dogs

Masters of the House

When you shut the door, you give them the floor. These dogs gone wild.

Lisa Marie Hart Home & Design, Real Estate

dogs
Rudy and Skeeter, 4- and 6-year-old Chihuahuas with Gus, a 4-year-old yellow Labrador retriever.
PHOTOS BY DAVID BLANK

Rudy and Skeeter, 4- and 6-year-old Chihuahuas
Gus, a 4-year-old yellow Labrador retriever

Proud owners: Melanie and Richard Scherer, founders of nonprofit animal 
organizations Luke’s Legacy Foundation and the SNIP Bus, which helps provide low-cost 
spay and neuter options locally

Melanie and Richard Scherer built their dream home six years ago at The Hideaway in La Quinta. Rudy and Skeeter are rescues. “Gus is truly an angel in fur,” Melanie says. “Not pictured is the doll of my heart, Daisy. My love, my crazy girl, my 15-year-old Jack Russell terrier.” Melanie says not a day goes by that the dogs do not make her and Richard laugh. “Our dogs are truly our entire lives. They are the reason my husband and I started our foundations. Both benefit the animals of the Coachella Valley. All proceeds go directly to the animals; the foundations’ boards receive zero compensation.” In its first five months, the mobile service SNIP Bus completed more than 1,200 low-cost spays and neuters. Each month, the Scherers also donate generously to the Humane Society of the Desert’s food budget — which helps provide meals to the largest animal sanctuary in Southern California, founded in 1961.

Naughtiest moment

The Chihuahuas love rounding up our big Lab. They chase him around the house and nip at his heels. Gus always has a smile on his face and loves their attention.

angelic when

They are all on the 
bed in the evening. We wind down our day and snuggle together. There is nothing I cherish more.

favorite spot

Our living room couch. They all know that is a no-no, yet it is still their prized spot!

who rules the house?

Skeeter. He “talks” nonstop.

Clarke Kent, a French bulldog
Gidget Kent, a Brussels griffon, both 10 ½ years old

Proud owner: Leisa Austin, owner of Imago Galleries in Palm Desert

Clarke Kent was born wearing a brindle cape; Gidget Kent hails from Kent, Washington. (Leisa Austin picked her up during a trip to visit artist Dale Chihuly in Seattle.) This happy family lives above Imago Galleries in Palm Desert, a fine art space celebrating 25 years in the desert. Austin built the 18,000-square-foot building 17 years ago. The lofty second floor, open to the gallery below, now serves as her residence. “I moved in three years ago and feel like a city girl,” Austin says. “I love that I can walk to local restaurants and shops on El Paseo.” The sculpture garden and terrace not only make an excellent outdoor living and entertaining space, they’re also a fun playground for Austin and her pups, who work for a living. “They love being in the gallery greeting visitors and collectors,” she notes. “They are excellent listeners and equally good communicators. And incredible guard dogs.”

Naughtiest moment

When they were puppies, I caught them tussling over a gorgeous Oscar de la Renta pump. I sat them down and we had a heart-to-heart, the only manner in which they have ever been disciplined. They never bothered another shoe and my closet has been open ever since.

Angelic when

In bed. They are sweet sleepers and good cuddlers. They both dream vividly. Gidget has a delightful snore. Clarke sleeps under the covers, touching me throughout the night. Thus I am more homebody than world traveler. I prefer to be home sleeping with them than in an elegant hotel.

Favorite spot

Wherever I am, whether snuggling on a Pucci chair, Milo Baughman sofa, or William Wegman–designed dog bed.

Who rules the house?

I rule the house. They own my heart.

Prissy, a 10-year-old Pomeranian

Proud owners: Butch and Vicki Holmes, Bighorn members

Presenting Miss Prissy and her mom’s stylish closet at Bighorn Golf Club. Prissy is actually a “parti Pomeranian,” meaning one parent had a sable coat and the other wore white. (Prissy herself likes to dress for parties. She once wore a wedding dress.) When owners Butch and Vicki Holmes brought her home, they also brought a mate for her named Pinot. The breeder said they would be heartbroken without each other. After Pinot passed away a few years ago, however, a new Prissy emerged — strutting her stuff at Bighorn’s dog park, trying to get the big dogs to notice her, and enjoying her extensive fashion collection of girlie clothes and toy purses. Snowbirds from Texas, the Holmes have lived in their seasonal residence at Bighorn for more than 15 years. The desert contemporary design and golf course views are up to Prissy’s high standards.

Naughtiest moment

Showing off for 
the big dogs at 
the dog park.

angelic when

Sleeping under the covers with her head on her dad’s pillow.

Favorite spot

The bed.

Who rules the house?

Prissy.

BB, a 12-year-old black Labrador retriever

Proud owner: Bill Nicholson, owner of Flooring Innovations in 
Cathedral City and Palm Desert

In 2005, Bill Nicholson purchased his North Palm Springs home from its original owners: the family who built it in 1946. He returned its exterior paint to the original color and completely renovated the interior. “Everything was done with BB in mind. It’s a big dog house,” Nicholson says. “After all, he rescued me from the Indio animal shelter.”

Naughtiest moment

I was showering to go out. I had placed my favorite belt on my dressing chair. After showering, I couldn’t find it anywhere. He threw it up in my bed the next morning.

angelic when

Every morning as he wakes up. He lays his head on my chest and won’t move until I have massaged him to his satisfaction.

favorite spot

My bed. He owns the bed. I find myself sleeping around him 
as he adjusts to his comfort.

who rules the house?

Jointly, or so I think…

Mr. Boo and Koby, 5-year-old poodles

Proud owners:
James Claude and Miguel Linares, owners of a La MOD in Palm Springs

“My sister got them from a bad breeder situation,” says James “Jimmy” Claude, who rescued these fluffy brothers from the same litter with his partner of 19 years, Miguel Linares. Known as “the boys,” the poodles lounge about the men’s William Krisel–designed home in Canyon View Estates. “When we got them, Mr. Boo had a lot of emotional issues and was a scraggly thing — a skeleton with a ball of hair. Koby was really sickly. He barked at everything. Now they’ve turned into sweet dogs. Koby is my little shadow. Boo is more attached to Miguel. The moment Miguel comes in, I don’t exist anymore. When Miguel leaves, I’m Boo’s best friend again.” The couple’s third dog is Jack, a 14-year-old black poodle. They recently expanded their space at a La MOD, an ever-changing gallery of vintage furniture, accessories, and artwork in Uptown Palm Springs. “We mix our vintage items with [work by] local artists such as Max Rodriguez, Robert Larkin, John Newman (a New York transplant who creates sculptures of all sizes), and Brent Bennett, a world-renowned potter who does ’60s designs. Their work coexists well with the midcentury pieces.”

Naughtiest moment

Whenever we buy them a new toy, Boo rips it to shreds. He is diligent and he will work to get that squeaker out. Or, I’ll be really into a movie, and Boo wants me to play with his toy. And he is relentless! It’s not naughty, just annoying.

angelic when

We go to Catalina. 
We stay on our 50-foot boat and they are the most comfortable dogs on the water. I’m not sure if it’s the ocean or the rocking of the waves, but they listen really well and love being in the dinghy. They also love going to the store, each in their own cart. They’re like little people.

favorite spot

Koby likes the end of the sofa. And he has to be touching my left leg wherever I am. Boo loves the middle of the sofa and the bench in our TV room, where he crosses his two front paws and looks out the window 
— very regal.

who rules the house?

I’m top dog. But between the dogs, I would say Jack. He is very protective and they respect him.

Masters of the House was last modified: February 1st, 2017 by Lisa Marie Hart