With Buddy and Zephyra.

a pet’s life: What pets are currently part of your family?

Maria Delgado: We currently own Buddy, our black English Labrador Retriever who was a present for my daughter on her 7th birthday and Zephyra, our Bengal cat who was a gift from a friend.

apl: What factors in your personal lives were important in selecting your pet?

MD: My husband had owned a black lab many years ago and he had fond memories of him. Labs are known to be great family dogs and Buddy came highly recommended! We read about Bengal cats and were intrigued by their beauty and personalities.

apl: How did your pets adjust to your family?

MD: Buddy always wanted to please us and adjusted to our family with ease. Zephyr was an indoor cat for the first year of her life but once she started getting very rambunctious, I started to bring her outside while I was gardening and she would stay by my side.

apl: What is a funny story about your pets?

MD: Buddy is very smart and loves to perform. When my kids were younger, we had a swingset in the backyard and we would put his ball and toys up on top of the monkey bars so that he could not get them. One day he climbed the ladder up into the playhouse and then walked across the monkey bars to fetch his toys. He truly could have been a circus dog.

apl: Any special locations or activities your pet enjoys?

MD: Buddy used to love Dog Beach in Del Mar. Now that Buddy is a senior dog, he enjoys going for car rides and he loves lots of affection. He still likes to swim but I am careful not to let him overexert himself and I help him in and out of the pool. Zephyra has an amazingly rich life as an indoor and outdoor cat as she loves to climb trees, chase insects and critters.

apl: How has your pet influenced your support of animal charities?

MD: I am an advocate for all animal welfare. I grew up horseback riding and we always had a dog and cat. Growing up with animals and sharing that love and experience with my children is an integral part of my life. The FACE Foundation is the animal advocacy group I have been most involved in for the last few years. I have been the team leader for the Bags & Baubles fundraiser for the last three years. FACE is a non-profit charity that provides financial assistance for San Diego pet parents who cannot afford the cost of emergency veterinary care.