Occupation: Restaurateur and nonprofit founder
Dog: Babe, 2, French bulldog
How’d you meet? My oldest daughter lives in New York and was seven months pregnant with her first child. She decided that her French bulldog needed a companion. She got this dog from Hawaii, hired a puppy nanny to bring the dog to Indianapolis, and came to visit the dog—and realized she had no room in her life for another dog. So my husband and I have had the dog ever since.
What’s the big deal about French bulldogs? They’re very good city dogs. They like to sleep a lot and don’t need a ton of exercise. Babe looks outside and sees it’s raining, and she’s like, I think I’ll just stay in.
How do you have a dog with your crazy schedule? When I travel or if I’m opening up a restaurant or something and can’t really spend time with her, she’ll stay with her amazing trainer, Brad Phifer. We joke that we co-parent her.
Treats? She will kill you for a slice of watermelon.
Occupation: Radio personality and host of The Bob & Tom Show
Dogs: Dunder, 8, Golden retriever, and Winnie, 1, English Cream Golden retriever
How did you find these guys? I got Dunder from a breeder in Missouri. More recently, some friends of mine had a dog from another breeder, and I’d never seen a dog that affectionate and chill. By chance, I ran into another dog from the same breeder, Majestic Manor Goldens in Sheridan, a few days later. I went up there, they brought Winnie out, and it was love at first sight.
What’s a big treat for them? They both think that carrots are meat.
Biggest doggy disaster? Another of our dogs, Mac, swallowed a chew toy whole. To do surgery, they had to literally eviscerate him. He’s fine now, and the dogs eat Nutri Chomps, which are a safe alternative.
Occupation: Point guard, Indiana Pacers
Dog: Ash, 1, pit bull mix
Where did you find Ash? The Humane Society. I wanted to save a dog.
Why pick him? He just showed the most love, I guess. When we walked by, he got up and started barking. When we walked away, he started barking. When we pet him, he started barking.
Why do you two get along? He’s nice and quiet. He’s always been calm—even when he was younger, he didn’t really bark or cry. He loves being pet and loves people.
T. J. McConnell
Occupation: Point guard, Indiana Pacers
Dog: Zona, 3, boxer-beagle mix
“Zona”? I went to the University of Arizona, so I just shortened that.
How did you get her? My wife, Valerie, and I rescued her as an 8-week-old puppy. Valerie did a lot of the research, and I just saw a picture of her and fell in love with her and we called and inquired about her. We drove out to Shamokin, Pennsylvania—it’s near Penn State—to get her.
What made her worth the drive? It was the photo that did it. And it was weird—her brother and sisters were in this pen when we walked in, and she was the first one that jumped up when we came over, so it was kind of a match made in heaven.
Where does she sleep? In the bed. Between both of us.
Occupation: Anchor, WTHR-13
Dog: Rico, 3, Shih Tzu
Where did you get him? We had been looking specifically for a Shih Tzu, and after visiting a number of shelters and not finding one, I happened to be on social media and ran across a private breeder’s page showing our little guy. We fell in love with Rico’s sweet face, and we knew that he was “the one.” We drove to Chicago to pick him up.
His favorite things? Rico loves cuddling and snuggling, tummy rubs, and when we blow gentle puffs of air in his face. He absolutely loves bacon. When he smells us cooking it, he runs to the kitchen and waits for his slice.
Where are his hangouts? He enjoys sitting on the front porch to watch me garden. He likes walking our neighborhood, and the downtown Canal.
Does he watch you on TV? I’m told he does!
Occupation: Governor of Indiana
Dog: Henry, 9, miniature Schnauzer
Is he named after anyone? Henry the Explorer, because he’s always following his snout.
Does the First Dog have any state duties? There was a fundraiser where a lunch with me was up for bid, and I got an urgent call from my friend who asked, “Can you guarantee Henry will be at the lunch?” I said, well, yes, I can still speak for my dog, I guess! He’ll be there! Bidding shot way up at the last minute, and Henry went along to the lunch.
You have a “pet” project. ICAN, the Indiana Canine Assistant Network, connects dogs with prisoners, who teach them how to be therapy dogs. Sometimes it’s the first time someone who’s incarcerated has ever experienced unconditional love in their life. It’s been around for years, but we’re continuing to elevate it.
Occupation: IndyCar driver
Dogs: Taj, 16, Siberian husky, and Lilah, 7, Labrador retriever
We hear these dogs have superpowers. Taj is our daughter’s self-appointed protector; he follows about a foot behind her as she toddles around the house, and blocks her from anything dangerous, like the staircase. Lilah is my protector. She was trained by Medical Mutts here in Indy, and she’s a certified service dog. I was diagnosed as diabetic just over 12 years ago, and she is my extra level of security should my blood sugar drop.
Favorite things to do in Indy? They like visiting Eagle Creek so Taj can bounce around and Lilah can wade in the lake. We walk the Monon and take them to Mass Ave, where they drink water from bowls at dog-friendly restaurants. The Monday morning after the Indianapolis 500, our tradition is to take them to the patio at Cafe Patachou.
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Dogs package here.