Boise Residents Share Stories about Their Furry Best Friends

The relationship between humans and dogs has long been a natural part of life. For these Boise residents, their dogs are their family, going on hikes, cuddling and even visiting their offices. Learn how these locals welcomed their pets into their homes and what makes each of their canine companions so special.

Chelsea and Shaun Whitney 

Tell us about yourselves.

We both work in the construction industry. I am a designer, and my husband works as a hardware consultant. We love the outdoors and traveling. Our goal is to visit all the national parks. 

Tell us about your pets.

We have two rescue dogs. Opie is a lab/pitbull mix. He’s the master of snuggling and loves to just be cuddled and told how handsome he is. Stella is an English shepherd mix. We didn’t pick her, she picked Opie, and they have been best friends since. She’s an athlete. She loves to play fetch until your arm falls off. They both like to play a game we call “lap game” where you sit on the floor cross-legged and Stella sits in your lap and Opie tries to wrestle her. You gotta help her keep him back, and if it gets real good he’ll start to howl!

What do you and your pets enjoy doing together? 

We travel as much as we can with them. Opie isn’t great in a car, but they both love going places. We play with them a lot and have cuddle dog piles and laugh about how we’re all a pack. 

Share a funny or interesting story about your pets. 

Opie likes to fluff his bed. He’s a dog of leisure that way. One night he just kept fluffing and fluffing, dragging the bed across the floor until he got to Stella’s bed where she was laying. He didn’t stop and just fluffed that bed right up on top of her. He laid down, and she just kept laying there and we knew then that our dogs were weirdos. 

Shelby Bills 

Tell us about yourself.

I am an Idaho girl, born and raised. I am the co-owner and managing partner of Graeber & Company Salon and Day Spa in Downtown Boise and GRAE Salon and the Barber Shop at GRAE in the Boise Bench/Vista area. I live in beautiful southeast Boise with my two amazing kids—Kie, 10, and Kira, 8—and our newest addition, Teddy B! We enjoy spending quality time just loving life and creating new experiences and memories together. 

Tell us about your pet. 

Teddy B. is our 5-month-old mini goldendoodle. He is so silly and loves to play. He is fun and outgoing but also super cuddly too! So far we all enjoy going to the park and playing tug-o-war, and the kids love to each take turns taking him on walks around our neighborhood. 

Tell us how you chose your pet. 

After many years of telling my kids they had to wait until Kie was 10 and Kira 7 to get a dog…they began adding more pressure after Kie’s 10th birthday this last September. Integrity is my core value, and my word is very important so I began the search for our next family member. My son is allergic to most dogs. When we met Teddy B. he was giving Kie lots of kisses, and there were no rashes so I told them, “Kids, we’re getting a puppy today!” They were ecstatic! 

Share a funny or interesting story about your pet.

Teddy B. graduated from puppy training recently. In his cap and gown, he stood so proud—we laughed so much just watching him sit so well and stretch his neck out. It was like he was grinning from ear to ear!

Rachel Johnson  

Tell us about yourself.

I own Health Benefits of Idaho, specializing in individual, Medicare and employer health insurance. I’m passionate about finding answers to insurance needs…including community and technology solutions. I love the outdoors: camping, fishing, snow skiing, walks and hikes. I’ve been blessed to be married for 30 years to the love of my life and to share this world with two children and two grandchildren. One of my many passions in life is reading and writing. I hope to write a book someday.

Tell us about your pet.

Chichi is a deer chihuahua who loves to go to the office with me and dances with excitement over exploring nature through our hikes together. He is very social and loves people. Clients often hold him in their laps or pet him while he snuggles up next to them. He is a unique chihuahua. He loves most fruits and vegetables—the only thing he stays away from is fresh onions. He got to enjoy watching the eclipse in Arco this last summer with his special goggles—a true lifetime event for him.

What do you and your pet enjoy doing together?

He enjoys our adventurous trips camping, hiking and swimming. A favorite activity is hiking with me to the top of Table Rock. He is a trooper and just loves the social aspects of the hike with all the dogs and people interactions. He is also a source of encouragement for others, and many people ask me, “Does he really get to the top?” Yes, he does.

Tell us how you chose your pet.

He was a housewarming gift from my sister to help me transition into the next season of life called “Empty Nester” after my last child graduated from high school.

Mechele Duke

Tell us about yourself.

I have been doing hair for 22 years and started Rain Salon & Spa in 2008. I love it! We are an Aveda lifestyle salon and spa offering everything from hair to nails to skin treatments and massage. I am a workaholic, but I do try to find time for vacation where I can unplug and focus on my family. I like snowmobiling and hiking, spending time in nature. Two of the many charities I support are Idaho Rivers United and Camp Rainbow Gold.

Tell us about your pets.

I have two pets: Miley, a black lab; and Copper, a bluetick coonhound. They are my kid’s pets—they got them for their birthdays—but they know who takes care of them. We should have done more research on coonhounds because he is a handful! But he has grown into our family. 

What do you and your pets enjoy doing together?

They love the dog park and spending time in the mountains and hiking. Copper’s nose gets him into trouble, though. On a hike out at Swan Falls, Miley alerted us of a rattlesnake, but he gave it a sniff and jumped over it. He was lucky that day. He is only 2! He also likes to sing to the banjo. Singing is a loose term as it is a loud howling. Miley is the best dog. She is just mellow and loves to be petted nonstop. She is 9 and not as active as she used to be, but she’s still up for an adventure. Life is not the same without animals to love and love you! They provide a lot to a family, and that is what they are—our family!

Sarah Cunningham 

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a Boise native and a doting mom of a phenomenal young man, Champion, who has a wise soul, is caring, humorous and intellectually creative. We’ve shared a colorful adventure in this life together so far, and I’m so grateful he chose me to be his mom. My businesses are Ethos Design+Remodel and Ethos Real Estate at Silvercreek Realty Group with a couple others in the incubator. I help people find happiness at home through thoughtful design and ensure quality workmanship in the remodel process. I love hiking—the trails are where I go to find spiritual insight, inspiration and calm; kayaking on friendly waters and spontaneous adventures. I support causes that care for our public lands and safeguard our environment. I support local artists, culture and music for our burgeoning city.

Tell us about your pet. 

Our girl Lucy is a Mountain View Cur. Don’t think less of her for the term “Cur” in her breed name; she comes with papers. She is strong, loyal, ornery, protective, sweet, intelligent, fierce and friendly. She’s an alpha female who likes to let you know at first greet who’s really in charge. She will nip at her cat-sister, Bailee, if Bailee is receiving attention and she attacks our loud chicken, Brittney. Erykah is the quiet, introverted chicken, and Lucy doesn’t seem to mind her.  

What do you and your pet enjoy doing together?

Hiking and exploring the mountains on off-leash trails are our favorite times together. She’s a natural mountain girl like me, so we make a natural trail-trekking team. Unless of course there’s thunder and/or rain—these conditions send Lucy running for cover under the jeep. On the trails, Lucy is socially outgoing and friendly with most dogs and humans.