2021 Best Dog of Summer Crowned

The 2021 Malibu Times Best Dog of Summer was awarded to one-year-old labradoodle Casey Pickles—gregarious, outdoorsy, fun-loving and loyal, aka a true Malibu girl.

Casey Pickles joined Michael Rohe’s family in the start of the pandemic when Rohe started working from home. Since then, Casey and Rohe have been inseparable. 

“When I started working from home full-time, I knew I’d have the time to take care of her as a puppy and raise her,” Rohe said. “She’s kept us really entertained while we’ve been home.”

Rohe said his family picked out Casey from a small breeder in Utah and Casey adjusted to Malibu and the beach fairly quickly. 

“She’s definitely hyper. I probably describe her as a total goof—all-in-all, a sweetheart,” Rohe said. “Everyone really loves her.”

One of Casey’s favorite hobbies is a popular activity among many Malibu residents—hiking in the local mountains. Rohe said she is part of a hiking club in Malibu and goes hiking a couple times a week.

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“I’d say she’s kind of really a true Malibu girl,” Rohe said. “She’s totally the center of attention and is the most playful dog of the bunch and wants to play with everybody.”

In addition to enjoying Malibu’s spectacular nature, Casey especially loves squishy toys. Her current favorite is a pair of deer antlers that her dad said she will most likely chew into pieces within minutes.

Now living near Sunset Mesa, the beach is also one of Casey’s favorite places in Malibu. In his nomination, Rohe described Casey as “the Queen of Ratner Beach.”

“She likes to swim in the water, she likes the small waves, but I’d say mostly she’d be content with just kind of napping on the stand,” Rohe said.

But like summer, all good things must come to an end—one of Rohe’s concerns was how Casey would feel when he would need to go back to working in an office.

“I’ve been home with Casey since we got her so that’s definitely something I’m worried about,” Rohe said.

With a recent addition to the family, Michael and his wife Kat welcomed their first son Jack and said Casey has been the best big sister.

“She’s super sweet, gentle and playful, she’s just really a sweetheart, a good big sister,” Rohe said.

Casey Pickles will enjoy multiple prizes which include a bag of food (winner’s choice) from Sherman’s Place, a $50 credit toward toys, leashes and other supplies—excluding food—from Love’s Pets, two free daycare passes from dioji in Agoura Hills and $100 gift certificate to Paradise Cove Beach Cafe (though Michael, Kat and Jack may get a little more use out of the Paradise Cove gift card).

Reading Buddy Clay is named runner up

Best Dog of Summer runner-up Clay is a familiar face for the Webster Elementary community. Clay used to volunteer with his mom, transitional kindergarten teacher Miss Jacqui Papale, as a reading buddy for her students, joining her in the classroom each day (thanks to principal Phil Cott). Clay, who just finished helping set up this year’s TK classroom, even stars in a coloring book created by Papale called “Love and Lightening.” A Malibu resident since he was adopted at four months old, Clay is looking forward to his 12th birthday in October. 

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