Our Furry Family Tree: Meet the Animals of Hai Hospitality


No one can agree on when animals were first domesticated, regardless it is hard to ever imagine a life without them. They are the best of friends. We asked our team to share a little bit about their animal companions. Read on and get to know their stories.

Meet Sullivan and Franklin who are Sarah Lewis of Top Knot’s ‘Buddies’.

“These are my two babies. Sullivan and Franklin. Both are mini shih tzus, and by the picture I’m sure you can guess they run the house. Sullivan is a little over a year and Franklin is just under a year. We got them from breeders online. We refer to them as ‘The Buddies’.  Everyone knows who we are talking about when we talk about ‘our buddies’ or ‘the buddies’. They have come to love everyone at Top Knot. Since TK is my second family, they know everyone there as Auntie or Uncle. Sully especially loves Uncle Yuma. They are just as excited to be a part of it as I am.”

Meet Picture, Erin Machell of Uchiko’s furry bestie.

“She was given to me last summer by my best childhood friend.

Interesting facts: She loves canned pumpkin, chasing leaves and burps constantly. I have asked the vet about this and he said it’s not normal but she’s perfectly fine.”

Meet Lari who is Georgi Abadaziev of Uchi Austin’s pooch.

“This is my best friend. His name is Lari. Some friends are calling him Lari King or Barry White.He is 9 years old and is the funniest, laziest Labrador I’ve ever seen.  I was 10 years old when mom brought him home. One of my uncles had two and he gave one to mom. I was super happy, he was so small, like a rugby ball and fluffy and he would never listen to anyone. He will eat everything… furniture, shoes, clothes, even my bicycle tires. In all these years he has learned only to sit, to eat, and sometimes to come but only after I scream his name for a long time.

He likes to chew tennis balls and play with dog toys and he will always be near you. He is the best soul that I have ever known. He is very close to me and such a good friend. He is my best bud when I go hiking, and he is my best bud in everything everywhere!”

Meet Lindsey Costalles of Uchiko’s canine, Koa short for Kekoa. 

“He was given to me last year when his owner/my high school friend was stationed in Virginia and couldn’t bring him along.

Koa is the runt of his litter. Weighing only 110lbs, comparatively, he is just a little guy.”

Drew Smith of Uchi Dallas’ furry pack.

“Parker (Top left) is a Black Lab/Shar Pei mix of some sort, Chloe (Top Right) is a Pit/Lab/Boxer mix of some sort, Mitch (Bottom Left) is a German Sheppard/Terrier mix of some sort, and Heather (as you can see) is a cat. Heather is bionic – with titanium rods on her back right leg (she broke trying to jump over our fence in Austin). Heather was adopted as a very young kitten by a former roommate, who named her then didn’t really take care of her. I took care of her vet visits, shots, and kitty litter situation. When it came time for said roommate to move out, I asked for either my money back or Heather. He gave me Heather.I met Chloe when Katrisha (my wife) and I first started to date. When we moved into our Austin house. Chloe likes to make elaborate nests with pillows and/or covers. She’s also quite the talker and is vocal about what she wants, and when. We adopted Mitch through a rescue to be best friends with Chloe, though she basically just tolerates Mitch. We liked Mitch because he came right up to us and made friends. He was a bit twitchy, but in an endearing kind of way. So, we took him home. He was named Mitch already, and we felt that fit well. Twitchy Mitchy.

For Parker, one day when Katrisha and I were bicycling through a park near our home in Austin, we found a 6mo old puppy wandering around without a collar or a any identification. We picked him up and thought we would foster him until we found a permanent home for him. We named him Parker, because we found him in a Park. That was 7 years ago.

Mitch can’t sit still when being pet, but Parker just plops down and stays there until you move him. Parker and Mitch love playing fetch, but Mitch will initially get the ball, then Parker will steal it from him to bring back. Teamwork?”

Lori Munoz of Uchi Houston her pup Maude.

“Maude is a rescue/child of divorce but in a good place now.Maude thinks she’s a cat. She spends her afternoons napping in the window sill and throws shade at the passerby.”

Angela Majko of Uchiko Austin and Sir Buzz Lightyear in Colorado.

“Sir Buzz Lightyear is 10 years old.  He has been to three countries and 30 states.
He was Knighted in 2117 by his future majesty Elton John. He was sent back in time to save all of humanity, but in doing so he inadvertently turned into a dog. He is always looking for clues on his next mission under rocks, beyond bushes and in the dirt. His sworn mortal enemy is the squirrel, who he is saving the world from. He is my life line and I am his world. Meet “Sir”.”s

John Baydale the President of Hai Hospitality introduces his hounds, Marley and Izzy.

“Izzy was once ‘discovered’ in a dog park in LA by a Hollywood talent agency. This led to a brief career in both print and media commercials.”

Kristen Nepomuceno of Uchi Houston introduces her feline, Piña.

“Famously potty-trained, Piña Cat is a feisty brown tabby cat that we fostered from BARC in January ’16 when she was a wee kitten, weighing just 1.5 lbs! She enjoys afternoon bird watching, Relax-your-Cat radio on Spotify, lush bath bombs and an early bedtime.

Also, her diet is second only to Gwyneth Paltrow, as she exclusively eats high quality canned and raw food (no gluten, no diary, no soy and absolutely no nightshades!). After I reach nirvana in this lifetime, I hope to be reborn as my cat, Piña.”

Marley Dablo of Uchi Dallas introduces her pup Oso.

“Meet Oso (bear in Spanish). Our neighbors found Oso roaming the streets and picked him up. They planned to take him to the pound but my parents decided to take him and try to find a home for him. His home ended up being with us.He is an incredible dog. We have had him since 2012. I was still at in school OU when we first got him. He loves car rides, cuddling and food. He doesn’t lick, and hates water. This is despite the fact that he has webbed toes and should be a swimming lab.  He is definitely a momma’s boy. My mom spoils him as do I.”

Nicolette Wagner of Uchiko introduces Polpettino, or Tino for short. 

“I named him Polpettino because it means “little meatball” in Italian.
He was a gift from my boyfriend and his fun fact is that he is actually Ukranian! Second, fun fact, his favorite toy is a stuffed merman.”

Meet Tonka, Stephanie Keil’s of Uchiko’s sweet pooch. 

“Don’t let her sweet face fool you, Tonka is a butt shake’n, ball steal’n, face lick’n party girl. I just found out that she is 50% mastiff so I’m hoping that mellow mood will kick in eventually.I adopted her from APA last October when she was 10 months in the hopes that I would have a smart pup on which to sharpen my dog training skills, and boy do I. She is full of mischievous energy, climbing 5 foot fences, opening doors and stealing socks, all the socks, what’s with the socks???”

Jessica Saca of Uchi Austin introduces Pipa.

“First and foremost, follow Pipa on Instagram.There you can follow all her adventures. It’s tough out here for a Pipa. Driving Porches, drinking bubbles, hambruglering, and throwing down in Vegas.”

Meet Mila (far right) and Jolene (far left) who cuddle up with Steven Stanwyck of Hai and Bridgid Barrena of Uchi Austin. 

“Mila is a Carolina dog. The only indigenous species of dog in the US. They were the dogs of the American aboriginals. Free roaming dogs. Jolene, also known as Jolene the Bean came about on a cold winter night from a friend who found her. She had a cat collar around her neck so tight it left a permanent scar. Bridgid says, ‘I instantly fell in love. At the time my house didn’t have heat, so Jolene would snuggle under the covers all night. She is the cuddliest dog I have ever met.’Mila was born on the same day as Stevens Brother. She has dew claws on her hind legs. Lastly Mila can smile, and is always smiling (as you can see). Jolene loves Mila and continues to work on her ‘on leash behavior.’ They are always together and have been known to get into mischief together.”

Meet Mico, Can Dogan of Uchi Austin’s kitty who lives in Turkey.

“The crazy thing about Mico is that when he wakes up in the morning, he only eats salami. Basically, he refuses to eat anything expect salami. Mico just loves salami.”

Introducing Jenn Morton of Uchi Austin’s furry family, Oliver (Cat) and Bullitt (Dog). 

“We rescued Oliver four years ago from the Houston SPCA. Oliver only has 3 legs, but he has no idea! He loves playing, snuggling, napping, and bathing himself in the bathtub.Bullitt (like the car, because he’s so fast) was rescued him from a Blue Heeler rescue group in Austin 3 years ago (he’s half blue heeler, half pit bull). Bullitt is the sweetest dog I’ve ever met, he loves snacks, catching his frisbee, and playing dress up with my daughter. Well, maybe he doesn’t love it, but he lets it happen…”

Say hello Craig who is Lupe Zavala’s smiley lover. 

“He was an early birthday present from my boyfriend. We got him off of Craigslist (which is why we named him Craig). Technically we got him on my boyfriends birthday since our birthdays are only 2 weeks apart. We had to cancel all birthday plans to spend time with him. Best/cutest surprise ever!His interesting facts are that he has an Australian shepherd body, short corgi legs, and the smile of an angel. He is overwhelmingly positive and loves everything and everyone. We could all learn from him. He loves you without ever meeting you.”

Introducing Uni (white) and Nori (black and white) who cuddle up next to Tasha Lindahl of Uchiko and Mark McConville of Uchi Austin. 

“The cats are brothers that we rescued from Austin Pets Alive. Mark was just going to get me Uni for my birthday but then I came home with both. Two for one special!They are obsessed with food, just like their human counterparts. Uni’s fun fact is that he surprisingly doesn’t hate water. He has been known to sit in the shower just to hang out. Nori frequently steals and enjoys human snacks. His favorite is BBQ seaweed crisps.”

Meet Ellie, Eleanor, Elle Bells and/or E-Money who is Jamie Ginther of Hai Hospitality’s soul mate. 

“Ellie hails from the streets in Lampasas, loves white cheddar popcorn and her paws smell like tortilla chips. She loves Uma Thurman and the movie Pulp Fiction (hence the Uma Therman wig).She doesn’t know how to dog at a dog park. She tries to dig water out of large water bowls and sit in chairs meant for her dog parents. She is as quick as lightning, and one of my favorite things in the whole world.”

Introducing Ponzu who lives with Chris Melton of Hai Hospitality.

“Named after the delicious soy, yuzu juice, white vinegar sauce, Ponzu loves to put everything on the floor (hence the coasters). Her hobbies include curtain climbing, bug eating, purring while eating and hide and seek.”

Meow. Woof. Thanks for all the good times. There are surely more and we can’t wait to meet them. Thank you for sharing.

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