For 75 years, SPCA Tampa Bay has worked to bring joy to both people and pets. In celebration, some of the community’s most influential and well-known citizens have come together to share their joy. We call it spreading the humanimality, and we invite you to do the same.
Share your joy.
The Heheman’s were looking for a sibling to keep their German Shepherd, Shadoe, company and when they came across 8-week old Nugget, they immediately fell in love. A dynamic duo, Nugget and Shadoe loved playing, going for walks, and even participating in the SPCA Tampa Bay Pet Walk. Nugget learned a lot from Shadoe, and after Shadoe’s passing, Nugget helped Teresa’s family carry on through hard times. Like Shadoe, who was adopted from SPCA, Nugget loves to raise awareness for SPCA and help other pets. When Nugget isn’t making the community a better place for other pets, carrying in the groceries or bringing in the paper, she can be found in the backyard with Teresa’s Dad, getting combed and watching the wildlife.
Teresa Heheman and Nugget
You might say Earl and Ron have a type – as Reece and Katy bring their Dachshund count up to seven. Reese and Katy are truly two peas in a pod as they love to lie together in bed and chase each other around the house. Both dogs have always been extremely loving and just a tad shy, with Reece peeing any time someone was at the door. But after two years, the lively pooches now adventure around their Bungalow, greeting the neighbor cat and enjoying a carefree life.
Earl Waters & Ron Spivack and Reece & Katy
Man’s best friend doesn’t even begin to describe the relationship between Sobe and Danielle. After 15 years together, little Sobe has been with Danielle through good times and bad. They’ve celebrated a lot of firsts together, like Sobe’s first trip to the ocean, and the birth of Danielle’s son, Alexander. Sobe will always be Danielle’s “first born” and if one thing is for certain, it’s that these two were made for each other.
Danielle Findley and Sobe
Lovebirds have always held a special place in Nichole’s heart, having owned them since she was a small child. So when the owners of Totter and Burger couldn’t keep them any longer, Nichole made room among her growing bird family for the new feathered friends. Nichole found Totter back in 2007 abandoned behind her clinic with a “Dear John” letter stating he was sick and the owner couldn’t care for him. She didn’t hesitate to take him in and he has since lived to the incredible age of 16 years. It brings Nichole joy everyday knowing she helped give these birds the lives they deserve and they thank her in return with constant chatter and music to express their love.
Dr. Nichole Zellner & Dr. Rizal Lopez and Totter & Burger
Roxanne and Pumpkin met when a co-worker brought an abandoned group of kittens to her office. It was love at first sight as Pumpkin immediately curled up around Roxanne’s neck and didn’t let go for the entire drive home. That little kitten has been one of Roxanne’s most faithful companions ever since. Pumpkin, who was lovingly nicknamed Punki, has been a sweet and compassionate member of Roxanne’s family for over a decade since that fateful day.
Roxanne Wilder and Pumpkin (Punki)
When they are off the clock, these fire chiefs return to their homes, families and furry friends. For James Large, that would be his puppy Soto, who is always happy and enthusiastic in greeting him. Soto is a very affectionate pup; however, if you turn your back, he will steal your socks and shoes — they are toys, after all! Michael Domante and his wife don’t have kids, so Duke has become their very important fur baby. Duke brings them joy in many ways, one being his “buzz.” When Duke gets excited, he growls, or “buzzes” as a way to show off. (He’s also as speedy as a buzzing bee!) Ian Womack shares his love, and his home, with Athena, who showers him in kisses (and fur of, course) every time he returns home. When she’s not urging him to play, she loves to go for walks in the great outdoors.
James Large, Michael Domante and Ian Womack and Soto, Duke & Athena
Chris and his husband met Brody at a St. Pete Pride expo and instantly fell in love with the pup. He was in the care of an Orlando-based rescue shelter, where he was being treated for a broken leg. Chris and his husband took him to their home a month later, and over the past seven years, Brody has become an essential part of the family. Though Brody now has a “sister,” he still commands the attention in the room with his beautiful coloring and acting abilities. Brody learned early on how to use his leg injury to get out of trouble. Even years since his broken leg has healed, whenever Brody is in trouble, he will sit down, perfectly poised, and hold up his paw like it is injured.
Chris Rudisill and Brody
It was by chance that Shelby found Aaron and Theresa. One of Aaron’s co-workers, a fellow police officer, happened upon a group of abandoned puppies and was only able to catch one – which Aaron volunteered to take home for the weekend. The rest of the puppies were eventually found and taken to SPCA Tampa Bay. That weekend visit turned into a much longer stay, as Shelby found her forever home. When Aaron introduced Shelby to his mother Theresa she was smitten. She has always been an animal lover and became a loving grandmother to Shelby. When Theresa was only 12 years old she had taken in a stray dog herself just as her son would do years later. Shelby loves taking car rides and going on runs with Aaron, and you’ll know since her tail (and butt) wag a mile a minute.
Theresa Pinnix and Aaron Franklin and Shelby
When Jerry saw Oscar for the first time when Oscar was just 4 weeks old, they had an immediate connection. Surprisingly, Jerry found the small puppy through a kitty rescue. Jerry often thinks Oscar may be a person in a dog suit, as he’s smarter than any person Jerry knows. Over the past 11 years, Oscar has brought a truly immeasurable amount of joy to Jerry’s life, as well as an immeasurable amount of sloppy kisses.
Jerry Penacoli and Oscar
A tragic beginning becomes a storybook ending in the tale of Tiger the cat. Katie’s family rescued Tiger 13 years ago after her litter had been thrown out of a car. But that terrible day hasn’t dulled Tiger’s positive outlook on life as she is still full of lots of warm snuggles and playful energy. No ponytail tie or piece of string is safe in the Pemble household as Tiger will often seek them out to bat around. While it is a joy to watch Tiger pounce and play, Katie’s family could do without the unusually loud snoring that come from little Tiger, but still, they love her all the same.
Katie and Laura Pemble and Tiger
When you think of a tiny Yorkshire terrier, you don’t think of a horse. But that is exactly how Dave describes Maggie’s eating habits, though she somehow maintains the weight of 5 pounds. Maggie came into the Moore family’s lives as a Christmas present for the kids, and she has continued to bring joy to Dave and his whole family. No matter what kind of day Dave has, Maggie is always happy to see him.
Dave, Ann, Haley, & Jake Moore and Maggie
Every little girl’s dream is to grow up with a loving and loyal pet. Anna found hers in Zsa Zsa. All through elementary, middle and, now, high school, Zsa Zsa has been Anna’s confidant and best friend. What started out as short rides in a dolly stroller are now exciting adventures for Zsa Zsa in Anna’s car. With her spunky personality and million-dollar smile, Zsa Zsa lives up to her namesake Zsa Zsa Gabor (blonde hair and all).
Anna Mink and Zsa-Zsa
SPCA Tampa Bay shelter cats, Squints and Simon, sat in for picture day with the McClellans. Duncan and Irene’s cats, Ramon and Monroe, were born a day apart and are practically brothers. Duncan and his wife, Irene, adopted them together as kittens from a shelter. Upon reaching their new forever home the rather shy kittens had to be coaxed out with some delicious tuna fish. Ever since, they’ve been roaming the place as if it were their domain, bringing endless joy to Duncan and Irene. Monroe learned the hard way about the danger of being too adventurous, as he once climbed high into the rafters and needed saving. Duncan quickly came to the rescue, but in the end Monroe squirmed from his arms and caused Duncan to crash into a very expensive glass vessel. Thankfully, everyone is okay and Monroe no longer explores the rafters. He instead wanders the expansive property while Ramon spends the better part of his day lounging on the living room sofa.
Duncan and Irene McClellan and Squints & Simon
Within five minutes of holding Riley and looking into his big, brown eyes, Lisa knew that he should be a part of the family. And he has become a huge part of her and her husband’s lives. When they first met Riley he was incredibly shy, but within one week he had made himself right at home among their other pets. In fact, with his unique personality he can be extremely playful and mischievous one minute and very loving with snuggles galore the next.
Lisa Mayrose and Riley
Behind these two fabulous women are fabulous pets. When Franki and Donna get off of work they are not only greeted by their husbands, but also their furry children. Franki has her maltese, Vivica A. Dog (Vivi for short) waiting for her. Vivica had a troubled start with a host of health problems at an early age. Though Franki thought she’d adopted the puppy from a sweet couple who bred dogs and sold them for extra money, she quickly found out that Vivica’s health problems were signs the cute pooch was bred in a puppy mill. Though Vivica was born into a difficult situation, she is now a happy and healthy diva who loves to wear her pearls (like a true lady). She has stamped a paw print of love on both Franki and her husband’s hearts — they can’t imagine life without her. Vivi is quite definitely a daddy’s girl, as each night she climbs into his lap and licks his entire face clean. Donna and her husband Bryan had their hearts stolen by a tiny 5 week old kitten named Tux. They had been healing from the loss of their first cat, loving dubbed Smelly-Cat, and were wary of getting another pet. When they first laid eyes on Tux they couldn’t resist. He was very tiny when he came home with them (smaller than Donna’s hand) and very easy to lose in their home. Donna created a small litter box for him, slept with him on the bathroom floor and carried him in the pocket of her robe. While Tux doesn’t fit in Donna’s pocket anymore, they’re still just as close as ever.
Donna Hostnick & Franki Pethtel and Vivica & Tux
Tucker found his forever home with Chuck when he was just 10 weeks old. After the initial and required “Lion King” pose when they brought him out of the house, he settled right in. It’s hard to decide who rescued who, as Tucker’s undeniable “Scottie attitude” has brought so much joy to their lives. Chuck’s family learned just how energetic Tucker could be one Christmas Day when they returned home and discovered a tree surrounded by shredded open presents. Thankfully, Tucker no longer shreds any unsuspecting wrapping paper and can now be trusted home alone.
Chuck Henson and Tucker
Soon after Poppy and her pups were brought to SPCA Tampa Bay, her babies found their forever homes. But Poppy was still waiting to find hers. Ike and his wife gave her a loving home and a spoiled life in exchange for her company and an endless amount of joy. Since Ike’s wife passed away, Poppy has stuck to him like glue, and if she isn’t cuddling by his feet, she’s playing with one of her toys (which she knows by name).
Russell (Ike) Einherst and Poppy
Mr. Carson came into Martha and her husband Roy’s lives with a mouthful of dental issues, deteriorating vision and rather worried about life in general. In need of a haircut and a bit down on his luck, Martha decided Mr. Carson had to come home with her. After a great deal of TLC, Mr. Carson’s looks finally matched his elegant and formal demeanor, earning him the fitting name of Mr. Carson, after the sophisticated butler in “Downton Abbey”. While this old pooch has only been part of Martha’s and Roy’s lives for less than a year, it’s been a special year of fluffy hugs, sloppy, toothless kisses, and lots of love.
Martha Boden and Mr. Carson
Typically matchmakers don’t come with wet noses or wagging tails, but Chanel introduced her owner Nancy to Steve during a walk. As a beautiful and spunky dog, Chanel was an easy conversation starter. Now that she has both Nancy and Steve in her life, she couldn’t be happier. Unless there is a football game on for her to watch. Chanel even has her own touchdown ritual of tossing a ball and catching it in her mouth.
Steve and Nancy Westphal and Chanel
There is no way to describe Jeanette and Brian’s household other than through their ragtag group of fun, furry and festive pups! Marko, a pit mix, went home with Jeanette for a weekend getaway from the vet’s and never left. Marley was down on his luck and abandoned in Jeanette and Brian’s neighborhood, where Jeanette quickly rescued the cut Lab mix (despite Brian’s reluctance). Mia, a Catahoula mix, was a foster dog that never left the Rivera household once they realized they were the only ones who could put up with the hyper little attention hog. Murphy, the nervous-nelly boxer, was adopted as a puppy and has slowly grown into a mama’s boy. Maverick was found and taken in as a puppy and rightfully earned his name for being a fighter and independent. He likes to think he can catch the squirrels in the backyard, but is never quite fast enough. And Mr. (not pictured), the youngest of the Rivera clan, stole Jeanette and Brian’s hearts during an SPCA Tampa Bay tour. At 6 months old, he is still learning the ropes but is clearly a match for the group. It’s a lot of work keeping up with all the fur (two Roombas required), but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jeanette and Brian Rivera and Marko, Marley, Mia, Murphy, & Maverick
Marilyn fell in love with the small kitten the minute she opened her present from “Santa.” Babee, originally too small for her large ears and extra-long tail, eventually grew into them. Sixteen years later, Babee just requires daily belly rubs and an exciting game of fetch. Why yes, she plays fetch. That’s one cool cat.
Marilyn Hulsey and Babee
The best day ever for MaryAnn (according to her granddaughter) was the day she got to bring Pinta home. Pinta quickly adjusted to her owner’s new retirement lifestyle, filling the day with playing, walking, more playing and snuggling. It’s hard not to have an active lifestyle when there’s a puppy like Pinta waiting for her ball to be thrown just one more time. For MaryAnn, waking up and greeting the day is fairly easy now that she has an adorable “good morning greeter.”
MaryAnn Fisher and Ava Rae & Arthur Lipan and Pinta
With two pooches who are so loving – like Freebee, who loves giving kisses, and Nigel, who adores hugs – it is easy to see why Cyndi sometimes rushes home. Freebee and Nigel have made Cyndi and her husband’s life richer in every way, and made their home and family complete. No matter what kind of day Cyndi has had, Freebee and Nigel find a way to cheer her up (which isn’t hard, with two fluffy-friends that give sloppy kisses and furry hugs).
Cyndi Edwards and Colin Trethewey and Freebee & Nigel
Natalie found her two best friends in Onyx and Maggie when she rescued them from terrible lives and situations. Now, however, they truly live the “dog life,” with comfy couches, a swimming pool, long walks and, of course, their humongous doghouse (aka Natalie’s house). Onyx and Maggie are nearly inseparable and have become the best of friends. Natalie is blessed to be able to return the unconditional love that they share with each other and with her.
Natalie Conner and Onyx & Maggie
Working with animals every day, Cherie was bound to take one (or a few) of them home. Muggle, Pirate and Bailey (Pirate and Bailey stayed home on photo day) joined the family one by one and have been with Cherie for all of their lives. Though they have different quirks – like Muggle, the dachshund, having a taste for beer, or Pirate, the Birman cat, making raspy “Arrrgghh” pirate growls – they all have one thing in common: their love, commitment and unwillingness to share Cherie with other humans.
Dr. Cherie Buisson and Dr. Derek Moore and Muggle
Joy’s family might call her a “crazy dog lady”, but she’d prefer “lucky dog lady.” With five fur babies to cuddle with nightly, who wouldn’t say that’s an ideal setting? That’s just what happens when you volunteer at SPCA Tampa Bay four days a week. Whether it’s Gloria stealing someones pillow, Evelyn playing tug-of-war with bath towels, Audrey (aka Diva Dog) stealing all the attention, Stella’s obsession with treats (and she knows when you have one), or Lester’s perfect army crawl across the living room floor, there is never a dull or boring moment with these fluffy faces.
Joy Brauer and Joy's Crazy Clan of Pooches
Jerry and Ruth’s children fell in love with Astro the poodle at the shelter. Over the past 15 years, Astro has watched their kids grow into young adults. When Chloe, a 3-year-old pitbull mix, joined the pack, Astro mentored her in the ways of being a lap dog and hogging all the covers – even though she is way too big for that!
Jerry and Ruth Bell and Astro & Chloe
The rambunctious duo of Dasher and Buster were the perfect additions to the adventurous Baker family. Rick, Joyce, Jacob and Julann Baker enjoy making trips to the cabin in North Carolina and it just so happened their pups had the same interest in the great outdoors. They gladly stick their noses to the A/C vents in the car as soon as they reach North Carolina, taking in all the smells of the wild. The dogs, of course, not the two-legged passengers.
Rick Baker and Family and Dasher & Buster
Nita has been “second-chance mother” to Lucy, Buddy, Gracie and Ricky Bobby since they were puppies, and in each case it was love at first sight. Though these dogs can be considered on the normal side (for dogs, of course), Gracie takes the prize for Miss Oddball. All toilet paper must be kept under lock and key, otherwise Gracie like to unwind and shred it from the roll. With these wonderful bundles of love, Nita could never imagine asking for sweeter furry kids.
Nita Ward and Lucy, Buddy, Gracie & Ricky Bobby
Betsie, pictured with Jonathan & Antony Browy, Alexandria Michael and Betsie’s three girls (all furry and small in stature) have been her comfort and joy, especially after the passing of her husband. Though tiny, they still manage to take up most of the bed and turn the living room into a zoo with all their playing. Betsie and her husband rescued Daisy from a puppy farm in 2000. On their anniversary, they received a special gift when Lily fell into their lap (where she quickly became a daddy’s girl). As for Elysian, Betsie would like to think that she handpicked her, but she does have to admit that Lily may have “paw-picked” this new playmate.
Betsie Scott and Family and Daisy Mae Marigold, Lily Rose & Elysian
Dharma captured the hearts of Debra and her family during a pet rescue meet-and-greet. At the end of the meeting and greeting, Dharma was the only one they wanted to bring home. Dharma is a ladies dog and loves to hang with Debra’s girlfriends during book club or girl’s night. She is the most loving of dogs and will snuggle with anyone (unless you come between her and her bone – then watch out!).
Debra Schrils and Dharma
Coming from different backgrounds, rescues and states, Charlie, Lacy, Ellie, Frank and Lucy all found their forever home with Ethel. And Ethel found unconditional love, comfort and true friendship with them. She is a women who is constantly on the go, and her fur family remains quite active as well – even Frank, who cannot use his back legs, finds activity and joy by swimming. These dogs are truly living the dream life that most people would be jealous to have.
Ethel Buns and Charlie, Lacy, Ellie, Frank & Lucy
Unable to deny his two sons’ hopeful wishes, Chris took them to the shelter where Kimber, a lab-mix, quickly became family. With Houdini-like skills, Kimber would sneak her way out of the crate and into their beds at night. After Kimber’s passing, a new feline friend, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, just as quickly became family due to her loving personality and adorable face.
Chris Steinocher and Pizza
When Patrick and his partner were looking for a dog, they had no idea one was looking for them, too. Beau knew the minute they walked in that he had found his forever home. He can now proudly say — and wag his tail — that he’s been the Prince of the house for six years. And yes, you may call him that
Patrick Owings and Beau