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  • Megan Vining

Message 6: Six Dogs, a Fifteen Year Old Cat, and Three Kittens

The Insanely Adorable, Mostly Well-Behaved Pets in the Vining Family

Are you a dog person or a cat person? In my family, we are both! We had a couple fish, a guinea pig, and a bunny when we were younger. However, we were never able to convince our parents to get us a dog. One day, when my older brother was at work, his co-worker was talking about a litter of puppies available for adoption. My parents needed some excitement after they retired, so we got them a PUPPY. The journey to puppy dog paradise started with a now grumpy, old man named Julio and a sweet, black lab mix named Poppy. 

Meet Poppy a.k.a Poppers, Pop Tart, Popsicle, Jalapeno Popper and Bella a.k.a Triple B’s, Big Booty Bella, Tinker Bella, Hells Belles

Owners: Hannah Vining and Terence Williams

Let me introduce you to two of our puppers in the Vining family! Meet Poppy, the black lab, and Bella, the selfie queen. Poppy is a black lab mix and was the first dog in our family. My sister Hannh first met Poppy at a local farm in Pulaski, TN where she was working at the time. A few belly rubs later, and Poppy was in love. Hannah quickly matched that love and never looked back. Hannah officially brought Poppers home and into our family in 2016, and he received all of the love he deserved. He loved people, and if you showed him love, you became his new favorite person. In his younger years, he loved chasing tennis balls. Although he was “thicc” he could outrun any dog when a ball was involved. Poppy also loved lounging. Whether it was outside in the sun or curled up on the couch, you could always catch him snoozing.

Bella is a little different than Poppers. She has a very unique quality about her! Hannah got her from my brothers’ co-worker at a few weeks old. When it was time to take Bella to the vet to get fixed, they learned that she is both male and female!! This phenomenon is mostly found in goats, but good old Beller was also a hermaphrodite. Bella loves to chase deer, wrestle with her sister Iris, escape to the outdoors when doors are opened slowly, sniff human armpits, take forever to eat her food, and supervise her human brother Josiah. Bella is so sweet and has the cutest puppy dog eyes. She has the gentlest bite when eating treats and loves to give a good kiss on the mouth to any human that comes her way… except kids, she doesn’t like those loud, tiny things! Bella hates loud noises, cicadas, fireworks, and bugs that fly around her sensitive skin. Although quirky in their own way, we love them both dearly.

Meet Iris a.k.a Baby Iris, Iri, Puppy

Owners: Charlie and Susan Vining

We move on to Iris, the prettiest dog I have ever met. I have been obsessed with her fur coat since she was a pupper. My siblings and I gifted Iris to my parents shortly after their retirement because we thought they needed a furry friend. They never let us have a dog growing up, so what better revenge than to get one for them once we were all moved out of the house! If you know Iris, you know she can’t be around you for more than five seconds without demanding a belly rub! She just turned 5 in July, and she still acts like a three month old puppy. She LOVES to play with her bestie at all hours of the day… My dad ♥ 

Iris loves getting late night snacks from my mom, like cheerios and dog treats. She loves everyone in her family, but is hesitant to meet someone new. It took her a solid four years to warm up to my sister’s fiance, shoutout Terry, but now she enjoys some pets from him after giving some side eye on his initial entrance into the house. Sometimes she gets so excited to see one of her human friends that she does a little tinkle on the floor, especially for her Aunt Jay. Iris loves to bark at humans who walk by the house and the occasional leaf that flies by. When she was younger, she loved chasing deer in the back field with her sister Bella. Now she prefers staying closer to dad and digging giant holes in the woods.

Meet Maple a.k.a Maple Bacon, Maple Biscuit, Maple Syrup, Tiny Princess and Julio a.k.a Julius, Prince, Hooty Hoo

Owner: Morgan Vining

Who doesn’t love a cute, grumpy old man? Julio is exactly that! My older brother Morgan got Julio from a co-worker who ended up being allergic to him. Julio is 10 years old and the perfect lap dog, and will take any opportunity to get comfortable. Whether you're sitting on the couch or at the dinner table, he always finds a way to sit with you. He loves laying in the sun, growling at people who get too close to his owners belongings, and making pillow forts on the bed.

Maple, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. She is a 3 year old puppy still learning the do’s and don'ts of the world. She is a Brittany Spaniel and the cutest puppy to ever exist.. In my opinion 😉 She runs like a little baby deer, has to stay away from human food, loves to wrestle with her brother, puts all her weight on you when she snuggles, and smiles extra big with her teethies when she’s excited; she is extra special when she does this, but we love her all the same.

Meet Minnie a.k.a Minerva, Baby Mins, Minnie Mins 

Owners: Reid Vining and Sophia Cherniawski

Just when I thought Maple was the cutest puppy in the family.. My brother and his girlfriend got this precious fluff ball named Minerva! And yes, she is named after the infamous Harry Potter character Professor McGonagall. Minnie joined our family in October 2023 and has been the entertainment we needed in our lives. She is everything you can think of in a puppy… adorable, curious, playful, winy, a baby demon, treat-motivated, and above all obsessed with her owners, Reid mostly ♥ It’s okay guys, Sophia would agree with this statement. Minnie loves going for walks, hikes with her four-legged friend Millie, working for treats, playing with her cousins, and is learning how to act in public places lol. We love you sooo much Minerva!

Meet Nala a.k.a Nala Bear, Buttercup, and Golden Flower and Kiwi a.k.a The Child, Kangaroo, Crazy Kiwi, and Little Monster

Owners: Laura Vining and James Atkins

Nala Bear joined our family in May 2022 after my sister took her in from a co-worker at VCA Animal Hospital. Laura was working as a vet tech assistant at the time, and one of the doctors was looking to re-home Nala. Before Laura took her in, Nala had to be completely shaven down to her boots because she disappeared in the wild for roughly fourteen days before returning home. When I first met Nala, she had a lion's mane and tail, and the cutest boots with the fur… the whole club definitely was looking at her. Nala loved to be in bed all day long! However, she did come out for the occasional play session from time to time. During her final months, she sadly developed a chronic kidney infection, and we had to say bye to her sooner than we would have liked. However, we know she is smiling down on us now, and hopefully has run into Poppy once or twice across the rainbow bridge. We like to believe that they are both outside sunbathing and enjoying the cool, summer breeze.  

Before Nala passed, Laura and James decided to take in a 2 month old rambunctious kitten, who they later named Kiwi 🥝 Kiwi, who joined the fam in June 2023, is equal parts adorable and crazy. She is not much of a snuggler, but LOVES to play! She has the biggest green eyes you have ever seen in your life, and she is probably the softest kitten I have ever met. Kiwi grew up around dogs so she loves to play with Bella and any neighboring pupper she sees. Laura is in the process of making Kiwi an outdoor/hiking kitty, so she loves being outside on harness and smelling all the smells.

And I can’t forget my adorable kitties who aren’t so baby anymore! 

Basil a.k.a Baby Baze, Bastille and Clove a.k.a Clover Dover

Owner: Megan Vining

The Outtakes: 

Sweet, Goofy, and Down Right Naughty 

(Mostly Bella)

Dedicated to: Poppy and Nala

Rest in Peace 



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