Florida Country Magazine runs a “My Best Friend” contest on Facebook every other month, for each issue of the magazine.


Jessica Knauf of Jacksonville, Florida

Best Friend’s Name: Aladdin

Best Friend’s Breed: Black Mouth Cur

Aladdin meant the world to me. He walked me down the aisle during my wedding in 2018. He was my best friend for 13 years. I had him before I met my husband and we all became the perfect family. He loved the country life in so many ways. Aladdin enjoyed long hikes, riding the side-by-side and lying in the sun. He was my protector, the best cuddle buddy, the love of my life—but most importantly, my best friend. 

Tricia Lynn Glotfelty of Hudson, Florida

Best Friend’s Name: Painted Forest Lance

Best Friend’s Breed: North American Premium Spotted Draft

This horse came into my life at a time where I was very depressed and very sick and he literally saved my life. This sweet, goofy loving boy greets me every day with nickers right before breakfast, puts on a show whenever we’re driving or riding and brings joy to everyone he meets. He saved my life in more ways than one and continues to do so every day. He is my reason for living.

Danielle Avera of Groveland, Florida

Best Friend’s Name: Ellie May

Best Friend’s Breed: Pony

My daughter, Ainsley, loves horses and animals in general. Normally she is around our horses, which are much larger than a pony. This pony is owned by a friend of ours—who brought the pony over for Ainsley to play with. She fell in love with Ellie May, could not get over that the pony was just her size, and talks non-stop about her. Ellie May loves kids. So, needless to say, they hit it off pretty well! I have a feeling they are going to be quite close in the near future, wink-wink!

Michelle Holland of Crescent City, Florida                                             

Best Friend’s Name: Stretch

Best Friend’s Breed: Rat Terrier

Stretch, my standard Rat Terrier, has been my sidekick, fishing/traveling/hiking companion and my very best friend for over 13 years. We lived on a boat for seven years and he would eat fresh, raw whole bream every day, which I caught for him. Recently, we’ve traveled cross-country—van camping for several months at a time.  In this photo, he’s waiting for me to catch his meal.

Libby Grimm and Norm Zeigler of Sanibel Island, Florida                  

Best Friend’s Name: Mocha

Best Friend’s Breed: Labrador retriever

Four-year-old Mocha is quite a character. Like so many Labs, she’ll probably act like a puppy forever. Even before COVID-19, she loved retrieving Kleenex—the more used, the better—from trash cans. This isn’t Photoshopped but it looks like she smokes! Mocha was tough to train, especially as she was a singleton and missed out on having siblings. The year 2020 ended more dreadfully than we could have imagined: She chased our outdoor cat and was stabbed by the corner of an open awning window. During Christmas week, every day was spent at the vet’s. The New Year started off with her staples being removed; miracle of miracles, this dear girl is going to make it. Now we say if she wants to smoke, let her smoke, LOL!