Since starting the blog, 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 Johnny and Ainsley Tsokos, Owners of Cream Parlor, and their Maltipoo, Lamb Chop .
Your Name: Johnny and Ainsley Tsokos
Your Pet’s Name: Lamb Chop
Ages 3 years old
Breed: Maltese/Poodle mix
How did you come to own your dog? What drew you to him?
It started off with us wanting a companion for our older dog, Turbo, as he grew more mature, so he could have a playmate. Ainsley was searching for a couple short days until she came upon an ad placed by someone out in the Ft. Myers area; the person was looking for someone to adopt his dogs – it turns out they were rescues.
The moment Ainsley saw the picture that was posted, she jumped at the chance to get him. It is important to note that Ainsley quite literally jumped when she saw the posting. You see, we had just returned home from a morning at the beach and were still in our wet and sand-riddled bathing suits when Ainsley announced her plan to drive out and pick up our new dog – and so she did!
Needless to say, Lamb Chop was meant to be.
What’s the story behind your dog’s name?
Lamb Chop comes from the sock puppet sheep of the same name, created by the late ventriloquist Shari Lewis whom we remember from way back when we were kids. Although Ms. Lewis actually debuted the puppet before we were born, we remember her routine with this cute little lamb so vividly. Seeing Lamb Chop, looking like a little lamb himself all white and fluffed out, seemed a perfect embodiment of that puppet.
How would you describe your dog’s personality?
Lamb Chop – also known as Lammie! in our house – is so much fun! He’s great to hang around with and is incredibly loyal. He instinctively knows each of our personalities – including our son, Zach’s – and interacts with each of us in our own ways.
How has owning a dog made your life richer?
In many ways, Lamb Chop makes lots of moments richer — some more nuanced and others more direct. For example, he’s excited to burst out of his bed each day to say Good Morning to us, jumping onto the bed with eager kisses and playful tail wagging. Then once either one of us comes home from a full day at Cream Parlor, he’s right there at the door, greeting us in a way that is uniquely his own: from crazy-happy kisses to all-out body-checks until we’re on the floor in a playful embrace.
It’s said that dogs reflect their owners and vice versa. How does this apply to you and yours?
That’s an interesting question! To us, he does seem reflective of us and even our moods; we call him kinetic in his own way. In other words, when we are chilled, he is all snuggles and tummy rubs. But when we are playful and energetic, so is he in kind. He picks up on our energy and reflects it back to us. It’s really great!
Tell us a funny story about you and your dog.
Lamb Chop digs into the hot laundry when it comes out of the dryer. How cute is a white puffball as it’s buried in a pile of towels and PJs? Plus, Lammie knows how to tug at our heartstrings when it comes to earning his treats. He does this thing when he goes up on his hind legs and chops through the air with his front paws. We call it “The Chop.”
Oh! And we’re also convinced he can mimic us when we tell him, “I love you.” It’s a combination of tiny sounds and yelps that really sound like he’s saying “I love you” right back at us. ☺
Are you involved in any pet organizations or philanthropies?
We make donations to various select pet organizations, but we also have our own experience rescuing a dog back in January. One afternoon, Ainsley was driving along I-95 with Zach in the car and they saw a lonely pit bull; it was sadly wandering on the side of the highway.
Instinct kicked in and Ainsley pulled over to escort the dog into the car. As dangerous as it sounded to take in a stray pit bull, the alternative of him wandering alone on that dangerous road was a far worse option. On the way home, he was named “Willow.” The family, including Lamb Chop, immediately embraced him – as he did us! – and he stayed with us until we found the right home for him. We finally were able to deliver him to a true no-kill shelter outside Miami-Dade that took him in; they have since found a suitable family for Willow.
We believe – and also teach Zach – that philanthropy, and giving back to our community, has to be ingrained in our day-to-day and in everything we do.
We follow a lot of dog social media accounts like Doug the Pug, Rocco’s Contemporary Life, and Menswear Dog. Do you? Which are your favorites?
Yes, Doug the Pug is so cute – and Bodhi the Menswear Dog is absolutely great! We also swoon at Jiff. Also, lots of our friends here in Miami (and beyond) have amazing dogs of their own, who we love seeing snaps of on Instagram, such as Hamilton Barkley. We love all our furry friends, with Miami Food Pug at the top of our list, of course! Anything that makes us smile and realize how these beautiful beings enrich our oftentimes over-complicated world.
See past editions of Wag Wednesdays here.