Animals I Live With: Shannon Falconer and her two rescues, Trots and Gaia

Animals I Live With is an occasional series in which we profile people and their pets. Want to be featured? Get in touch here.

Shannon is the CEO of Because Animals. She lives with two rescue dogs, a Chihuahua mix and a possible Labrador mix.

How many animals do you live with?

I live with two four-legged animals (both doggies), and one two-legged animal (my spouse). It’s funny that people never seem to remember that humans are animals, too!

Names, please.

Let’s focus on talking about the dogs that I live with. Their names are Trots and Gaia. Trots is a Chihuahua mix and, before we met, had spent a long time at the San Francisco SPCA where he was formerly known as Bolt. But since he does much more trotting than he does bolting, his name naturally morphed to Trots. Gaia is a mixed breed, but seems to have a strong streak of Labrador in her.

How long have you known each other?

Trots and I have been together for almost three years, and Gaia and I for almost two.

How did you meet?

Trots wasn’t doing too well in the shelter and needed to go on foster relief. At the time, I was a foster parent for the SF SPCA, so Trots came home with me. He was an older guy and had already been adopted and returned during his time in the shelter. Let’s just say he has a few quirks :) I quickly grew to love the little fellow and after a month decided that he would remain with me.

As for Gaia, we met while my spouse and I were traveling in south America. She was a street dog and approached us one evening looking for food. She was famished and had sores all over her body. Despite how uncomfortable she must have been, she was so gentle and loving. The next day we put her in our rental car and took her to the vet for treatment. She’s been with us ever since.



Was it love at first sight or do you recall the moment when you knew it was love?

I think it’s love at first sight with every four-legged animal that I meet! But, yes, Trots and Gaia have a particularly special place in my heart.

How do you guys best like to spend time together?

Gaia and I love going for long hikes together. It’s our favourite.

Trots is a snuggler. He’s not much of a walker.

What’s the funniest habit your pet has?

Trots often assumes a downward-dog pose. We’ll be out, waiting in line for something, and he’ll downward dog for minutes on end. It’s very comical.

Gaia is the gentlest dog I’ve ever come across, but when she gets excited and runs around she jumps up and body slams me. It’s loving, but it’s so unexpected given everything else about her.

What’s their most annoying habit?

Trots’ trot. He’s incessant! He has long quicks so we can’t trim his nails very far back, and the sound of his nails against the floor back and forth, back and forth can make one crazy.

Gaia is very obedient except when it comes to chasing deer. I would love to let her run without a leash during our long forest walks, but when she spots something she wants to chase she just can’t help herself. She she needs to remain leashed, and she can sometimes really pull.

What is your pet’s current state of mind?

They both have anxious dispositions, but they manifest them differently.

What makes your pet happiest?

Walking (Gaia) and cuddling (Trots).

What things do you do to keep your pet healthy or to optimize their health?

Gaia and Trots are both on a plant-based diet. Gaia has very bad skin allergies, and we discovered that many animal-based proteins exacerbate her condition. Both dogs receive a probiotic daily and this definitely helps with their digestive issues. Although Trots was named for being a trotter rather than having the trots, he is sadly prone to the latter. A fibrous diet with a probiotic added has improved the health of both of them. (And, yes, obviously this probiotic comes in the form of Because Animals’ Superfood Supplement for Dogs!)

What does your morning routine with your pet look like?

Probably the same for most beings: wake up, perform ablutions, eat breakfast and take a bit of exercise.

And what about the bedtime routine?

Gaia is ready for bed at 7pm. Trots on the other hand is a night owl and often doesn’t settle before 10pm.

When you look deep into your pet’s eyes, what do you think he/she is really thinking?

About that moment. They are really good at staying in the moment, those dogs.

What does your pet dream about?

I’m not sure, but Gaia twitches a lot in her sleep.