr. Shirley McGreal,

International Primate Protection League,

Summerville

Maggie

About four years ago, one bright March morning, I had taken my 12-year-old Chihuahua, Sara, in the front yard. My neighbor was in his front yard and we got to talking. When I turned about to check on Sara, this white poodle was standing on my walkway. I called her and she came over to me. I called all my neighbors and put out signs and called the SPCA. Six days after she came, my little Sara went to the Rainbow Bridge. I believe God sent Maggie to me because he was ready for my Sara.

She is so sweet and my best buddy now.

Carole Salisbury,

Summerville

Louie

When the phone rings, Louie, my 8-pound Yorkshire Terrier, runs through the house looking for me, barking a different bark than usual to tell me the phone is ringing, and does not stop barking until I answer the phone. He also tries to open the refrigerator with his paw when he wants to eat. Fortunately he has not been able to open it yet.

He makes me laugh every day.

Ila Housholder.

North Charleston

Got a pet? Tell us about it. We want to tell your stories and run your pictures of Rover, Boots and even Ziggy on our Pets Plus page. If it's furry, feathered or slithery, and you love it, tell us why in 100 words or less. If it's a hero, tell us. If it's a 'character,' share the antics. Send pictures (in JPG format via e-mail) or a hard copy that you don't need returned by snail mail). We'll publish the most interesting, the cutest and the weirdest, but please no poetry and no letters from your dog or cat! Submit by e-mail to pets@postandcourier.com or mail to Pets Plus, The Post and Courier, 134 Columbus St., Charleston, SC 29403-4800. Always include your name, address and a daytime phone number. Compiled by Brenda Rindge.