November 16th, 2015

The Dogs in my Life [An Inside Look at Michele’s Zoo]

As many of you know, I have a menagerie of critters. 3 dogs, 4 cats. Yep. It’s a lot. It’s expensive, it’s hairy, it’s frustrating and it’s the best.

#sillywilly #freerangingwillis

magnolia photography micheles dogs willis

Willis aka Thunder, White Thunder, Thunder Britches

I don’t really know where to start with this one, because I could go on and on and on. So I’m just going to list a few facts and move on, so as not to bore you to tears.

We rescued Willis almost 5 years ago. He came from a bad situation and it took YEARS to get him to act like a semi-normal dog. And, by semi-normal I mean he is sitting next to me right now, whining. Why? Because he can’t walk through the doorway in my office because there is a large object (an empty box) a few feet away from the door and it may jump out and get him if he tries to walk out of the room. I’m not kidding. This is life with Willis.

Willy has a lot of quirks. He’s terrified of the cats. Especially the kitten (Felicia). When we had wood floors, he walked on his “tip toes” (his nails) and it made him slide on the floor. To get around this, rather than actually walking on the pads of his feet like a normal dog, he started walking backwards everywhere he went on the wood floor. He is scared of ceiling fans. His tongue sticks out of his mouth when he sleeps. He nibbles when he plays (like he’s eating an ear of corn). He only kisses Chris. Actually, he kisses everyone but me.

Chris and I have our own “Willis” voice that we talk in, even when Willis isn’t anywhere around. It’s a constant source of entertainment for us. (We’re super lame.) IF I was forced to pick favorites, Willis is definitely mine, and I think Chris’ too, although he won’t admit it.


magnolia photography micheles dogs riley photos

Riley aka Princess, Ri, Crazy

Riley is my boxer. She is almost 8 and we’ve had her since she was a puppy. She and I were the only girls in the house for the longest time and she definitely adopted my personality. Chris will tell you she adopted all of the bad parts of my personality – ha!

She doesn’t have the typical squished boxer nose. She spends HOURS in the spring/summer hunting frogs. We usually have to go physically find her and bring her home. She loves to go hunting/target practicing with Chris. We joke all the time that we should have trained her to be a duck dog.

She is OBSESSED with birds. Flying or not, she wants to catch them. She LOVES to swim. Her love (and ability) to swim paired with her obsession with birds, got us into a bit of a predicament one summer when we were visiting my family in New York. The lake my parents live on is about a mile wide and 40 miles long and super deep (quite a bit different than many of the lakes/rivers/sounds in North Carolina). I’m sure you have an idea of what happened next. Before we really knew what was going on, Riley was in the water swimming after a duck. Well, obviously, the duck can swim faster than her so it just keeps swimming…straight across the lake… and Riley keeps on swimming after it. There was no use in trying to call her back, we were going to have to go get her. My brother, Brian, jumped in a kayak. By the time he got to her she was at least a half a mile across the lake. He finally managed to get her to swim back towards shore and got her back. Now we make sure we are on high-alert duck patrol at all times when Riley is at the lake.


magnolia photography micheles dogs porkchop photos

Aka Porky, Pork and some PG-13 names not to be mentioned on this blog.

First of all, Chris named this dog. Porkchop. I wanted to name him Todd. Seriously. To be honest though, the name Porkchop does actually fit him really well. Pork is just about 4 years old, and he’s a “bully-XL” pitbull. His mom was 100 pounds and his dad was 110. Poor little Porkchop weighs in at a tough 70 pounds.

Porkchop and I have a love-hate relationship. I am 110% a pitbull advocate, so any negativity I have towards Pork is actually because he is TOO loving and TOO determined to be with us at all times. Out of all 3 of our dogs, Porkchop is the biggest baby and the most well behaved in public (the “in public” part is important to note). Even at home, 99% of the time he is calm and relaxed and just wants to snuggle. He is like a giant teddy bear. The kitten (Felicia) literally climbs all over him, chews on his ears and his tail and he just thinks it’s the best thing in the world. Porkchop’s downfall is that he has horrible separation anxiety. If he is left alone for even a minute, he finds something to chew up. He has broken out of countless cages and hurt himself in the process, just trying to get out to be with us. Just like all of the other dogs and cats crazy quirks, his hard-headedness and determination is something we have adapted to. “Porkchop is bleeding” is one of the most common sentences used at our house.

I often threaten to give him away, and I have been told that if I ever give him away, to just go ahead and move my stuff out of the house. I guess if I ever want a divorce, that’s an easy way to get one 😉


You can find more photos and videos of all 3 dogs on my instagram or on instagram under the hashtags above!




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I love these pictures! Meatball, Ghetti, and MJ need a photo shoot!

Those are the best grand fur babies ever. Of course, all the cats are cute too!!
Still carrying a bit of Willis around wherever we go. LOL

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