Many teens spend lots of time trying to convince their parents to let them have a pet. Whether that’s a cat, a dog or any other pet, one thing is for sure: People love animals and they have become an integral part of daily lives. Need proof? Just ask junior Ally Dunne. 

Dunne has 11 pets which consist of four dogs and seven cats. The dogs are Pixie, Harper, Lucie and Milo. The cats are Peaches, Oreo, Sam, Jaxckson, Olliver, Finnley and Oatis. Despite the large number of animals, Dunne knows and cares about each and every one of them. “I love them,” she said. “And I love pets in general, so I always wanted a lot of animals, I'm lucky to have them.”

Since Dunne has so many animals, it would be easy to think that her parents were immediately on board. However, Dunne said that this was not the case. “I don't know about Pixie because I was two when we got her, but the rest of the pets took a lot of convincing to get,” she said.

Most of Dunne’s pets are rescue animals that her family took in from shelters or other less-than-ideal situations. Dunne’s saddest adoption story is of her dog, Lucie. “When we got Lucie, we rescued her from a breeder,” said Dunne. “She was a dog that they used for breeding a lot. She had six different litters, 48 puppies in total. We just did not want her to go through that anymore. She's been spayed now and that's never going to happen again. She's the sweetest thing and she barely had human contact or anything outside of her room. It was just really sad.” Lucie fit right in with the rest of Dunne’s crew, enjoying a loving, comfortable place to call home.

Of course, having lots of animals isn’t all fun and games, as pets are a lot of work. They can be expensive, demanding and time-consuming. To help with this, Dunne follows a schedule for her pets. “Taking care of the pets is a team effort with my family,” she said. “We feed them in the morning, once or twice during the day, and at 8 p.m. in the evening. We let the dogs out in the morning right before we go to school and then multiple times throughout the day, and once before we go to bed. We clean the litter boxes three times a week and there are four litter boxes because we have a lot of cats.” Dunne doesn’t mind the work since it’s for her pets, but she did admit that it is still a lot of work. “I’m constantly tripping over them,” she added.

Overall, Dunne believes that pets improve her life and that her bond with her pets is like no other. Dunne said that she will continue to adopt pets and care for them as she has been. “Their presence and the love that they give is comforting. They love to be by me and constantly follow me around,” said Dunne. “I love every single one of them. I wouldn't trade them for anything.”

Story by Seyla Ray