The secret life of The Peak’s pets

The Peak turn the spotlights on their biggest supporters — their pets

Illustration: Victor Yin

By: Harvin Bathal, Juztin Bello, Kelly Chia, Nicole Magas

OK, I’ll admit it the power of being the Features editor has finally gotten to my head. When the opportunity to interview The Peak’s beautiful animals had been taken with gusto, I got the chance to publish the piece of my dreams. So here it is: up close and personal with our most precious pets.

Photo: Harvin Bathal

Today has been a good day for Malki (left) and Toby (right), but they’re tired now. “We went on such a nice walk today, all around the farm,” Malki barked to The Peak. Toby chimes in, “Yes, yes, good walk, yes!” 

Malki is a Great Dane and Bull Mastiff mix (75%-25%). She’s a little older, the alpha, if you will. Her attitude isn’t present in moments like these because she’s happy but oh does she have an attitude.

Toby is a Pitbull and Bull Mastiff mix (75%-25%). He’s just a happy little fellow. His day begins with a big yawn and stretches, and then he immediately starts playing with his big sister.

He looks up to Malki, but sometimes, she gets annoyed by him. It happens when you live with someone.

But one thing they’ve always been appreciative of is living on a farm.

“The space!” excitedly barks Toby, “So much space!!!”

Rolling her eyes at Toby, unimpressed, “Yes, there is a lot of space. It’s a dog’s dream, the fresh air and open grass field,” she pauses, “That’s how you give a response.”

Toby, who lacks self-awareness, continues on with his day, wagging his tail, as if he didn’t just hear that. He lives in blissful innocence.

But when it’s time to sleep, they become inseparable. They’re each other’s blankets, snuggled in their sleeping area.

“Toby is Toby but at least he’s warm,” Malki barks.

“Toby is warm, Toby is happy,” Toby concludes.

– HB

Photo: Juztin Bello

On any given day at any given time, passersby of the Bello household will be greeted by the sight of two fluffy heads poking their little snouts against the window in the front room, looking curiously at the world going by. On their tiny hind legs with their fuzzy butts shaking excitedly in anticipation, and often accompanied by the sound of delighted woofs, these two lovable pups yearn for and anticipate whatever that given day has in store for them. 

The two puppies in question, Tobi (age one, right) and Hershey (age four, left) are both Pembroke Welsh Corgis with a thrill for adventure and love for the occasional banana — as a treat. 

Hershey, born on Christmas Eve, came to the Bello household at the age of one and has been a staple to the house’s napping culture ever since. With ears as large as her appetite, this little lass knows what she wants and when she wants it. As the alpha, Hershey enjoys leading the charge on begging for food while the family eats and picking fights with Tobi over petty food-related incidents; but ultimately, she loves spending time with her brother and splitting a treat with him— as long as he doesn’t come within a metre from her and attempts to steal her treat or toy. Her trademark growl and sense for knowing when someone in the house has come home solidify Hershey as the perfect guard dog, a position she takes with pride despite her short stature.  

Tobi, the baby of the household, lives life as any escapade-seeking puppy would: one destroyed tennis ball and chaotic walk at a time. What Tobi lacks in size compared to Hershey he makes up for in tail, which Hershey definitely isn’t jealous of. Totally not. When prompted to be let outside, Tobi is already there the moment the backdoor leading to the yard opens. In contrast to his sister who enjoys lounging on the patio in the sun, Tobi likes to chase just about everything from one end of the yard to the other. The only thing he loves to chase more than bugs and tennis balls being thrown in the yard is his own tail, which, again, Hershey is totally not jealous of. While forgetful in how to get down the stairs (despite being taught it over and over again) Tobi knows exactly when to cuddle up on a rough day — and, trust, this is just as much for him as it is for you. 

What’s in store for these two charming canines is truly anyone’s guess, but they can promise that whoever passes by that window or comes through that door will be greeted with a snoot, witness the cute, and be hit with that signature Corgi sploot.  

– JB


Photo: Kelly Chia

Phoenix has recently turned three years old, and adult life has not changed his enthusiasm for life and its small creatures. A Samoyed, Phoenix’s lips are often upturned into a wide smile, though whether he is actually content depends on how testy he feels that day. Today, he has attempted and once again failed to befriend neighbourhood cats Tommy and Finnigan, and he feels a little defeated, but seems to forget this quickly enough.

At first glance, Phoenix looks like the living embodiment of a noble snowball. His tail curls so it just touches his back, and the picture together with his fluffy cloudlike fur ascends him to model status. But actually, he has bigger aspirations: Phoenix dreams of becoming a singer. It is quite a sight: his mouth pressed into an “o”, hiding his wolf-like teeth as he sings soulfully. Every person who enters the Chia home, stranger or friend, is treated to his signature “woos” of joy as he is always eager to perform for an audience. 

To that effect, Phoenix always makes sure he looks like a star for any impromptu paparazzi shots, cleaning his paws fastidiously and tossing a dirty look to anyone who catches him looking so vulnerable and unkempt. At times, he releases a dignified huff – practicing a confident stride sure to win the attention in his poop-scoopers’ Zoom calls. 

In a vulnerable moment, Phoenix barks to The Peak, “I don’t understand object permanence!” When asked to clarify what he meant, he pawed at a nefarious puzzle box that hid his treats from him. Clearly he has been robbed from what he deserves, and his poop-scoopers are cruel. But he is quick to forget (or to forgive), and flashes a stunning smile.

“I want a walk,” he finishes with a low woo and a paw shake for good measure. Walks are everything to Phoenix — if he doesn’t receive at least one awed coo from the neighbours, he will sulk on the floor for hours. But as he winks, it is evident that this pretty pooch will get everything he wants, anyway. Except the attention of the cats.

– KC


Photo: Nicole Magas


Life in quarantine has been hard for one small parrot living in a Burnaby suburb.

Like many other small household pets, Cygnet, a four-year- old White-Faced Cockatiel, has been facing a mental health crisis since the beginning of lockdown in early March. The principle trigger in this struggle, according to Cygnet, are the hands.

Hands that want to hold, pet, and tickle are nothing new to Cygnet. He’s been jumping and dodging hands since he arrived in his current home in September of 2017. However, Cygnet has noticed a marked increase in the amount of cuddling and hand-holding he has been expected to endure during the crisis, and he’s pleading with pet owners everywhere now to show some restraint and understanding to their small animal companions. 

“I’m not opposed to hands, per se,” Cygnet told The Peak via a Twitter interview. “Hands do wonderful things. They fill my seed bowl. They clean my cage. They open the window blinds in the morning. The problems start when the hands want to hold me. That’s unacceptable.”

Even when the hands “hold birb gentle like hamburger” as one popular internet meme instructs, the confinement is too much for birds like Cygnet. “I’m claustrophobic,” he explains. “I feel like my mental health needs are not being accommodated during quarantine, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, either. I hear the cats are going through similar struggles. These are trying times for all of us.”

Cygnet wanted it to be made clear that despite the hands repeatedly violating his personal space, he has never resorted to biting. “I’m a good boy,” he says proudly. “And no hand is going to take that away from me.”

– NM