Loving Our Furry Friends

Venice Locals Share Heartwarming Tales About The Special Pups And Bunnies In Their Lives

Romeo/Greg Haman/Agape Flights

Greg Haman is the Director of Flight Operations at Agape Flights, a Venice-based Christian nonprofit that flies supplies to missionaries working in the Caribbean. A few years ago, he and his wife Sierra adopted their dog, Romeo, a pit bull mix. The family includes sons Alexander, 3, and Nicolas, 1.

“Alexander was a newborn when we got Romeo,” Greg says. “We have always had dogs and the previous year we had lost two dogs, one to an accident and one to old age. We took a year off and then the house felt quiet. A friend in Ft. Lauderdale found a dog hanging out at a bus stop, no collar, no identification, super friendly, just wanting to interact with people. He took him in and nobody responded to lost dog notices. My buddy knew we were looking for a rescue and he called me. When we flew over there, it was love at first sight. We named him Romeo because he’s a total lover. Our boys try to ride him like a horse and put him through the ringer and he’s a total sweetheart.”

Romeo often accompanies Greg to Agape's hangar, where he just loves 'helping out'!

100 Airport Ave. E., Venice. 941.488.0990.

Patti / Karen & Chuck Daunch

Chuck and Karen Daunch are recent arrivals from Atlanta. Their dog, Patti, is on our cover this month.

“We got Patti about a year and a half ago from a breeder,” Chuck says. “She’s a Yorkie, Maltese, Lhasa, Poodle mix. We named her for my sister who died of cancer. She’s a great dog, very loving. Every morning she comes in our bed and lays there between us, then kisses us to wake us up. We’re getting her sister from her mother and father’s last litter. That’s going to be really special. We take Patti everywhere, on bike rides and walking downtown. Patti loves people and has never met a stranger.”  

PULL QUOTE: "Patti’s a great dog, very loving. Every morning she comes in our bed and lays there between us, then kisses us to wake us up."

Karli, Cassie & Brindle / Lori Bailey/The Contour Day Spa 

Lori Bailey, owner of The Contour Day Spa, has three dogs. 

“The bigger of the three is Brindle, a rescue Lhasa mix,” Lori says. “She’s eleven years old. Cassie is ten, but she was just a two-pound Shih Tzu-Pekingese puppy when I started fostering her. The rescue called her Hopalong Cassidy because her leg had been broken in five places, but she was never treated for her injury, so the breaks calcified. I was supposed to take care of her until she was strong enough for the rescue to amputate her leg and put her up for adoption. Instead, I took her to our vet who determined she wasn’t in pain and was managing fine, so I kept her and she kept her leg. Our third dog, Karli, is a Havashire—a Havanese and Yorkie mix—she’s four.” 

“As our four children grew and left for college, my husband, Dave, and I replaced them with dogs,” Lori laughs and says. “Dave was commuting at the time between Chicago and Texas. Right after we got Cassie in 2013, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. If I was ever feeling sorry for myself or crying, that little dog helped me get through. I’ve now been cancer free for nine years. You can cry on a dog’s shoulder and tell them anything you want and they don’t tell anybody or judge you. Now the dogs are our ‘spa mascots.’ They go to work with me on days when we’re not as busy – but some of our regular clients actually ask for the dogs to be here when they come.” 

405 Commercial Court, Suite A, Venice. 941.777.4448. 

PULL QUOTE: “As our four children grew and left for college, my husband and I replaced them with dogs.” 

Charlie/Karla Blake/Medicare Specialist

Karla Blake has an eight-year-old female purebred yellow Labrador Retriever named Charlie.

“Charlie was the pick of the litter,” Karla explains. “She was named by my youngest son, who was 10 years old when we got her. She’s an extraordinary dog. She’s so sweet, friendly and well-trained, and happy to show off her tricks! She’s an all-American family dog. My oldest daughter loved Charlie so much that she ended up getting a puppy from the same breeder the years later, from the same parents. Her dog, Bella, is awesome, too.” 

Charlie has helped Karla through some tough times.

“Charlie was the first dog I got on my own,” Karla says. “She became a therapy dog to me, helping me through big life adjustments. She’s a large Lab, from a champion line. People stop me because she is so beautiful. She’s a swimmer—this breed are water dogs. She loves Dog Beach and enjoys socializing with other dogs and people, especially children. If she has access to the pool, that’s permission to her and she will dive right in.” 


Henry/Shawn Lutz/Davis & Beyer

Shawn Lutz is a Dental Hygienist at Davis & Beyer. Her pet is a rabbit named Henry.

“His name is Henry, but we’re not sure yet if he’s a boy or a girl,” Shawn explains. “You can’t tell their sex until they’re six months old, so we have a month to go. If he winds up being a girl, she’ll be Henrietta and we’ll end up calling her Henry anyway.”

Shawn’s ten-year-old grandson, Skyler, was concerned that Shawn needed a companion and suggested she get a dog. But Shawn isn’t home often enough for the needs of a dog. She has a terrible cat allergy, so that ruled out cats.

“I did a little research on bunnies,” Shawn says. “They like to sleep during the day, are litter trainable, and I can easily carry him with me when I travel. I fell in love with Henry from the moment I saw him at the pet store. Whenever I get home from work, I just hold and pet him for thirty minutes. I am just in love with him. I just keep telling Skyler, ‘Thank you!’”  

1218 E. Venice Ave, Venice. 941.488.1075.   

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