Before my daughter, there was my fur baby, Charlie. Neither my husband nor I grew up with dogs, so this was a new venture for both of us. We weren’t entirely prepared for midnight wake-ups, accidents and her love of chewing all things plastic. But love trumped gnawed power cords, earbuds and flip-flops (yup, every pair I owned), and we couldn’t imagine life without her. She paved the way for our daughter, and though my attention is now divided, I still find time to snuggle with Charlie on the couch. That’s why this is the kids and pets issue—because sometimes our babies happen to have fur. 

Occasionally they have feathers and scales as well, something Dr. Peter Hill knows firsthand as owner/veterinarian at PetCare Animal Hospital. In addition to the usual canines and felines, he treats snakes, turtles, emus and even bald eagles. Did we mention he happens to be the vet at the Newport Aquarium? Loveland’s pretty lucky to have this exotic animal expert right in our hometown. Check out his tale (pun intended) in “From Puppies to Penguins.”

I’m also particularly excited to share Sampson’s story with you. Running our first-ever Loveland Lifestyle cover dog contest, Sampson came up the clear winner. His journey to his forever home with the Mikulas was anything but easy, but he’s a resilient pup who loves his family (and his Frisbee). Find his incredible story on our final page.

Now for the kiddos. There are so many wonderful nonprofits dedicated to helping children, but it’s always amazing to hear of one that not only benefits kids but is also orchestrated by kids. When they were just 8 years old, Alex and Hannah Laman started Adopt a Book to provide books to underprivileged kids. Nearly nine years later, they’ve donated more than 150,000 books—no small feat for two pairs of small hands. Learn more about Adopt a Book in “Kids Helping Kids.” 

Likewise, Recreations Outlet is no stranger to helping children. Supporting neighborhoods, giving back to local charities, getting your kids to love the outdoors … it’s all in “Community Strong, Activity-Driven.”

Last, what parent isn’t looking for advice on saving for college? Family Wealth Advisory Group dishes some top-notch tips on making the right choices—and how and when to start. 

All our babies—two legs or four—are covered in this issue.