Pets and Their People 1

Draper residents talk about their furry loved ones


A Cute, Squishy Face
At five years old, Alex Witt knew he wanted a dog.

“He was consistent and persistent,” says his dad. “By seven he was asking everyday.” So his parents spent two years searching for the right dog. Then they found Agis, a Chinese Shar-Pei.

It’s been love ever since for the family, but especially for Alex, now 10. Despite Agis snoring, they both sleep contentedly together. “I can hug him at midnight,” adds Alex.

Agis is easy-going, plays hard when asked, but is also the perfect couch potato. The four Witt children, Christian, 14, Alex, McKenley, 8, and Gabby, 2, love feeling his squishy face. Agis enjoys four-wheeling and climbing the specially installed ramp to swim in the above-ground pool. Every morning Agis acts as the family’s alarm clock—pulling off covers and licking faces to get everyone up and going.

With his wish granted, Alex has assumed the role of main caretaker — feeding, cleaning up after and washing the 42-pound Agis in the bathtub, which he eagerly climbs into. “He’s my big baby,” says Alex.


A Recycling Duo with his brother, Marshmallow
Gerbils weren’t the first pet choice for 10-year-old Britta Charnholm, but that’s what she got when her mom rescued two from the Humane Society of Utah.

“I am glad they have a good home with us,” she said about the brothers named Marshmallow and Ginger.

Britta loves holding them and watching them run around the living room. While cute and small, they are noisy—typically at night—running on their squeaky wheel. Because gerbils need to keep their teeth in top condition, Britta regularly supplies them with cardboard boxes, which are chewed up with great gusto. “They are our recycling bins.”

Prim and Mini Moo

Laser-Focused Cats
With the “click, click, click” of the infrared oven thermometer, Prim and Mini Moo come running. Using its laser, Jeri Childs moves the red dot across the kitchen floor and her cats give chase.

Such shows are just one of the many joys of having these two “regular old cats” who Childs adores. The Draper resident has always had one cat—sometimes more—and she’s rescued too many kittens to count, Prim being one of them.

The bossy calico arrived in Childs’ arms wrapped in a blanket. She had been abandoned and Childs nursed her with a baby bottle. She went from feral kitty to indoor cat quickly. Mini Moo, a beautiful black and white cat with a fabulously fluffy tail, is the goofy one.

Her cats provide good company, says Childs as they follow her around the house. “They are independent but dependent and care for you when you feel unwell.” They love resting on their heating pad and will approach people for a scratch, which Childs says is usually in the middle of the night.

“With cats you get what you get,” she says. “I just love them.”


The Zen of Goats
“Sheer pleasure,” is how Molly Nicholes describes having four goats. There’s affectionate Carmela, Caper the escaper, tentative Peeta and Molly’s baby, Thumbelina.

“They make me happy. They are my calm in a chaotic world,” says Nicholes, who has kept goats for 20 years. Goats are easy to keep requiring food, shelter, companionship and a sturdy fence. Nicholes says it’s a fallacy to think they eat weeds. Their tastes are more refined—rose bushes and vegetables.

“Goats are very honest,” she says, citing that they don’t intentionally do naughty things such as jump the fence. They do so because the grass is greener on the other side. “They don’t apologize. That’s what I love about them the most. It’s a double-edge sword. That is what people hate about goats, but it’s what people should appreciate about them.”

Nicholes doesn’t milk them or gather their wool. They simply provide her with joy and many laughs with their funny expressions and ability to find random objects to perch on.

“I love animals for the animal that they are.”


Research Pays Off
Months of research and 40+ reports paid off for fifth-grader Paisley Davis. She spent last summer studying dogs—a different breed each day. She’d compile the data and hand her parents a detailed report.

For her family, she sought a small dog full of personality, who was hypoallergenic, easily trainable, and had floppy ears—a must. She narrowed her search down to five breeds. “I knew it was going to be hard,” she recalls.

“We could not not get her a dog,” says her dad, who was impressed with her studiousness, not to mention her ability to name every breed and crossbreed she saw. One day he surprised her with Bruno, a chocolate Havanese puppy, who he had secretly spent months looking for.

“This is the perfect thing I needed in my life,” she says. “I come home from school and it doesn’t matter what type of day I’ve had, he just helps me. He is always happy.”


Bunny Love
Maybe it was because their eye and hair color matched, but there was something about Winnie the dwarf rabbit that captured the heart of 9-year-old Brynlee Howells.

“There’s just something special about Winnie,” says her mom, who also loves Winnie.

Winnie is Brynlee’s first “very own” pet and she’s in charge of changing his bedding so it doesn’t get “stinky or sticky,” feeding him, trimming his nails and bathing him in the bathtub where Winnie loves being underneath the running faucet. In his cage, he rattles the water container and lets water drip onto his back. At night, he falls asleep with Brynlee. By day, he hops around, following family members.

Winnie is a sweet, carrot-loving rabbit, says Brynlee, but when he gets too energetic, she turns him over on his back and gently pets him.

“Sometimes…,” she says, “he smiles.”