Lifestyles Cutest Pets Winners

The 2021 winners of Lifestyles Cutest Pet Contest, sponsored by Piedmont Pets Veterinary Care

First Place Winners

Warrenton: Lucy


Haymarket: Gus

Gainesville: Kayden

Second Place Winners

Warrenton: Indy

Haymarket: Sunshine

Gainesville: Dusty

Third Place Winners

Warrenton: Pancetta

Haymarket: Tilly

Gainesville: Biscuit


Warrenton: Lucy

Lucy is a five-and-a-half-year-old Retriever, and we’ve had her since July 2017. We rescued her from Mutt Love Rescue in Fairfax. 

Lucy loves to ride in the car, go for long walks on the Warrenton Greenway, visit the cows at Rady Park, check the mail, and sun herself. She loves to lick the yogurt containers after we finish our snack. She has one game she plays with herself; she chases her tail several times a day and barks at it. She has even learned she has to say grace before she can eat her meals.

Lucy has a BDF aka best dog friend named Coco. All we have to do is say Coco’s name and she gets excited because she knows she will get to ride in the car and go for a long walk with Coco.

She’s also very particular. Once, we moved her bed in the living room away from the wall. We did not move it far, but we placed a small bookshelf against the wall. She was so upset with us, for two weeks, she would not lie in that bed. Eventually she came around to it, but it took some dog treats to persuade her. 

Lucy has never met a stranger. When she sees the young children playing in the park or walking around, she goes to the down position and starts whimpering as they come to pet her. She brings joy and happiness to everyone she meets. She always brings a smile to our faces, and reminds us that it’s all about love.

--Randy Helms and Theresa Ross


Haymarket: Gus

Haymarket’s first place winner is Gus, a brindle Maltipoo whose fur mommy, Jennifer Miller, says is a shoo-in for first place “should the National Dog Show ever add a doodle division.” To find out more about your #1 cute pet pick, we talked with Jennifer about Gus. Turns out this sweet, gentle boy is about to become a big brother!

How old is Gus? 

Gus was born on April 3, 2020. As of February third he’ll be 10 months old. 

So he’s a pandemic pup! Tell us how Gus came into your life. 

For about six months, we tried to adopt a hypoallergenic dog. It proved to be extremely difficult; the dogs are in very high demand and about eight of our applications fell through. Then we found a very lovely woman who breeds only purebred maltese and mini poodles as well as Maltipoos. But her litter of Maltipoos was in such high demand that again we missed out. We didn't give up though. We made sure to reach out to her and get on the list for the next litter. We lucked out then. The litter consisted of four puppies, one male and three females. When we received an email at 11:30pm one night with pictures of two puppies, both our little Gus and a female, the decision was easy. It felt like fate that, despite all the struggles we went through and all the patience we had to muster, he was meant to be ours. 

How has Gus changed your life?

Gus has brought so much joy and love to our family, not only to my husband and me, but to our extended family as well. He has the best personality and is a true sweetheart. He loves giving kisses, being held, and is a champion snuggler. He is extremely playful and has never met another human or dog that he doesn’t love. 

I understand you’re about to have your first (human) baby. How do you think Gus is going to be with the “new kid”?

My husband and I are certain that, because Gus just loves everyone, he is going to be an affectionate, loving and protective big brother. 

Like Gainesville’s first place winner, Kayden, Gus is a rather petite guy. How does he do with bigger dogs?

He does great with all kinds of dogs. He’s friendly and playful. He’s also extremely fast and can jump higher than any dog his size should be able to. He gets such great height that, if there were a dog olympics, he'd be a gold medalist in the high jump! 

What will Gus one day be remembered for? 

We hate to think of a day in the far distant future when Gus will be a memory, and I tear up even thinking about it (so I'll blame it on the pregnancy hormones!), but he will be remembered for being an extremely attentive and sweet boy who loves giving and receiving affection, a lover of all cheeses (including the really sharp ones), a talented athlete, and a beauty. You don’t see brindle Maltipoos that often and his beautiful coat is ever-changing in color. In short, Gus will be forever remembered as one of the greatest blessings of our life. 

Gainesville: Kayden

Gainesville’s first place winner is Kayden, an adorable purebred Yorkie born in Germany whose fur mommy, Ella Alexander, describes as “full of life, playful and fun.” To find out more about your #1 cute pet pick, we talked with Ella about Kayden. Turns out this small pup is a big blessing in her life.

How old is Kayden? He’s two. He will be three in July. 

Ah, a summer baby! How did he come into your life? 

Kayden was a surprise gift for me. And he’s the best gift I have ever gotten in my life. 

How has Kayden changed your life? 

I am definitely much happier. Kayden keeps a smile on my face. He’s very energetic and because he loves being outside so much I spend a lot of time outdoors walking him. Healthwise, I feel better physically. Having Kayden in my life has increased my exercise from occasional walking to walking one to two hours or more everyday. I have more energy and have also dropped a few pounds. 

I have a feeling Kayden has helped you cope during COVID. 

You’re right. We don’t have family in the area, so he has truly been a blessing to me. Being outside and walking with him is good for me mentally, especially now. I find that it has been therapy for me and it gives me a chance to reflect on life through nature. 

Being rather diminutive, how does Kayden do with bigger dogs? 

Kayden loves dogs of all sizes. Lots of times owners of bigger dogs will move away from him but I always reassure them that it’s ok, he loves the big dogs and their owners are shocked by how well their dog reacts to him. Kayden’s also a bit of a show off. He’s a really fast runner and he likes to take off when the big dogs are watching him. 

What will Kayden one day be remembered for? 

He’ll be remembered for being friendly and well-mannered, not to mention a real cutie. He always gets compliments! He will be remembered by me for being my best friend, for always  keeping a smile on my face including in the morning when he cuddles with me and wakes me up. He will be remembered for liking to have his paws and body cleaned after his walks and for being smart. When we walk, he knows all of the different routes, he knows how to wait for the cars to pass and he stays within the crosswalks. At the end of our walk he knows exactly which house is his. Finally he will be remembered as being voted Lifestyle’s cutest pet in Gainesville. Thanks to you, your staff and most of all the voters!

Warrenton: Indy

Indy is a four-year-old Boston Terrier, and we got him in March of 2017 when he was 12 weeks old. We had fallen in love with a Boston Terrier/Pug mix at the shelter, but we didn’t get him. We knew we either wanted a Boston Terrier or a pug, and we decided to go with a Boston because of their temperament with kids and other pets. Ben knew a good breeder in PA, and we named him Indiana after the character Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  

He has served as our best friend, confidant, and fur baby, and always knows when you need some extra cuddles. One ALWAYS knows how Indy is feeling, whether it be excited, grumpy, sad, or just all around goofy. He comes along for all our adventures and steals hearts wherever he goes. We challenge anyone to not smile back at this face! 

He loves to play fetch at the Warrenton Dog Park, and he likes to play keep away with other dogs there. He’s like the energizer bunny. He doesn’t know that he’s little, he prefers to play with bigger dogs, and he really puts them in their place. It’s so funny to watch.  

He’s an only dog, and he’s a spoiled little man, and he knows it. He just loves everyone and everything, all people, all kinds of animals-he’s always running up to play. He’s one of the friendliest dogs I’ve ever met. At the same time, I feel safe when I’m home alone. He’s small but mighty. And his signature move is his twirl-he’s always spinning around.  

--Rachel and Ben Lombardo


Haymarket: Sunshine


“Birds are just as cute as dogs and cats. We just aren't represented like we should be. I'm not only bright in color but I'm a very smart guy. You should see me fetch a toothpick! I love my people and have never met a stranger. I'll sit on your shoulder all day and if you're lucky I'll sing you a beautiful song.” Sunshine Johnson, Debbie Johnson’s well-spoken Cockatiel

Gainesville: Dusty

“Besides the fact that Dusty is adorable and has the most zany personality, the look on his face pretty much sums up how we all felt during 2020!” Andrea Dotterer

Warrenton: Pancetta


Pancetta is a potbellied/guinea hog cross. She originally came to our farm as a companion to my horse, but she had other ideas and quickly fell in love with climate control inside the house!  

She is so much fun to be around! Her antics make the whole family laugh daily. She is a unique pet and she routinely attends schools and visits with children, who all really love her. 

Pancetta enjoys short walks, lots of snacks, belly rubs, and naps in the sun.  Fall and spring are her favorite seasons.  She enjoys the acorns that fall in the fall and clover in the spring.   

She is part of the family but definitely the boss of all the dogs.  She enjoys the rabbit because he eats grass alongside her.   

She is completely house trained, which most people want to know.  She was easier than any dog I have ever trained.  She sits for treats and she has a stool she will stand on as well.  She comes when her name is called unless the acorns are calling!

She was in a class play at Highland school and has made several visits to the Kindergarten class.  She was also in a “teacher kisses the pig” fundraiser at another local school. 

--Crystal Taylor


Haymarket: Tilly


“Tilly was a rescue pup who helped lift our heavy hearts after we lost our 12-year-old lab. She loves snuggles and car rides and her adorable curly tail grabs everyone's attention!”

--Laura Fawley

Gainesville: Biscuit


“Our ten-year-old Maltipoo, Biscuit, is intelligent, loyal, adventurous and adorable! His many tricks include speaking, rolling over, and walking on his hind legs which gives us lots of laughs.” Vicky Wilds

About Staff/Contributed 567 Articles
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