Precious Pets


This dog and gecko keep their family entertainment. 


The Whipple family sits comfortably in their brand new Pleasant View home while their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Lewis, does remarkable tricks. Dr. Ian Whipple, Optometrist at Vision Source of Farr West, and his wife Taunya help their two young children, Grant and Gwen, throw snacks to their family pet after each trick he performs.

Chatting with the Whipple family, I find they have some entertaining pet stories. Ian remembers having odd pets while growing up while Taunya’s veterinarian father frequently brought pets home for her family to enjoy.

While living in Ohio nine years ago attending optometry school, they talked about getting a dog. They liked the look of long-shag hair and preferred a non-shedding, medium-sized dog.

Lewis, the sheepdog they agreed upon, has acquired many talents like shaking hands, spinning, giving high fives, rolling over, and going under legs, since he’s been a part of their family.

Taunya has spent hours upon hours teaching Lewis new tricks. He plays Frisbee surprisingly well, and Ian recounts that while living in Ohio and Boise, he and Lewis competed in multiple dog Frisbee competitions. Although never taking first place, Lewis was the only sheepdog in the competitions. He stood out with his smaller size and shaggy appearance. The other competitors were astounded to see how well he could catch a Frisbee.

Although Lewis has numerous endearing qualities, he also tests the family’s patience on a daily basis. Ian talks about Lewis’ extreme food obsession, especially with spaghetti.

“If you hold up a long spaghetti noodle, he just slurps it right up.”

He adds, “I swear, he thinks he’s never going to get another meal. He’s gotten up on the table and eaten entire meals when our backs were turned.”

Taunya adds, “Our kids have to walk around with their food way up in the air so he doesn’t get it.”

She continues,“One time, the fridge was slightly open and we came home and he ate everything in the whole fridge.” She said they were terrified because his stomach was distended. She also talks about the time he ate Xylitol gum. “He made the front page of the Columbus newspaper warning owners of the dangers of Xylitol to dogs.”

He laughs about it now, but Ian remembers when Lewis ate an entire extravagant Italian cake that was being saved for Christmas. He also said that Lewis once ate 20 pounds of dog food at once because they had forgotten to put the bag up.

Taunya adds that the poor dog once ate a year’s worth of heart guard medicine. “We’ve called my dad a million times because of all the things he’s eaten.” She jokes that he’s probably on life number 11.

Also, Taunya frequently warns her son Grant to keep his pet gecko away from the food-loving Lewis. Cutie the gecko is a one-of-a-kind yellow-spotted gecko.

Grant brags that Cutie is his best friend because he gets to sleep in his room. Gwen’s favorite thing about Cutie is that she gets to feed him mill worms and crickets. Something interesting about their pet gecko is that he sheds his skin about once a month. After shedding his skin, he will eat it.

The Whipples’ pets are both special members of their family. Cutie the gecko and Lewis the dog are definitely precious pets.

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