Get to Know Central Florida’s Cutest Pets for 2021

You voted for this year’s most adorable pets. Now, it’s time to get to know the winners. Photos by Joe Brooks Photography.

1st Place: Buddy

Pet Parents: Adam and Pamela Powell
Community: Williamsburg
What are some of Buddy’s favorite things? Buddy’s favorite activity by far is swimming in the lake and jumping off the dock at his grandma’s house. He loves to chase anything that moves, especially tennis balls and chew toys. He also enjoys playing with his 14-month-old baby sister, Kaisley!
How did you and Buddy meet? Back in 2015, I (Adam) decided it was time to get a dog, so I began looking online. Since I was living on a lake at the time, I wanted a dog that enjoyed the water. Surprisingly, a lot of the dogs on the kennel websites didn’t have much of a description; however, Buddy was one of the few exceptions. He was described as a 2-year-old pit mix who loved the water and would do great at a home with a pool or lake. I took this as a promising sign that Buddy might be the right dog for me. I went to meet him at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s Sanford location and found out that this was his second time at the kennel after being returned by previous owners due to being “overly hyperactive.” I could tell that Buddy hadn’t been properly trained, as he didn’t respond to commands and seemed to have very little experience with fetching a tennis ball. I decided that he probably just needed some proper training and a good owner, and I took him home! He improved immediately, learning to sit, stay, lay down and speak within a few weeks. His hyperactivity was never really an issue. I think he just needed regular exercise and play that he wasn’t getting before.
What is your favorite story with Buddy? I think his adoptive history – being returned to the animal shelter by two separate owners before being adopted by me – is probably his most triumphant story. I think a lot of new pet owners underestimate the time and effort that is required with dog ownership, especially with a powerful and energetic breed like Buddy’s. He has truly become a member of our family and we could not see ourselves without him in our lives.

2nd Place – Prince

Pet Parent: Amy Bachmeier
Community: Reunion
What are some of Prince’s favorite things? Prince absolutely loves a good spa day. He jumps in the tub and can’t wait to get pampered. He loves new collars. He actually prances around because he knows he looks good! He also loves a good nap with a soft squeaky toy.
How did you and Prince meet? We met in Ohio in Amish country, and I drove him all the way back to Florida. Eighteen hours in the car with a new puppy was a bonding and traumatic experience for both of us.
What is your favorite story with Prince? On a trip to Vail, Colorada, Prince was a little bit of a celebrity, starting with the hotel staff loving on him all week to the valet guys sneaking him extra dog cookies. He made himself at home, and they let him run the place. On one of our morning walks around the village, we stumbled upon a press conference held by the mayor. Once he saw Prince, he actually wanted him to come over and say hello. He begged him to move to Vail and run for public office…office of the TOP DOG.

3rd Place – Sandy

Pet Parents: Cyndi and Greg Hulin
Community: Winter Garden
What are some of Sandy’s favorite things? She has a stuffed dog today that she carries around with her. It’s old, worn and missing both eyes. I’ve patched it and refilled it several times. We’ve tried to replace it, but she only wants this toy. She also loves sitting under our trees for hours watching the squirrels.
How did you and Sandy meet? She was a stray puppy on the streets of Tijuana, Mexico when a friend rescued her. We adopted her when she was about a year old. She is the most affectionate and devoted dog we’ve had. She loves to cuddle and thinks that every pillow in the house is meant for her.
What is your favorite story with Sandy? Sandy loves to sniff out critters in our yard. She met her match one night, though, when she cornered a skunk. The skunk sprayed her directly in her face; she was covered in oil. We tried all of the remedies for cleaning her – baking soda, pet products, tomato juice, etc. – but no matter what we tried, the scent lasted for weeks. The first few days, she sulked around the house and wouldn’t go back out in the yard. The house also was pungent for weeks.

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Written by Lyndsay Fogarty

Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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