Local pet owners are dedicated to their animals

Enthusiasts pull out all the stops for furry friends
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Victoria Johnson fell in love with her dog Nana Le Briard 10 months ago. Today, Johnson and her furry sidekick are inseparable. Johnson is just one of many Auburn residents who share an extreme passion for their pets — and will go to any length to ensure their vitality. “She goes everywhere with me,” Johnson said. “She even has her own Facebook (page). She has a blog called the Tawne Tornado, that’s how crazy I am about my dog.” Nana, whose breed was originally used for shepherding according to Johnson, cost $1,500. Johnson has also enrolled Nana in an elite obedience training course out of Granite Bay. In addition to dog food, Johnson feeds her pooch cottage cheese, fish oil and vitamin C to keep her healthy. Johnson said the fish oil helps Nana’s joints, which are susceptible to breaking. “I have pet insurance,” Johnson said. “Her parents have already broken their hips. This breed is very susceptible to that because they are so big.” Janet Stewart is the store manager of Incredible Pets in Auburn. She said she has seen it all when it comes to the lengths people will go to for their pets. She also takes special care of her own dog. “It depends on each person. My extreme is my dog has a stroller. He has hip dysplasia and he can’t walk anymore,” Stewart said. “People really do care about their pets. It’s very touching.” At Incredible Pets Stewart sells everything from breath mints for cats to hip pet fashions on any given day. The shop also donates pet food to the food bank, so families can take care of their animals. Stewart said many people venture into the shop with their pets. “We have some people who come in with snakes wrapped around their necks,” Stewart said. “There is one gentleman who comes in with his cat on a leash.” Dawnielle Ford and her son, Shawn Rustin, of Auburn, have six pets. Ford said that is nothing compared to the amount of animals she had growing up. Between the cats, dogs, chinchilla and guinea pig, Ford said she pays a pretty penny to take care of her critters. “Probably $300 a month with vet(ernarian) bills and stuff,” Ford said. “This is kind of getting off easy. I was raised on a farm and we had pot-bellied pigs and everything.” Shawn, 10, said he loves spending quality time with his animals and they return the love. “I have a cat named Sushi. He is very loving to me,” Shawn said. “Sometimes I like to have him in my room because it’s really fun. He likes to love on me.” Veterinarian Dr. Rich Jackson and his brother Dr. Kent Jackson own Animal Medical Center in Auburn. At their practice they have treated more exotic pets — everything from turtles to Burmese pythons. “We had a lizard once that swallowed a coin. We had to figure out how to remove the coin from its digestive tract,” Dr. Rich Jackson said. “We’ve treated Burmese pythons. These big snakes from the circus that weigh over 100 pounds come down with illnesses. The stress of traveling causes their immune system to weaken. They have to be brought in by two-handlers because the snake could pin just one down.” While tastes in pets may be varied, the enjoyment locals get from them is a shared sentiment. Johnson said she is happy to have Nana her briard buddy in her life. “She will go bed surfing. They are a funny clown. I think that I love the way they look,” Johnson said. “When she plays with a ball and you tell her to ‘go-fetch,’ she pounces on it like an Arctic fox. “ Reach Sara Seyydin at ______________________________________________________ It’s a pet’s world This is the third in a four-part series digging into the world of pet ownership in Placer County. Read and comment on the series at Sunday: A look at Placer County leash laws. Will they get tougher? Monday: The county’s animal shelter has its critics. What does staff have to say? Tuesday: Residents share their extreme love for their special pets Wednesday: Learn more about the various animal rescue organizations in our community