The Secret Life of Pets (& their owners)
May 3, 2022
Fashion & Beauty
Carolyne Loreé Teston
Carolyne Loreé Teston
Anyone who has ever had a special relationship with an animal knows that our pets make us the best version of ourself. Having them not only changes the way we think and care for others, it’s also a crash course on parenting that isn’t for the faint at heart. Our pets are always there for us, without judgment, even on our worst days. They sit with us, love us unconditionally, and help us grow up a little bit more. They make us feel like anything is possible and remind us that magic actually is real. The love you share with your snake, sphynx cat, bird or horse is different than any other love you’ve had before and it’s hard to describe just how much it means.
If it’s your first pet or your twelfth, your pet is more than your pet, it’s your companion, the possibility for greatness, and if it’s your thing, it’s an opportunity to care for something other than yourself. However you found each other, you saved each other for the better and that’s the nicest thing anyone could hope for. Photographer Carolyne Lorreé Teston asked some of her friends to share their pet love stories. What sparked a conversation turned into incredibly loving anecdotes that inspire us to hug our loved ones and favorite furry (or scaly) friends a little bit more.
Talk to us a little bit about how you and your pet found each other…
Amoeba and I got together because of the pandemic. He made an unfortunate time in my life so sweet. I wanted a cat companion for some time and had learned about Sphynx cats. I leaped when I found a family on craigslist whose two sphynx cats made a litter. He was the last one left and the second I arrived he jumped right into my bag.
I wanted a ball python for a long time, but couldn’t afford one until I got my first job out of college. A week into the job, I was already scouring the internet for every snake breeder in America, requesting catalogs and family trees. I decided on my favorite breed and found a breeder in Detroit who had been breeding snakes for like, fifty generations, which was important to me. I wanted a sweet snake. After seeing the pictures of the most recent nest, Gala was a no-brainer. Her spots were perfectly placed. They shipped her to the gallery I worked at in the smallest little box. She was tiny like a worm and so docile. And to be clear, she was the first snake I ever met, and still the only one I’ve met, 4 years later!
Ollie Pocket and I met on April 1, 2017. I had a childhood friend visiting from Georgia, and by her last day in NYC, we’d spent all our money and wanted to do something cute but free. I suggested we go visit an animal shelter and hopefully walk one of the dogs. We went to Barc Shelter in Williamsburg, and when 9-month-old Ollie and I locked eyes my heart completely melted, grew, and broke all at the same time. I immediately applied for him, and they let me take him home a week later. Having Ollie and his love has elevated my life and warmed me in ways I never knew were possible.
Carolyne & Ollie
Mia & Chama
Laura, Nir & Ouzo
We found each other by fate and destiny.
I hadn’t planned on getting a dog, but fate brought us together. Bruno was a life raft in an ocean of solitude. He’s big on snuggling, and that’s just what was missing from my life.
Laura & Nir
Ouzo came to us first from a pet store in Greenpoint. It’s not a great environment for animals, and she was predictably very hesitant around humans. Over the years, it was pretty spectacular to watch her warm up and slowly begin to trust us, though not entirely- just enough to join us when we bribed her with food or she got too curious about what Oso was up to with us. Sadly, Ouzo passed away since these photos were taken, so it’s pretty special to have her commemorated like this. She was a really interesting and sweet lady. After deciding not to support the pet store system anymore, Oso came to us via a Craigslist ad. We drove out to New Jersey and brought him back in a teeny cage, and he was loving and curious from the beginning.
There’s two stories about how George and I met each other. The first is that I saw him walking down the street, picked him up and we fell in love. The second is the real story. We are in love either way so I’ll keep the story about how we actually met a secret.
What makes your relationship with your pet different from other relationships you have?
Amoeba is a total libra through and through. He’s super friendly and social and he always wants to be in the mix. When I have friends over he doesn’t shy away, he’ll run right up to a friend, sit on their lap and demand attention. He’s playful and talkative, but he also has a bitchy, moody side to him. He can be super petty. He’s different from my friends in the sense that my relationships are usually super peaceful. He’s the source of the drama in my life. My roommate once said that he plays hard and cuddles even harder.
Brian & Gala
Well, she’s a snake, so you can imagine. She feels more like a mythical creature than a pet. There’s no communication between us. I sacrifice dead rats to her, and her heavy body breaks all the plants I give her. She returns it with her magical energy: she’s in all my dreams, I taught her how to give me a kiss, and one day she’ll lay eggs.
My relationship with Ollie is completely amorphous. We’re mother and son, best friends, we’re certainly in love and at times we even fight like sisters! The love I have with Ollie is unconditional and feels so pure. He sees me how I hope to be perceived, and taking care of him is truly an honor. Being accountable and reliable for him has helped shape my self-concept and has given me a lot of confidence. My life became sweeter and more authentic when Ollie entered it. On a lighter note, he is the silliest little creature I know, and it feels like we’re constantly making each other laugh!
Chama and I are soulmates.
Bruno brings out the best in me, more than anyone I’ve ever met. The greatest compliment is to hear that he and I seem alike — I think that has more to do with his influence than mine 🙂
Laura & Nir
They have their own society that we think we understand, but surely we don’t see even a fraction of it. They depend on us, even if we can’t claim them on our taxes. It’s a big responsibility, and it changes the way you prioritize your time.
Enga & Amobea
Mia & Chama
Andrew & Bruno
Jo & George