January 28, 2023

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See My Shiny New Pets?

Pet Lovers Problem 2021 | Bonita Springs Florida Weekly



Caspar, Daisy, Diesel, Gus, Hank, Jax, Olaf, Presley, Sumo, Tootsie and Zoey.

We said cheers to Bacardi, Rum Chata (Rummy) and Mojito. We liked Sugar, Mootzarella, Chilibeans and Biscuit.

There ended up pairs, threesomes, foursomes and additional: Wrigley and Duncan Banjo and Dolly Pea Dougie and Jack Moose and Bruno Sampson and Tatonka Rocket and Pooh Molly, Casey and Cody Majesty, Annie and Nugget Lulu, Charlie, Jimmy, Ralph and Maddie and Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Moe.

The vast greater part had been canines and cats, but we also acquired Frieda the tortoise, Penelope the mini pig, Lizario the leopard gecko, Guinea pigs that go by Giggles McDimples and Fluffy, a snake aptly referred to as Rocky BalBOA, a handsome horse named Flex, a pair of rabbits named Hopper and Snowflake, and a really bird referred to as Patty Cakes.

When the judges experienced their say in Florida Weekly’s 2021 Pet Enthusiasts image contest, having said that, it was the canine who had their working day.

Our editors scoured hundreds of entries from Naples to North Port and selected pups for all 3 of this year’s favorites. Many thanks to all who despatched pics of their animal companions, and congratulations to Tammy Ilmberger of North Port, Jessica Purdy of Fort Myers and Michele Miller Smith of Bonita Springs for their top rated canines.

Above: Rick and Tammy Ilmberger at home in North Port with Emilia, JaCee and MacLyn. COURTESY PHOTOS

Previously mentioned: Rick and Tammy Ilmberger at residence in North Port with Emilia, JaCee and MacLyn. COURTESY Shots

Meet up with the women

JaCee, MacLyn and Emilia are the fifth, sixth and seventh pit bull mixes adopted by Tammy and Rick Ilmberger.

“We bought the initial just one in 2001 from the Animal Welfare League of Port Charlotte. She begun it all,” suggests Tammy.

The few has only adopted ladies. Though some of their prior adoptees have been older, all a few of the Ilmbergers’ present canine beauties came to them as quite youthful puppies.

JaCee and MacLyn joined the family seven decades ago, about a single thirty day period apart and at about the exact same age. “We think they were all around 4 months previous,” Tammy states.

JaCee came very first, getting been rescued by the Englewood Animal and Rescue Sanctuary from a eliminate shelter in Miami. “Our vet, who had a friend who volunteered at EARS, explained to us about this little little pup that had arrived,” Tammy says. 7 a long time afterwards, JaCee is living her greatest life. “We still remain in contact with the EARS volunteer who introduced her more than from Miami and who would have held her experienced we not desired her,” Tammy suggests.

Left: Jessica and Dirk Purdy on their wedding day with Lola the pug, Ellie the boxer mix and Maci the Great Dane. Lola and Maci have since crossed the rainbow bridge.

Still left: Jessica and Dirk Purdy on their marriage ceremony day with Lola the pug, Ellie the boxer blend and Maci the Fantastic Dane. Lola and Maci have given that crossed the rainbow bridge.

MacLyn was born at the Animal Welfare League in Port Charlotte, the place Tammy “saw her in the cage and realized instantaneously that she would be coming household with us.” She’s named in part for the late Macaroni (Mac for small), whose owner runs a pit bull rescue firm in Missouri.

“We have followed Mac’s Mission on social media for a long time,” Tammy claims. “They do outstanding, unbelievable points in the pit bull neighborhood.”

MacLyn was born with luxating patellas and has experienced surgery to spot steel plates and bolts in both of her again legs. “She gets all around, while,” Tammy states. “She operates and performs with the some others, but she is aware when she’s experienced plenty of.”

Garrison Smith with Lola on Valentine’s Day 2020, the day he gave the shepherd mix puppy to his mom.

Garrison Smith with Lola on Valentine’s Working day 2020, the day he gave the shepherd mix pet to his mother.

Emilia weighed in at just 6 pounds when Tammy identified her — or when she observed Tammy — at an adoption occasion at PetSmart in Port Charlotte five yrs in the past.

“We weren’t even going to glimpse at the adoptable pet dogs,” Tammy states. “We were being there to buy treats right after a journey to the vet.” But she read a demanding yelp and turned down an aisle to see a younger boy poking a feathery cat toy on a adhere into a crate. The very small puppy dog inside of was cowering.

“When I read the boy’s mother say she imagined they could choose the puppy dog home, I explained to the individual in cost of the adoption function that I wished to keep that dog. As soon as she was in my arms, I understood …”

Tammy did not wait to convey to the mom that her son wasn’t completely ready for the responsibility of a dog.

“Rick uncovered me keeping her a couple of minutes later on and just threw up his arms,” she claims. They agreed that yet another pit bull puppy had discovered a permanently dwelling.



DNA testing has showed that JaCee, MacLyn and Emilia are all dominant pit bull mixes but are not connected in any way. “They’re just sisters by heart,” Tammy states. “We call them our ladies.”

The successful photo of the ladies was taken in the Ilmbergers’ backyard, the place Rick has designed all types of issues for them to perform on and with. They even have their own 2-foot-deep swimming pool.

They also have their own Fb and Instagram pages (The Suncoast Pitties) with some 2,000 followers, Tammy suggests.

The Ilmbergers won $100 for their initial-location photograph and plan to donate the prize to EARS.

Two of a baker’s dozen

Freddie Mercury and Pinky are two of 13 rescue dogs that rule the environment of Jessica and Dirk Purdy. They all reside with the Purdys at Your Canines Arrive First, the pet dog boarding facility the couple owns and operates in close proximity to downtown Fort Myers.

Merc is a 2½-calendar year-outdated pug and Pinky a 9-yr-old Chihuahua who just transpires to have been born hairless. The two are alumni of Gulf Coast Humane Society, wherever Jessica has labored as the volunteer coordinator for approximately 7 a long time.



Quickly just after Lola, the family members pug of 14 decades, died in February 2019, Merc arrived to GCHS as an operator surrender. “It felt like Lola had despatched him,” Jessica claims. Pinky arrived at the shelter as a rescue from a backyard breeder predicament.

The couple’s other 11 puppies are also mainly adoptees from GCHS, whilst “some have just uncovered us a single way or an additional,” Jessica claims. At 6 lbs, Pinky is the smallest between them two Fantastic Danes at 120-as well as lbs . every are the largest. “And we have everything in involving,” she provides. “Luckily, they all get alongside great” — with each and every other and with the pet dogs who appear to the Purdys for boarding.

Merc lately became licensed as a remedy pet and will before long start viewing senior living centers and hospitals with Jessica. “He would make mates with anyone,” she says.



Pinky “isn’t intrigued in strangers,” Jessica claims. “She just desires to be the princess that she is.” Does she know any tricks? “Just how to climb a fence and then wait for me to come and get her.”

When their successful image was taken, Merc and Pinky had been camping with the Purdys in their classic Shasta vacation trailer at Koreshan Point out Park.

For their 2nd-put prize the Purdys chose a $50 present certification to chewy.com. “We get 4 or 5 packing containers from Chewy each and every three months,” Jessica suggests.

Lovely Lola

An affectionate and energetic 18-thirty day period-outdated shepherd combine, Lola was 10 months previous when Michele Smith been given her as a Valentine’s Working day existing from her son.

“She’s a great, loving companion for our household,” which also involves two cats and a further pet dog, Michele claims. “She’s normally pleased.”

Favourite activities consist of actively playing fetch, swimming and boating. But Lola also loves accompanying Michele on the task for the family’s Quest Termite & Pest Providers business. “She enjoys the vehicle,” Michele claims. Generally, Lola loves just about all the things, she adds. “Her enthusiasm and electrical power are unlimited.” Michele selected a $50 Amazon reward card for her prize. ¦