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Pets: ‘A love beyond our own’

Tristan Skye

As is the case with many blended families, it wasn’t easy for Tristan Skye to win over his girlfriend Sicily’s young one, a fiery teacup Chihuahua known as Cleo to friends, Cleopatra to admirers.

“We’ve kind of joked around about how she’s kind of like my stepdaughter,” Tristan Skye says. “It took a little bit of work because she didn’t take so well to me at first — she liked me, but she’d still be very territorial and very protective of my wife. But Sicily just said that it would take some time, and it did, and now we’re very close.”

The couple adopted a Pomeranian named Vinnie a year ago, who was supposed to be their last dog. However, after unsuccessful attempts to add a human baby to their family, an angel in the form of a five-week teacup Chihuahua appeared to help alleviate their disappointment.

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Pets: ‘Lick the tears off my face’

Paris and Lulu

In the summer of 2008, Paris Johnson’s friend urged him to get a puppy from a litter of Boxers, but Johnson didn’t believe he was ready to devote himself to a new pet just six months after burying his companion of 16 years, a dog named Jazz. However, just seeing a picture of the freckled-nose dog that looked like a miniature version of Snoopy changed his mind.

“It was a good transition to a new dog, but it was like a baby, getting up at god-awful hours to get her acclimated to her new surrounding,” Johnson says of his two-year-old Boxer, LuLu. “I had to get used to her yelping in the middle of the night and having to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning so she could pee, and all of that stuff was brand new.”

Johnson considers his dogs his children, and talks about them as such.

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Pets: ‘Sweetie’ earns her name, and place

Sweetie the cat

Their only interactions were on opposite sides of the screen door — contemptuous staring matches that would have been much uglier had a barrier not separated them.

Inside the house was Casey, a tabby cat who had been his owner’s only feline until Sweetie arrived on the scene. Sweetie was on the outside, where she had been since her earliest days of life, when her mother dropped her and three littermates in Gordon Dyker’s carport in 1997.

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MEGA Family Vacation heads to Lake Lanier

After four years of hosting its popular MEGA Family Vacation at Tybee Island, the nonprofit organization that serves LGBT families is moving the annual retreat to Lake Lanier this year.

Kathy Kelly, executive director of MEGA Family Project, says the downturn in the economy played a major role in moving the vacation spot. Tybee Island lodging costs, plus travel expenses for many of the metro Atlanta and North Georgia families who attend the vacation, were simply too high this year, she says.

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HRC’s ‘Gospel & Unity’ puts faith in equality

The Human Rights Campaign’s Gospel & Unity celebration is back and in full effect this year, organizers say.

The ninth annual event will take place Saturday, July 24, at the First Metropolitan Community Church from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“We do the event to bring the community together and connect with LGBT partners,” says Ebonee Bradford, a member of the HRC Board of Governors for Diversity and Inclusion.