111 Bill & Heidi Starkey


These are the tags of one Thurston Howell, the Shih Tzu. He is all Philly: lost on the streets, getting by on pizza crust and kindness, now adopted and living a new life. We “met” him at an animal rescue not long after we moved to the city from North Carolina. It is fair to say he opened the city up for two strangers to a new town. It started with smiles (even the hardest of our neighbors could not look at him without cracking a grin), and walks that led to conversations with passersby, all with a strut that rivals anything seen on Broad Street on New Year’s Day. Looking back, it’s funny to think about the role he played in our entry into city life. Indirectly, his presence in our home guided our decisions on where we lived (pet friendly options only, please), which introduced us to new neighbors, new friends, and a whole new idea of home, I guess because it was his town, after all. We were the transplants. He was the local. And he’s been a damn good little guide ever since.