Society / Profiles

Meet the Pets Who Captured the Hearts of 6 of Dallas’ Biggest Animal Lovers

These Champions of Animal Rights Know the SPCA is Crucial

BY // 12.20.19
photography Gittings

Family time should be treasured, and for many that most certainly includes furry, four-legged family members, too.

To help support the SPCA of Texas and its important work of rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals, Stanley Korshak and Gittings recently partnered to spotlight notable Dallasites and their pets (Stanley Korshak is a “fur baby-friendly” store, after all).

These individuals were chosen because of their love for animals. They are all avid supporters of animal rights and rescue organizations, and each has a special relationship with their own pets. Let’s get to know them better:

Caleb Hernandez

Corporate Trainer, Park Place Dealerships

Isabella 2, “Shih-Poo” (Shih Tzu-Poodle), 14.5 years old

“We rescued her from a puppy breeder that was shut down in 2005,” Hernandez says. “She is the same breed, same coloring, and has the same disposition as her predecessor, Isabella 1, who we also rescued from a puppy mill but who only lived six weeks before succumbing to distemper.”

DL12302 Hernandez_0022-PC (Photo by Gittings)
Caleb Hernandez and Dean Gresham with Isabella (Photo by Gittings)

What’s your favorite thing she does that makes you smile?

“Isabella goes to my law firm each day with me and has become the office aka “pawffice” dog. She has figured out how to open the door with the smallest crack and will trot up and down the hallways looking for treats from others. She has been given the nickname “Treat Hustler.”

Does she have any naughty habits or funny quirks?

“Isabella has had the same stuffed animal (a small hedgehog) since she was a puppy. She has to sleep with it every night and usually falls asleep with it in her mouth. If she cannot find her hedgehog, she gets so nervous and anxious until we get it for her.”

What’s her favorite activity?

“Chasing and barking at a squirrel that lays on the top of the fence when Isabella is in the backyard. The squirrel taunts her by flipping his tail and chattering at her while she chases him up and down the fence line. She also loves lounging in bed.”

What does the SPCA mean to you?

“To us, the SPCA is one of the most important charities because it gives a voice to all the animals that cannot speak for themselves. The SPCA demonstrates one of the most amazing qualities that a person can have: unconditional love for all.”

Alma Nachawati

Marketing Director at Fears Nachawati Law Firm

Peper, a 2-year-old grey Tonkinese, and Livy, a 6-year-old Siamese

 “We adopted Peper from Petland in Preston Hollow — she was our first cat — and Livy from a retired cat lover from California,” Nachawati says.

 What’s your favorite thing they do that makes you smile?

“Peper is very mischievous, she likes to sit in sinks and bathtubs and sunbathe by the windows. Livy loves to roll into a ball, but only for my 9-year-old daughter IsaBella. They share a special bond — she sleeps with her nightly at the foot of her bed and follows her everywhere. It’s really sweet!”

Dallas SPCA Nachawati_457edit-PC (Photo by Gittings)
Alma Nachawati and her children with Peper and Livy (Photo by Gittings)

Do they have any naughty habits or funny quirks?

“Peper bites cords and loves to hide away in the master closets. She is so quiet sometimes that we’ve had a few scenarios where we couldn’t find her for a while. She also likes to go into the pantry and get into her treat bag. Livy likes to bite shower curtains and any cardboard she can get a hold of.”

What does the SPCA mean to you?

“The impact the SPCA has on our communities is not necessary, it is vital. We really appreciate all the amazing work the organization does in the community to protect and care for abandoned animals, and prevent cruelty and abuse. The SPCA is also very special in that it is the only charity with legal powers, so not only can it help animals in need but also bring offenders to justice.

“The cost of adoptions directly helps the SPCA better care for the animals it takes in, to spay, vaccinate, microchip, etc. Not only do animals give you unconditional love, they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally, and physically beneficial to their companions. When you adopt, you can feel proud about helping an animal in need.”

Amber Camper

Co-Chair & Auction Chair for the SPCA Fur Ball

Coco Chanel, Shih Tzu, 8 years old

“After unexpectedly losing my grandfather in 2011, my mom started texting me photos of Shih Tzu puppies from a family friend,” Camper says. “Coco was supposed to be a gift for my mom but after her spay surgery, she started sleeping with me at night and the rest is history.”

Dallas SPCA Camper_0375-PC (Photo by Gittings)
Amber Camper with Coco Chanel (Photo by Gittings)

What’s your favorite thing she does that makes you smile?

“She does a lot of things that make me smile but after she’s had her favorite snack, she runs to my bed and will flip like a fish all over my pillows, where she knows she’s not supposed to be! It’s the cutest thing.”

Does she have any naughty habits or funny quirks?

“Coco is the unofficial head of neighborhood watch. She waits patiently every morning for me to open the window for her to begin her watch. If I take too long, I get a growl and paw stomp.”

What’s her favorite activity?

“Car rides. Jingling my keys or saying ‘Wanna go bye-bye?’ immediately gets her excited and she will literally jump into your arms.”

What does the SPCA mean to you?

“Many don’t know, but just five years ago I was temping at the SPCA call center. I saw first-hand what goes into all of the incredible things the SPCA offers. Knowing that there is a place where animals can be cared for properly (i.e. vaccinations, getting spayed/neutered) and surrendered is refreshing.

“So many people never would have thought today I would be auction chair.”

Ann and David Sutherland

Interior Designer (Ann) and Chairman or Perennials and Sutherland, LLC (David)

Luke and Nick, 12-year-old Airedale brothers, and Hugo Chavez and Clementine, 11 and 9-year-old Havanese

“We adopted these two beauties after seeing them on Facebook as rescue dogs. I indicated in the comments that I might be interested, so the breeder called David and started working on him,” Ann Sutherland says. “She wanted to bring them down from Colorado for us to see but I didn’t like that scenario, thinking that “What if?” I didn’t want to keep them.

“So instead we said we would drive to Denver on a Friday, see them on Saturday, and then make up our minds. The minute she let Nick enter the room and he came to me, I said “Done! They are going home with me!” By the time we got back to Dallas we were totally bonded.

“We also adopted two older Havanese dogs from a friend who couldn’t keep them any longer. Their story is similar in that once we said we were interested in helping out, we couldn’t let them leave us.”

Dallas SPCA Sutherland_257-PC (Photo by Gittings)
Ann and David Sutherland with Luke, Nick, Hugo Chavez and Clementine (Photo by Gittings)

 What’s your favorite thing they do that makes you smile?

“Run to me anytime I come home and demand to be loved on. They are so excited to see me anytime. They make our days so beautiful and full of love.”

Do they have any naughty habits or funny quirks?

“As small, dogs, Clementine and Hugo bark a lot and it is quite unnerving after having wonderfully calm big dogs. We are trying to teach them to be quiet, but training isn’t going very well. Luke likes to paw at us when he isn’t getting attention and then rub his head on our legs.”

What’s their favorite activity?

“Taking a walk is always high on the list, as is taking a drive in the car. Nick and Luke come to work with us each day and run around the office for treats. The little ones have to stay home, as they are too noisy and disruptive. Sometime Hugo nips at the cuffs of men’s pants, so he is banned from the office.”

What does the SPCA mean to you?

“Throughout my childhood we would go to shelters and adopt dogs. Our simple love of animals makes it easy for us to support the efforts of so many others who help animals that are mistreated or displaced. Responsible ownership is necessary in order to have pets, and many people try but really can’t provide the right kind of home for an animal.

“We have a family foundation that donates to the SPCA and our company has sponsored the sale of pet beds, sending the proceeds to the SPCA. We try to not only help as many animals as we can personally, but support organizations that care about all animals in the world. Four dogs however, is a big job and I don’t have enough hands to pet them all at the same time!”

Pat Villereal

Board Chair, SPCA of Texas; Attorney at Pat Villareal Law

Brook, yellow Labrador Retriever, 5.5 years old, and Riley, British White Golden Retriever, 11.5 years old

“When our then 14-year old golden retriever seemed to be really fading, we decided we needed to get another dog to join our then-second Golden, Sasha,” Villereal says. “So we got our Riley from Honors Golden Retrievers in North Carolina, from whom Sasha had come. Riley has European parents, Dutch and Swedish, which we wanted because European dogs have not been inter-bred as much as American Goldens, up to 65 percent of whom die before eight years old from cancer. In Europe and especially Scotland, White Goldens are very common, but not here — we are often asked if he is a Grand Pyranees!

“When we first got Riley, we had three big dogs, over about 250 pounds of dog which made quite a statement. I was closer to the older two dogs and Riley was really more my husband’s and two sons’ dog. But when Sasha suddenly died at 9 of cancer, Riley attached himself to me and has become my third son.

Four days after this photo was taken, with Riley’s head on my lap, he collapsed while I was in Austin and our vet told us Riley might not make it. But Riley is a tough old coot and he survived after five days in intensive animal care. He is back home now and I cherish every day he is with us.”

SPCA DALLAS Villareal_0107-PC (Photo by Gittings)
Pat Villareal with Brook and RIley (Photo by Gittings)

What’s your favorite thing they do that makes you smile?”

“Riley gets up on the sofa while I read or watch television, putting his head on my lap as if he was a five-pound lapdog — he thinks he is! Brook loves to try to sleep on our bed each night, always hopeful she can last through the night. It never works out, but she still tries every night.”

Do they have any naughty habits or funny quirks?

“Riley will eat anything, and I mean anything: fireplace rocks, hand creams, razor blades. Once we had to take him to the emergency vet because he swallowed a whole corn cob! And he loves butter — he’s already eaten at least three sticks — so that’s why we now have gates all over our house.

“Brook hates the feel of water or wet grass on her paws, even though she is supposed to be a hunter. We practically have to drag her outside when the grass is wet, and you would think we were killing her.”

What’s their favorite activity?

“Both love to go for walks in our neighborhood, but they all love when my husband and I are here at home with them — even better when our sons and son-in-law come to visit. Riley loves parties because once he was able to get into the caterer’s icing for cupcakes, so he is forever hopeful it will happen again.”

What does the SPCA mean to you?

“I think of the SPCA as the last defense for those animals that have no other place to go or no one to help them. The SPCA is the only major organization that takes in those animals that have been recovered from animal cruelty investigations in four counties, including Dallas. These animals are often in horrendous condition and it takes much more time and physical and behavioral effort to bring them back from the horror they have endured and make them ready to be adopted.

“I am proud that despite the fact we take in these much more challenging dogs, cats, horses, and even rabbits, the SPCA has an over 96 percent live adoption rate. It takes much more money, time, and a loving and very specialized staff to make this happen, and that’s why we are always trying to increase the resources the SPCA can dedicate to this critical mission. The SPCA has also been a prime mover in the Southern Dallas initiative to control loose dogs, and we will have completed over 30,000 spay and neuter operations in this community effort.

“To me, animals have a pure heart and are always ready and willing to share so much love with us. We try to repay as many as we can with a loving home.”