Over the past year, we’ve interviewed many members of the hospitality industry, and one constant among the interviewees has been a profound love for their pets. We thought it would be great to share this love with our readers. That’s why we launched an ongoing feature called “Wag Wednesday” to showcase industry peeps and their pets. Know someone who wants to be featured? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, we’re featuring Tony Velazquez, Chef de Cuisine of Seagrape at Thompson Miami Beach, and his French bulldog, Bodhi.
Your Name: Tony Velazquez
Your Pet’s Name: Bodhi
Breed: French Bulldog
How did you come to own your dog? What drew you to him?
I loved the dog breed and wanted one for a couple years, but always hesitated because I knew how many dogs needed to be rescued. Lucky for me, I had a good friend working with the Miami-Dade animal shelter and told him to keep his eye out for a Frenchie. One day, I got a text with a picture of this brindle Frenchie and knew I had to meet him.
I went to the shelter, and it was an immediate connection. He jumped into my lap and gave me this big hug — it was within those 4 seconds that I knew this guy needed a good, loving home.
How would you describe your dog’s personality?
His personality is real “Meat and Potatoes ” — THE most loving dog in the world. Sometimes, it’s a bit much but you can’t help but to give in to that squished face and those big bat ears. If Bodhi was human, he would be that friend that goes with the flow — maybe a little high on life. He is “The Dude.”
How has owning a pet made your life richer?
My fiancé and I could be having the most stressful day, but when we get home, Bodhi comes racing down the hall from the bedroom — probably laying under the covers of our bed as he knows he isn’t allowed to — and just throws himself at you, showering you in love. One of my favorite things — you other dog lovers will get this — is the joy you see on a dog’s face when they are riding in the car with their heads out of the window. Priceless.
It’s said that dogs reflect their owners and vice versa. How does this apply to you and yours?
Very much so. Bodhi and I are both very loving, but we definitely can be as stubborn as a mule.
Tell us a funny story about you and your dog.
We had been walking by Shake Shack when a little girl, maybe 2 years old, wanted to pet him. So we stopped Bodhi, and she had a burger in her right hand and was petting him with her left. Well, she got so excited that she just threw the burger on the floor, started petting him with both hands, and well, Bodhi didn’t mind because he got to enjoy half a Shake Shack cheeseburger. It was all too funny. I’m glad it wasn’t a milkshake — he is lactose intolerant.
Are you involved in any pet organizations or philanthropies?
Currently, I just signed up as a supporter for the Save-A-Vet.org, Military & Law Enforcement Working Dog Rescue and Support. So many working dogs are forgotten about after their tours or employment that they deserve to be rescued and given great, loving homes.
We follow a lot of dog social media accounts like Doug the Pug and Menswear Dog. Do you? Which are your favorites?
See past editions of Wag Wednesdays here.