Guy Finds Out Just How Much Of An Animal Person His Wife Is When They Move In Together
“He says that while we were definitely a dog household, he didn’t quite process how crazy things were going to get."
Chris and Gabi Vannini first met in college, where their dorm had a strict “no pet” policy — but Gabi still managed to have a hermit crab named Holden. Since Chris often went with Gabi to volunteer at a local animal shelter, he always knew she was an animal person, and he was too — he just had no idea how much it would escalate as the pair continued their lives together.
As soon as they moved in together, the couple adopted their first dog, Snoopy, and Gabi casually suggested that they sign up for a foster program as well. Chris was hesitant at first but went along with it — and soon, their quiet household was filled with animals in need.
“He says that while we were definitely a dog household, he didn’t quite process how crazy things were going to get,” Gabi Vannini told The Dodo.
Chris and Gabi have now been married for eight years — and have had over 400 animals pass through their home. They currently have 14 animals, and the most they’ve ever had at one time is 17.
“We have six dogs and a tripod cat who is convinced he’s a dog,” Vannini said. “We do have the six rats, they’re not technically ours (they belong to my work) but they are long-term residents. We do have a long-term seventh dog with us at the moment, with us for training/showing.”
Over the years, Gabi has rarely met a foster in need that she could say no to. Sometimes the couple will put the fostering on hold for a few weeks, but then they’ll find an animal who desperately needs a place to go, and they always end up getting pulled back in. They’ve even helped out in a major hoarding situation, and 48 dogs from that case alone passed through their home over the course of a summer.
“We fostered a mom and puppies, a dog with severe bite wounds, one with an eye problem, several that were so fearful they couldn’t be touched and several others that were mentally and physically OK after vet care, but needed a place to stop along their journey to their new homes,” Vannini said. “I was dealing with health issues at the time and wasn't able to drive. So Chris did all of it, in addition to working remotely for his job as a football reporter, and in addition to driving me to work every day and whatever various doctor’s appointments I needed to go to. Never hesitated. He knew this was an extraordinary situation.”
While their house may be a little loud and chaotic at times, it’s also filled with lots of love. While Chris may not have known exactly how animal-filled his future would be, he’s learned so much through all his years of fostering, and definitely wouldn’t have things any other way.
“I think Chris was always a big animal person to some extent — he just hadn’t had the chance to realize it,” Vannini said. “I think there are certain compromises people can make for their significant others, but doing everything that we do isn’t something a person can just grow into without having some love for animals. He’s certainly become very knowledgeable about caring for animals — he can tube-feed puppies and kittens, bottle-feed pigs, give meds and care for sick animals.”