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It's National Love Your Pet Day!

Featured Photo from It's National Love Your Pet Day!

Two Lake Mary Life staffers share how they found and fell in love with their sweet rescue pups.

Rescue pets are the best, and our staffers Sherri Westfall and Heather Loomis are here to tell you why.


Sherri Westfall
After losing their beloved Rat Terrier, Bandit, it took our office manager Sherri Westfall and her family a few years before they were ready to welcome in new friend. “We were afraid that no other dog would compare, until we met our rescue dog Oakley,” says Sherri. While initially looking for a small-breed dog, the Westfalls fell in love with Oakley, then a nine-month-old white Boxer mix, at a local pet store adopt-a-thon.


“She had such a sweet and playful personality and crawled into my daughter Jenna’s lap as if she belonged there all along,” Sherri says reminiscently. When the Westfalls learned that another family had applied to adopt Oakley, they were heartbroken, but applied as a backup family, anyway. Fate was on their side when, two weeks later, they received a call asking if they were still interested in taking Oakley home. “She fit right in with our family,” says Sherri. “She is a great companion offering unconditional love and a happy welcome at the end of a long day. We can’t imagine our home without her.”
Heather Loomis
In the midst of a lot of change in her life, our art director Heather Loomis decided it was time to rekindle her love for dogs. “I grew up with dogs, and I knew I wanted to adopt a rescue and give one of these animals a new life,” says Heather. Knowing she wanted a small breed, Heather ended up at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. Luck prevailed as the shelter had just received several small dogs. “I took two dogs out to play, and when I threw the ball, Max brought it back to me. I knew he was the one. From that day forward, Max went everywhere with me.”


A Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix, Max was initially anti-social and resistant to men but slowly became close to Heather’s family, her father, and her husband Ryan. Max gained two sisters over the last two years: Brooklyn, a 15-year-old Italian Greyhound mix and the couple’s first child, Reagan. “Max keeps a close eye on Reagan and will always hold a special place in my heart," says Heather. "He is forever my little baby boy.”


Are you interested in becoming a parent to a rescue dog? Check out these local rescue organizations:

Pet Rescue by Judy (PRBJ)
PRBJ is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization in Sanford with a “no kill” policy dedicated to the rescue of cats and dogs. All animals are cleaned, dewormed, and tested for heartworm; have updated shots and vaccines, and are microchipped. Check out PRBJ’s adoptable and foster-ready pets at
PRBJ is open Tuesday to Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Call 407-302-4497 or email

Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando
Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando operates low-cost veterinary clinics, a full range of community outreach programs, and pet adoption shelters in Orlando and Sanford. Pets are spayed or neutered, microchipped, and provided with core vaccines. Each pet receives a free post-adoption veterinary exam. Visit or call 407-351-7722 (Sanford location) or 407-351-7722 (Orlando location) for more information.

Seminole County Animal Services – Pet Pals Adoption Program
Pet Pals helps place homeless dogs and cats into new homes with qualified Seminole County residents. Residents who are 65 or older or disabled, as well as active military personnel or military veterans, can adopt at a reduced rate of $5. Qualifying Seminole County residents also include the family care provider, who may adopt on behalf of an underage person with disabilities.

Pets are spayed or neutered, microchipped, have updated vaccines, and receive a one-year Seminole County license. Check out available adoptable pets at

The Seminole County Animal Services shelter is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Saturday for adoptions. For further information, call 407-665-5201 or email Diane Gagliano at

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