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Pets Smarts

Pets Smarts

Whether Instagram or store window famous, these furry four-legged friends are beloved by their owners and fans.

by Sue Strachan

ANDOUILLE, BETTER KNOWN by his Instagram name, @douie_the_doxie, was about to get some competition. It wasn’t in the Deutsches Haus Dachshund race or the Wiener Dog Race at the New Orleans Fair Grounds, both of which he was the champion.

For this almost 3-year-old dog, it was closer to home. In fact, it was his home – the one he lived in with his owners, Camille and Jonathan DeTrinis. On Dec. 31, 2019, their son William entered Douie’s world, but instead of being a competitor, the dog became a devoted companion.

The strong ties between Douie and his family are much like those the other pet owners and pets profiled: New Orleans Saints player Alex Anzalone and wife, Lindsey Anzalone; Nola Flora owner Ashley Watkins- Bateman; attorney Thomas Corrington; and New Orleans fireman Neil Navarro and artist Becky Fos Navarro.

Pets enrich these owners’ and our lives in so many ways. A new twist in today’s world is that pets can also be social media stars, a.k.a. “pet influencers.” On Instagram, for example, @JiffPom, a Pomeranian, has 10 million followers and @realgrumpycat, has close to 3 million followers. New Orleans has it own cadre, with a few mentioned here.

Thomas Corrington with pups Kai and Chloe. (photo: Trent Spann)

Noses for the Law

Let’s face it, law offices are intimidating and formal. But in the office of attorney Thomas Corrington, there is a good possibility that you will step on a dog toy or over and around a sleeping dog, most likely Kai, Thomas’ English Crescent Golden Retriever.

Chloe, his Cavachon (a half Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, half Bichon Frise), uses her bed for naps, but don’t be surprised if you find her sitting in Thomas’ lap, looking for a chin rub.

“I got Chloe when I got married,” says Thomas, talking about his wife, Misty.

Even before he became one of Chloe’s favorite people, Thomas already had a love of dogs, having grown up with them.

When Thomas opened his office on Prytania Street, he decided to bring his dogs to the office.

“Why leave the dogs in kennels at home,” asks Thomas. “Bring them to the office where they are more active, see people.

“And they provide a bit of security if someone wonders in.”

Thomas realizes that not everyone likes dogs, so he installed a door at the office entryway, so the dogs can be in a separate area while he meets with clients.

In addition to Thomas’ lap and her dog bed, Chloe is obsessed with lizards, according to Thomas, playing, then usually accidentally killing them. Kai, Thomas admits, does not fetch. “He will get the toy, but never bring it back,” he says.

It’s all in a day’s work for Kai and Chloe.

Douie and William. (photo courtesy: DeTrinis family)

Champion of the Races and Social Media

Andouille, “Douie the Doxie,” arrived Christmas day as a gift from Jonathan DeTrinis, an attorney at DeT Law Firm, to his wife, Camille, a nurse practitioner at Children Hospital’s CARE Center.

Jonathan’s dog Thriller, a border collie mix he got while attending LSU, was getting older and he thought getting a younger dog would help keep Thriller happy. But, Camille said no more dogs.

Jonathan had a plan, though. “I knew I could get her a wiener dog,” he says, because she grew up with dachshunds.

“I fell in love immediately,” says Camille, about the tiny Christmas puppy, an Isabella longhair dachshund.

In fact, Douie was so cute, that it wasn’t too long after that the “douie_the_doxie” Instagram account was born.

“It’s a fun thing to do together,” says Jonathan.

Thriller, who makes early appearances in the account, did not like Douie at first, barking and snapping at him.

“He was an old grump,” says Jonathan.

But Douie, according to Jonathan, eventually charmed Thriller and they started sleeping and playing together.

Thriller passed away about 18 months later, and Douie became the focus of the DeTrinis family, and the Instagram account, which as of early September is at 11,900 followers and climbing.

Douie’s account is a Carnival-is-every-day type of an account, with costume changes the norm. Camille makes some of them, but she has a secret weapon: vintage costumes made by her mom that were worn by her childhood dachshund.

There are an estimated five drawers full of costumes. “We have costumes for every season or event, like a red dress for the Red Dress Run,” says Jonathan.

He also thinks that Douie has more clothes than William.

When William was born, Douie was interested but didn’t know what to think of his new brother at first. It took about three months for William to even notice him, even though “Douie likes to lick his face,” says Jonathan. They are now starting to become buddies, he adds.

William is now part of Douie’s Instagram, with Jonathan or Camille taking the photos, documenting their “growing up” together, much like similar photos and videos on The Dodo, a popular animal and pet Instagram account (@thedodo).

How do they get Douie to pose? “Douie knows it’s picture time,” he says, “And expects a treat.”

As a champion should.

Ashley Watkins-Bateman with Tee Tee. (photo: Trent Spann)

Is That a Cat in Your Window?

Bar and restaurants patrons strolling past Nola Flora on Magazine Street are often met with a feline green-eyed stare. It’s not a statue.

Behind the windows, nestled amongst gift and home items and flowers is real live cat, Tee Tee Nola Ninja, age unknown.

Six years go, Nola Flora owner Ashley Watkins- Bateman was getting gas at the Brother’s Food Mart/Gas Station by Oakwood Center. She saw a cat at the station door meowing and crying, trying to get inside. Ashley went in to ask what was going to happen to the cat, and they said they were going to call animal control the next day. The cat’s ear was clipped, so they knew she had been neutered.

Ashley, who has a soft spot for animals—she already had five cats and four dogs—said “I’ll take her.”

Because there were five cats at home, Ashley brought the cat, Tee Tee, to the store, where she disappeared upstairs.

Ashley left out food and water, which she knew Tee Tee was sampling, but no cat made an appearance. Worried about not seeing her about a month, Ashley called her vet, Dr. Brian Hill at Maple Street Small Animal Clinic, for advice.

Tee Tee must have know something was up, because she made her debut on the staircase landing, where she went to sleep. Soon after Tee Tee came all the way downstairs and “took over the joint” says Ashley.

At first Ashley and her staff were afraid that she would go outside on busy Magazine Street, but she has stayed in the store. About once a year, Ashley says, Tee Tee wanders out, but is so scared she hides underneath the house the business is in.

Ashley admits that Tee Tee is a natural for a shop cat: super friendly (though she does tend to stay away from small children, as most cats do), a big licker and she somehow manages to weave her way in and out of the pretty, but breakable, ceramic or glass gift and home items in the store. Ashley said Tee Tee has rarely broken anything, but she has set off the alarm system sensors a few times.

That said, Tee Tee is so popular, “Friends have threatened to create a Facebook page for her,” says Ashley. (Shh. We won’t tell them about Instagram!)

Rescuing pets is a natural for Ashley. She grew up at a nursery where there were cats and kittens around all the time. At the home in Belle Chasse she shares with husband Robert and daughters Amelia and Thi, they are the parents to rescue dogs Rogue (LA/SPCA), Busstop (Dag’s House) and Ladybug (ARNO), all pit bull mixes, and Tallulah, a Catahoula cur (ARNO) and cats Apache, Dorito, Bunny Bread, Selania Perrison, and Boudreaux Boudreaux-Ghali, and feral cat, Missy Hissy. Her family also feed a feral cat colony, “Cats just show up at our house,” said Ashley, who also notes that she found homes for two kittens.

But at Nola Flora, Tee Tee is the star of the show.

Neil Navarro with Bosco. (photo courtesy: Neil Navarro)

Making the Rounds

If you see two French bulldogs or a Rottweiler at Fire Station 17 in Metairie, then at Gallery B. Fos on Magazine Street in New Orleans, you aren’t seeing double – they are the same dogs.

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For fireman Neil Navarro and artist Becky Fos Navarro, Bosco, Murph and Fran are their constant companions.

When the duo met, Neil did not have any pets, while Becky had her dog Suki,
a boxer. When Suki passed away due to a rare heart condtion, there was a definite void.

In came Bosco, a mix of German and American Rottweilers, then the French bulldogs, Murph, who has a more lilac coat, followed by Fran, who has a blue merle coat.

Despite the breed and size difference, the dogs get along, with Fran, the diminutive one of the three, ruling the roosts of home, studio and firehouse.

At home, the goal is to “keep them off the couch,” says Neil.

They sometimes bring all three dogs to Becky’s studio, but when Becky is by herself, it is usually the French bulldogs, as it is hard to handle three dogs, one a protective Bosco, in the studio.

The dogs are also visitors to Jefferson Parish East Bank Consolidated Fire Station 17 in Metairie. Bosco always strikes a pose as guest star in Murph’s and Fran’s Instagram account, @firehouse_frenchies.

“Becky is on Instagram for business,” says Neil, “so she said, ‘Let’s do something with the dogs.’”

When not becoming up-and-coming pet influencers, Murph and Fran like walks and bike rides – often in a knapsack with heads popping out. All three dogs, surprisingly like to swim.

“I think Bosco was really a Lab,” says Neil. “He loves to run and swim in the lake.”

The Frenchies get into the action, too, wearing life jackets, of course.

At home, there is a kiddie pool, a particular favorite of Fran, who after a walk will get in, circle around, then lay down, “looking like a diva,” says Neil.

Becky thinks their diva might be pregnant (not by Murph, Neil says), and is hopeful for puppies.

“She just wants to have puppies,” says Neil.

Who knows, @firehouse_frenchies may soon have new co-stars.

Alex Anzalone with an ARNO pup. (photo courtesy: Alex Anzalone)

A Saint to the Rescue

New Orleans Saints linebacker Alex Anzalone is a Saint on the field, and a Saint to four-legged friends off.

In his rookie year, 2017, he connected with Athletes for Hope, an organization that matches athletes with community needs and charitable causes. They paired him with Animal Rescue of New Orleans (ARNO) for which he has done a number of things, including posing with dogs to get them adopted, as well as bring awareness to the positives of pet adoption.

“There are tons of dogs and cats out there that are fully capable of being a perfect family pet,” says Alex.

The support for adopting shelter animals extends to his wife, Lindsey Cooper Anzalone, who Alex credits as the one who inspired him to adopt rescue dog Sammy, who they think is a boxer Labrador mix.

He adopted Sammy from a shelter in Clearwater, Florida, the area where Lindsey is from. Her family, Alex says, had always adopted shelter dogs, so that is from whom he learned about the adoption process.

And yes, Sammy has an Instagram account, @Sammytherescuedog, that features him with Lindsey and Alex.

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