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Meet Herndon’s ‘Best Friends’

People and Pets

Carson Stewart poses with his fish tank.

Carson Stewart poses with his fish tank. Sarah Anderson

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Anderson, the guinea pig, sits on owner Mia Bollerer’s shoulder. More stories on people and pets in this week’s Connection.

Mia Bollerer, 7, has a fluffy white guinea pig named Anderson, whose name, she says, “starts with an ‘A’ because he is so awesome!” She got Anderson on the day of the presidential election last year and remembers that she spent her first night with Anderson sitting on the couch with her family while watching the news. Mia has had fish in the past, but really loves that she can hug and snuggle with Anderson instead of just watching him in a cage. Anderson likes to sit on her chest and lick her nose. Mia says that one of the funniest things that Anderson has ever done was escape from his cage and then hide under the bed, refusing to come out. Mia and her little brother Owen, 5, love to play with Anderson and are very happy to have him as their pet.

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Diana Fields, Al Chester and Justine Chester with their two cats, Maggie and Harley.

The Chester family, Diana, Al, Ryan and Justine, have two cats. Both are 8 years old and one is named Harley and the other is Maggie. The two cats get along fairly well; they like to sleep together and groom each other, but “Harley is very dominating over Maggie and likes to boss her around,” according to Diana Fields, accountant. “Harley also likes to pretend that he is a dog and play fetch with straws and the plastic tops of milk cartons,” says Justine, 17. Maggie, the calico cat, really loves Ryan. Though Maggie is not as friendly to strangers as Harley is, she loves to follow Ryan around and play with all of her toys. The Chester’s love their cats and consider them members of their family.

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Margaret Shaw holding her chinchilla, Eskimo, while her other pet, Jerry, sleeps in his hammock.

Margaret Shaw, 18, has two chinchillas named Jerry and Eskimo. According to Margaret, Jerry used to be very energetic when he was younger; one time, when the cage door was left open, she says that Jerry did a back flip off of the cage, landed on a shelf, and ran all around the play room. When she and her older sister, Kathryn, 22, were younger, they would bring the chinchillas into the shower and let them crawl around. They eat papaya and alfalfa grass. A fun fact about these creatures is, if you pull their tails, they break and fall off as a defense mechanism. Margaret’s favorite thing about her chinchillas is that they have little fingernails. Jerry and Eskimo are fun, cuddly, and entertaining, making them the perfect pets for Margaret and her family.

Carson Stewart is the proud owner of neon tetras, guppies, and an albino catfish. He takes care of the fish himself and gave them fun names like Elvis, Michael Phelps and Jimmy Hendrix. Carson used to have a bigger tank with a bunch of fish and snails, but many of the fish ended up dying and the snail mysteriously disappeared. The Stewarts are a family of animal lovers and have had many pets in the past, including hamsters and a parakeet. The parakeet, who was a girl that they named Kevin, just like in the movie UP, was found in a tree near their house. Carson and his brother Barrett took care of Kevin before giving it to another bird loving neighbor. Barrett Stewart, 13, said that Kevin once escaped from his cage and flew right into a bowl of sauce! All of the Stewart’s pets have been very well loved and the ones that have passed away have been buried with care in their back yard.

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Brothers Will Fisher, Jack Fisher, and Charlie Fisher sit with their labradoodle, Gracie.

Grace is a rambunctious labradoodle puppy who has lived with the Fisher family for almost a year. Jack Fisher, 11, explained that his family got Gracie after their last dog passed away and he and his brothers were very excited to have another pet in the house. “Gracie is really smart, even though she barks and runs to the door when there is a door bell on the tv,” says Will Fisher, 6. Will also explained the ways that Gracie comes up with tricky ways to distract him by running around so that she can run off with a shoe, a ball, or some food. This puppy has so much energy and “it is crazy how high she can jump!” exclaimed Charlie Fisher, 9. Gracie will do anything to get food that is up on a high counter or table. This high-energy dog is the perfect companion for this family of three young boys.