Letter from the Editor: Friends Indeed

The best friends we'll ever have.

There’s a great recent animal video gone viral that features—you guessed it—a cat. (Oh no. Not again!) But wait: This clip really is different, because in less than 2 minutes it pretty much sums up the bond between humans and their pets.

In the video, a 4-year-old girl named Abby reads a “bedtime story” to Bailey, her 13-year-old orange tabby, who lies against her in a sleepy stupor. Except Abby isn’t really reading. She’s just turning the pages of a thick grownup book and making up a story as she goes along—something about a family building a house for a grandma and grandpa. Of course the subject of the story isn’t important. It’s the way she’s telling it. The kitty is mesmerized by Abby’s familiar voice, glancing up lovingly at his best friend as she continues spinning the yarn. Watch the video on YouTube.

In this, our annual pet issue, you’ll also find plenty of adorable—as in seven pets and their owners who adore one another. We asked readers to submit “then and now’’ photographs of themselves or their children with the family pet. We picked four dogs, a cat, a bird and a pig (including three pets belonging to magazine staffers or their kids), and writer Cheri Henderson tells their stories. It’s a demonstration of how things change—but the terms of endearment remain the same. Also in our pet guide, we explore the joys of senior pets, the issue of anxiety in our companions, some unique adoption options, a listing of clever and useful cat and dog products, and informative Q&As with local veterinarians. And be sure to go to our website for the updated pet resource guide, featuring everything from groomers to dog parks.

The other big splash in this issue is our Arts & Entertainment Season Preview. The staging of Hamilton at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has theatergoers abuzz, of course, but there are plenty of other glorious events coming up from the likes of Orlando Shakes, Orlando Ballet, ZORA! Festival, and  the Orlando Philharmonic. Plus, as the Dr. Phillips Center approaches its fourth anniversary, we take a look at the beautiful space in a series of photos.

Elsewhere, dining critic Joseph Hayes explores some delicious brunches, including down-home offerings at Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and the unlimited midday meal at Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi. Also, it’s Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, with dozens of local restaurants offering three-course meals for just $35. Get the details starting on page 108. And speaking of good eating, our second annual Burger Battle is set for September 22 at Seminole Harley-Davidson in Sanford. Prepare for a fun time and all the burgers you can eat (and craft beer you can drink) as local burger artists vie for the crown. Check out the details in our Dine section or go to orlandoburgerbattle.com.

Categories: Column