Our Family’s Furry Friends


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

Two weeks ago my family had quite the scare—the news of the potential passing of our family dog, a Shih Tzu-Poodle mix, named Maki. She’s been with us for 14 years since she was just a fur ball of a puppy. In dog years, she’d be about 98-years-old.

You can imagine then what it’s been like in our family the past few weeks—the worry, the grief, the incessant tears. We had already emotionally tried to prepare ourselves for the worst: her passing.

And then by a miracle—my mother can testify to this since she was the one who fervently prayed for Maki’s well-being—Maki’s health turned around for the better.

She had originally not eaten for more than a week, and was so weak she was unable to walk, nor wag her tail in greeting, while she struggled with laboured breathing, and blood in her stool. We had thought for sure at 98-years-old it was her time to go and even considered putting her down in order to alleviate her suffering.

Thankfully, when she was taken to the vet for a check-up, we discovered she only suffered from a severe flu and temperature, a bad eye allergy reaction, and aside from poor teeth and a heart murmur, she had only lost one pound, and was generally considered to be quite healthy for her age!

My family was in tears again—but this time, in relief and joy.

And so, with this news I wanted to share and showcase with my readers a little bit about the animals we love, those who have become an important part of our entire family:


Maki. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Maki. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

Name: Maki, named by my sister, after “Futomaki,” a Japanese sushi roll because of her black and white colour.

Breed: Shih Tzu – Poodle cross, 14-years-old (human years) / 98-years-old (dog years)

Birthday: April 23, 2000

Belongs to: (Caesar, Africa) Garcia Family

Personality: Debutante. Very dainty. Somewhat of a snob (most likely due to her poodle lineage) especially when it comes to meeting male dogs. Loves walks. Tries to act tough by barking loud especially when meeting or hearing other dogs or greeting the postman or postwoman at our door. Scared of rain and thunderstorms. Irritated with loud noise. Indifferent to playing “fetch.” Loves the kids: Michael (9), Xara (4), and Elias (2). Loves belly and ear rubs.

Favourite treat: Baby carrots, tangerines, sausage, dog treats. Prefers to eat dog food if watered down with water.

Favourite trick: “Sleep” and “Paw.”


bronx 1
Bronx. (c) Photo by Riza Garcia-Yarra. All rights reserved.


Name: Bronx, named after the dog in the Gargoyles cartoon.

Breed: Boston Terrier, heavyweight class, 9-years-old (human years) / 63-years-old (dog years)

Birthday: April 3, 2005

Belongs to: (Riza, Joe, Elias) Garcia-Yarra Family

Personality: Loves people and other dogs; tends to lie in front of people and when you trip over him, you are the one who gets hurt and he doesn’t budge; has tendency to sit his butt on peoples’ feet; hates baths; infamous for his “SBD” farts, often mistaken for a warthog due to intermittent snorting sounds.

Favourite treat: Mini carrots, apple slices

Favourite trick: Sits and waits for treats and food until you give the “take” command; protects Elias when you pretend to point a gun at him.


Bizou. (c) Photo by Justine Tira-Lee. All rights reserved.


Name: Bizou, which means “little kiss” in French.

Breed: Coton De Tulear

Birthday: August 9, 2003, 11-years-old (human years) / 77-years-old (dog years)

Belongs to: (Justine, Wai, Tai, Paxton) Lee Family

Personality trait: Clown 

Favourite Treat: Greenies

Favourite Trick: Leg up


Parker. (c) Photo by Myra Tira-Garrett. All rights reserved.
Parker. (c) Photo by Myra Tira-Garrett. All rights reserved.


Name: Parker, after “Peter Parker” from Spiderman

Breed: German Rottweiler – French Mastiff cross, 7-months-old (human years)

Birthday: August 24, 2013

Belongs to: (Myra, Rick, Gavin) Tira-Garrett Family

Personality trait: Playful, loving, enjoys long walks at the dog park, picking up Gavin from school, calm, submissive, doesn’t realize how big or heavy he actually is, thinks he’s a lap dog, loves to make new friends (with all species).

Favourite Treat: peanut butter training treats, broccoli, kale, carrots, cheese, cucumbers

Favourite Trick:  He hates rolling over because he’s so big, but he loves his new “trick,” hugs, as he puts his paw on your shoulder for a warm embrace.


Frankie. (c) Photo by Belen Garcia-Munoz. All rights reserved.


Name: Frankie, named after Frank Sinatra

Breed: Chihauhua

Birthday: Unknown, adopted by another family who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Belongs to: (Belen, Ben) Garcia-Munoz Family

Personality trait: “very scared little rat,” pees on people he doesn’t like, loves to go to the park to play ball, loves the sun, hates showers

Favourite Treat: hamburgers like his Uncle Ben

Favourite Trick:  Used to love to wake up Uncle Ben who has now passed away.


Penelope. (c) Photo by Carmen Abad. All rights reserved.
Penelope. (c) Photo by Carmen Abad. All rights reserved.


Name: Penelope

Breed: Yorki

Adopted: March 8, 2014

Belongs to: (Carmen, Ramon) Garcia-Abad Family

Personality: Will soon find out

Favourite Treat: Will soon find out

Favourite Trick: Will soon find out


(c) Photo by Carmen Abad. All rights reserved.


Name: Starr Bonita

Breed: Bichon Frische

R.I.P: April 1998 – March 2, 2014 / 16 years-old (human years) / 112- years-old (dog years)

Belongs to: (Carmen, Ramon) Garcia-Abad Family

Personality trait: Protective of family and loving.

It is with great sadness that Starr, The Garcia-Abad’s beloved Bichon Frische passed away on March 2, 2014 at 3:10 p.m. from old age. She was blind and deaf since November 2013, but was still able to recognize and love her owners, Carmen and Ramon Abad. We love you and miss you, Starr! We trust you’re at peace now at the “Rainbow Bridge,” where we will all look forward to meeting you again.


While I don’t have photos of these animals, these pets who are no longer with us, are also very much loved:

Pirate, a German Shepherd, who belonged to my father as a child, was best known for his intelligence and for rescuing my grandmother from an intruder. He was unfortunately struck and killed by a truck in the Philippines.

Grace, a white and gentle hamster who belonged to my brother as a child, passed away. It was the very first time my brother had to come to terms with losing someone.

Bee, an orange and white gerbil who my sister and I bought as teenagers on a whim. She was skittish and squeaked often. She was later adopted by my grandmother who loved her company. She passed away from malnutrition.

Hisako and Jaws, two goldfish who belonged to my son, Michael at the age of two. Hisako means, “Son of a poem,” and ironically Jaws was the mild one of the two. They both passed away the same year they were adopted.

Diamond, of the Garcia-Abad family who passed away.

Turbo, of the Abad-Negrich  family who went missing.


Do you have a family pet? What kind? What is his/her breed and name?

If you don’t own a pet, which one do you think you’d like to perhaps own one day?


zara cat stamp


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