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Kids and Dogs

Seen Through the Lens of Avery Gomberg

Graziana and Athena

Graziana and Athena are an unusual case of dog and human buddies. They’re both two years old, and in fact, Athena, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, was born on March 13th, only one day before Graziana. The family got Athena when she and Graziana were both four months old. The two have gotten the special opportunity to grow up by each other’s sides, and it’s made them incredibly close!

Graziana and Athena seem to believe that they are each other’s sisters regardless of their difference in species. Athena is almost always near Graziana, and will let the little girl sit on top of her or stand on her back to steal things from the refrigerator. Athena will often even roll onto her side to make it easier for Graziana to climb all over her! She loves following Graziana around trying to eat snacks out of her bowl, and waits beneath her chair to gobble up dropped food, acting as the household vacuum cleaner for spills and crumbs. Out of the family’s three dogs, including a Labrador Retriever and a Leonberger, Athena is by far the closest to Graziana, and given their special bond, it’s no wonder!

Peyton and Molly

Peyton, age 12, and her two siblings have been best friends with the family dog, Molly, age 3, since they got her during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a Covid pup, Molly was hard for the family to come by. With quarantined households everywhere looking to add a furry friend to the mix, they had to drive to Brooklyn and wait in a long line in the early hours of the morning. Once they finally reached the front of the line, the first dog that ran up to say hello was a ten-week old Shih Tzuh puppy. They took her home and named her Molly, where she quickly became Peyton’s fourth sibling.

Although Molly can be a bit of a scaredy cat and is frightened of dogs who are bigger than her, she loves playing with the family’s three children, wrestling for toys and enjoying a nice belly rub. Peyton and Molly especially love chasing each other around in the yard and playing rough before enjoying calmer moments snuggling together.

Charlotte and Daisy

Daisy, a 10-year-old Golden Retriever, has been a part of 13-year-old Charlotte’s family since she was 12 weeks old. She’s now 10, and is the picture-perfect example of a people-loving Golden Retriever. Daisy is everyone’s best friend, but especially Charlotte’s! She loves playing tug with a big rope toy, taking walks with Charlotte, getting belly rubs, and of course, retrieving her toys that Charlotte throws for her. She gets special treats from Charlotte at sandwich time, when she’ll wait by the counter to be fed pieces of turkey or, if she's very lucky, get the privilege of licking the peanut butter off of the butter knife. Charlotte loves Daisy just as much as Daisy loves her, and enjoys spoiling her, making sure that her bowl of water is always extra fresh, and that it has ice cubes in it no matter the weather.

Out of the family’s four children, Charlotte has a special connection with Daisy. She loves brushing the dog and changing out her bandanas, picking new ones from a collection that includes different colors and patterns for all of the holidays and seasons. Daisy loves wearing her bandanas, too, and likes to go around showing off how pretty she looks every time she gets a new one. As a Golden Retriever, Daisy is a dog that adores people, but she and Charlotte share a particularly special bond.

Lili and Chico

Lili, age 9, is the youngest of her family. With a 19-year-old brother and a 16-year-old sister, she doesn’t have many contemporaries in the family, except for Chico, the Plott Hound mix. Chico will be five years old in September, and the family has had him since he was a puppy. When he and Lili were both younger, he was very protective of her, but has eased off as she’s gotten older. Since the early days of their friendship, Chico has been sweet and gentle with her, and was always standing guard near her, just to make sure she was safe. Chico and Lili love running around in the yard together, and he likes to tag along with her while she rides her bike. He often comes along for the ride to drop Lili off at school or one of her activities, and “barks like he’s being tortured” when she leaves the car, according to Lili’s mom, Ana Maria. 

The family got Chico from Real Dog Rescue, and his case is an interesting one. Before Chico, the family hadn’t had a dog since 2013, but following a string of unfortunate events in 2019, including some difficult injuries, they were reminded not to take things in life for granted, and wanted to ensure that Lili got the experience of growing up with a dog. Chico came from Alabama, where he had been in a car accident as a puppy. The accident left him healing a difficult compound fracture in his leg that was nearly life-threatening. Worried about the demands of a dog with high medical needs, the family agreed to foster Chico as a trial run. Within twenty-four hours, they had decided to adopt him! Chico was sweet and gentle from the very first day, and loves people, especially his family and his best friend Lili.

Peter, Michael, and Goose 

No, that’s not a cloud– it’s Peter, age 9, and Michael, age 12, with their dog Goose. Often called Goosey, this Samoyed is still just a puppy, turning a year old this fall, and is described as “aggressively friendly” by the boys’ mother, Christine. Goose was a surprise for Michael and Peter, who had been begging for a Samoyed for ages before the family finally brought him home. Christine confessed that she was worried Michael and Peter would lose interest in Goose after a while once the novelty wore off, but the boys are still enamored with their puppy. They love spending time with him and readily take on the many responsibilities that come with a dog. “You’d think he was still brand-new,” Christine said.

Goose is loving and sweet, but still has a tough side that he uses to protect the house from strangers, switching from his “baby bark” to his “tough bark” when he needs to lay down the law. He’s extremely food motivated, and Michael and Peter have lots of fun teaching him tricks like “roll over,” “shake,” and “high five.” Goose is a fast learner and can pick up new tricks in as short an amount of time as a single sitting, so the family knows that when he isn’t getting something, it’s because he doesn’t want to, not because he can’t! He loves people and likes doing silly things to get attention, like running around the house with a stolen roll of paper towels or climbing onto one of the boys’ beds with their toys in his mouth to get someone to play with him. When he’s not making adorable mischief, Goose likes to lay on the floor with Peter and Michael to cuddle while they read, watch TV, or play games. Goose is still a young puppy and has his crazy puppy moments, but it’s clear that one thing he won’t grow out of as he gets older is his sweet nature and his love for his two human brothers!

Victoria and Jax

Jax is a 6-year-old Yorkshire terrier, shown here with Victoria, age 16. He’s been a part of Victoria’s family since he was twelve weeks old, and with her and her sister, he’s very much the brother of the family. Toni, Victoria’s mother, described Jax as “the grounds protector,” because he is very dedicated to looking after the house and the family, especially the girls. Jax loves looking out the window and growling at birds and deer. Although he’s a fierce little dog, he has a soft side, too, one that he shows with Victoria in particular.

Victoria was the family member who requested a puppy, and she and Jax hit it off right away. They love playing ball together and snuggling, since Jax is very much a lapdog. He also likes to sit under the bench while Victoria plays the piano, something she’s done since second grade. They’ve been together for highs and lows in both of each other’s lives, and are sure to get even closer as the years go by!

Avery Gomberg

Avery Gomberg, a 13-year-old rising eighth grader at Eisenhower Middle School, has had a passion for nature and photography since she was young. She naturally gravitated towards the camera early on, capturing images of flowers, trees, dogs, birds, and anything beautiful in nature that she could find. Her hobby for photography lent itself well to capturing the kids and dogs of Northwest Bergen!

Besides taking pictures, Avery plays tennis and lacrosse, enjoys spending time with her “dog cousins,” an Old English Sheepdog and a Shih Tzuh, and participates in the Animal Welfare Club and the Talented Art Program at Eisenhower. While she isn’t yet sure what she wants to pursue as a career, she loves photography and wants to continue with it as long as she can. Avery is very grateful to Northwest Bergen Lifestyle for this special opportunity!

As a Golden Retriever, Daisy is a dog that adores people, but she and Charlotte share a particularly special bond.

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