Meet Missoula pets and their people

Being in the lap of luxury doesn’t mean a well groomed, pint-sized pet sitting atop an embroidered cushion. We Westerners believe it’s an eighty-pound labrador with paws wet from a day at the lake, licking them dry while sprawled across your legs. It’s sitting fireside with your best fur-friend, including them in your order at Big Dipper Ice Cream, and adopting not one or two, but three dogs from the humane society because, well, you can and who can say no when there’s adventure to be had? Not me. 

Meet these four pets and the people they call their own:

Lola and Bentley with Hudson and Tiffany

Ages: Lola 13 years, Bentley 12 years, Hudson 7 years

Tell us about your being a fur-mama and a mama to Hudson.

I became Lola and Bentley’s mama in 2006 when adopting them as puppies, two months apart, from the Humane Society of Western Montana. Lola was 10 weeks old and Bentley was fostered at five weeks old. I knew the day he came home that I had instantly failed at fostering! Lola and Bentley have never been apart from that day on. I became Hudson’s mama in 2010 when he was born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation and weighing only 12 ounces. He is truly my miracle. I am blessed to be his Mom and to witness such determination and happiness in everything that he does.

Who are Lola and Bentley? What are their personalities?

Bentley is definitely the guardian. He keeps watch every minute, and has always been a pacer. I imagine that he has his hourly routine around the perimeter of the yard to sniff out any changes. Bentley is always easy going and laid back. I am sure that if he could speak he would tell me everything that went on in the neighborhood that day. Lola has a job. Her job is following Hudson and me around everywhere. She keeps watch in the bathroom, doing laundry, in the closet, wherever and whatever. I imagine that Lola remains close to her comfortable bed in the garage and her large dish of fresh water. Besides her people, and Bentley, these are highly important in Lola’s world. 

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from Lola and Bentley?

I believe that dogs are angels here on Earth to teach us what is important in life. They define unconditional love, loyalty, faith, forgiveness, gratefulness, and protection of those we love. Their souls are pure and loving and their spirit is forgiving of all. My dogs have been a reminder to be grateful for every day and of all the blessings that surround me. They have taught me to slow down and appreciate the important things in life. They always make us laugh, they are really good at listening, love to snuggle, and someday when I can no longer hear their nails clicking down the hallway, they will surely make me cry.  I can’t imagine a life without pets!


Charlotte, Brooklyn & McKenna Cramer

Ages: Charlotte, 5 years, Brooklyn 1 year

How did you become their mama?

As a student, I spent a lot of time petting cats at the shelter but couldn’t commit to adoption one. A month before I graduated from UM I stopped by Petco for some kitty loving and Charlotte was there from the Humane Society of Western Montana. I couldn’t leave her behind, she came home that day. Last year I started working at the Humane Society of Western Montana and Brooklyn came in as a stray and I was shocked at how identical she was to Charlotte. I knew that I needed a little best friend for Charlotte so I took her home.

There’s a movie, The Secret Life of Pets, about what pets do while their owners are out. What do you think your cats do when they’re alone?

I think they mostly plot. They plot about how to access their food bin, plot about how to gang up on the pigeons outside, and most importantly, how to take over the world, which I’m sure they could if only they had thumbs. 

If you had to compare your cats’ personalities to two television personalities, who would they be?

Charlotte would be Winston from New Girl because is a perfect angel. Brooklyn would be Bart Simpson because she is a little troublemaker but after she’s been naughty she feels guilty and does something sweet. 


Barley Lincoln Mrywood with Jennifer Greenwood & Jeb Myren

Age: 2 years

Where did Barley get such a sophisticated name? 

 His middle name comes from his foster family and his last name is a mix of my last name (Greenwood) and my boyfriend, Jeb’s last name (Myren). His first name is inspired by beer.

What’s your favorite or funniest memory?

Our favorite memory starts as a terrible one. We left Barley with trusted friends while we traveled to Oregon to see family for Christmas. The second morning, Barley took an opportunity to slip out the door with the cat. Jeb and I turned back around and returned to Missoula. Three very cold nights went by. It was hard not to worry about him. On Christmas Day, we received a call from a woman living in Pattee Canyon. Barley had just been in her backyard playing briefly with her dog! Within a minute of us calling for him, he sauntered out of the woods and once he realized it was really us, he was thrilled and so were we. So many people in our community cared and were as excited as we were to have him back home. 

What’s something that you let Barley do but don’t really want him to do?

Barley loves to sit on Jeb’s lap. At about 100 pounds, he’s very large to be a lapdog. He is so happy thought that Jeb lets him jump up. 


Sammie & Kystle Downing

Age: 13 years

How did Sammie become part of the family?

Nearly two years ago, Sammie came to the family from Tails as Old as Time, a senior dog rescue that finds forever foster homes for senior dogs for the rest of their lives, covering medical costs as well. He became a “failed foster” after about nine months me before I officially adopted him. We had a big adoption party! 

What’s the funniest thing Sammie does?

He’s my little Mr. Magoo. He doesn’t see or hear very well so following him around and keeping him out of trouble can be a full-time job. He normally never makes a sound but when I come home from work he cries and whines and carries on until I pick him up to cuddle him.

What do you love most about being a dog owner?

I feel so loved and so needed. This little dog has been through so many homes in his life and yet he still got really attacked to me and that makes me feel special. Giving him the best retirement is very important to me. I try and take him to do as much stuff as possible even though he’s so old and slow. Giving him a happy life is my other full-time job!