Once upon a time…There was a dog whose specialty was making people feel better. Kennedy, a black lab mix, has even been borrowed by friends to take on nursing home visits, says owner Cheresse Pentella. “If you’re having a bad day or want to have a friend, he’s a wonderful dog for that,” she says.

Lois Pentella, Cheresse’s mother, originally adopted Kennedy, now 2-and-a-half years old, from the Humane Society of Missouri’s Chesterfield location. He came with the name ‘Lightning,’ but the family has decided that the new name is a perfect fit: “He has a lot of girlfriends,” Cheresse Pentella jokes.

Today, Lois Pentella splits her time between her children’s homes, and to avoid an overload of travel, Kennedy stays with Cheresse and her boyfriend, Dan Shannon. “It’s amazing how a dog can change your life,” Pentella says. “We’re blessed and lucky because he’s a warm personality, he’s active and loving, and loves to socialize with other dogs. Anywhere we go that he’s allowed to go, he goes with us.”

Kennedy loves everything from doggie play dates, to dog parks, the pool and dinners out, Pentella says, but the outdoors are his favorite. Shannon and Kennedy have even taken up hunting—more as a hobby than as a structured training exercise. “He loves running and catching and being behind the blind,” Pentella says. “I think a lot of it is the camaraderie with the other dogs. He also loves the cold weather and snow—snow is the most exciting thing for him.” Pentella credits Shannon’s training for Kennedy’s good behavior off the leash. “He knows all the different commands. My boyfriend is definitely the alpha male—I’m not sure where my mom and I come in!” she jokes.

Adopting Kennedy was also a benefit in that, “it allows you to start thinking about your day, knowing you have someone to take care of,” Pentella says. “You need to understand the dog that you have, and labs need exercise and activity. He gets walked in the morning; and we’ll run or hike with him on the weekends, and make sure he’s really active because his body needs it. It’s not about you. If I want to work out but he hasn’t had his walk yet, I’ll take my walk with him.”

Pentella says adopting a dog was one of the best things her family has done, and encourages others to do the same. “It just brings the biggest joy to anyone’s life. I don’t know how it couldn’t—it just gives you so much love and makes you happy. There’s peace there,” she says. “If someone is looking for a dog but questioning it, you should seek out what your reasons for questioning it are. If you can make it happen, you’re allowing somebody to have a beautiful life.”


To get your very own fairy-tail ending…

Visit the Humane Society online at www.hsmo.org or visit


Humane Society of Missouri Headquarters:

1201 Macklind Ave. | St. Louis, MO 63110 | phone: 951-1562


Proudly sponsored by Carol House

With their belief that bigger things can come out of selling furniture, Carol House and the Dubmans proudly donate a portion of each sale to local charities. One of the organizations Carol House supports is its very own Carol House QUICK FIX Pet Clinic, which spays and neuters pets for low-income families. The company donated the clinic’s building in its efforts to help to ease the pet overpopulation problem throughout the St. Louis area. For more information, call 771-PETS or visit CarolHousePetClinic.org.

More Pets articles.