Get to Know Tennis Superstar Serena Williams and Her Yorkie Chip

by Patrick Mahaney on October 10, 2014

This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on as Get to Know Tennis Superstar Serena

Williams and Her Yorkie Chip


The US Open tennis tournament is well underway in Flushing, NY (located in Queens, right next door to where the New York Mets play) with defending champion Serena Williams looking to repeat her high level of play and rack up her sixth title.

As the life a professional tennis player requires traveling the globe to compete at tournaments, players are often separated from their family and friends for extended time periods. So, the presence of a canine companion can help to ease the loneliness associated with the travel demands the WTA women’s tour.

Williams has recently been seen in the company of a small brown and gray dog looking like a Yorkshire Terrier named Chip. Williams treats Chip like a true member of her family and even taken to her Facebook page to state “Really missin my son Chip. We always watch movies together at night.”

The ESPN video Serena’s Best Friend shows highlights of Chip’s role as companion to his master. Some of the images in the ESPN montage are also featured in Williams Instagram page (SerenaWilliams). Chip is seen:

Looking sharp in a collar and tie on court while watching Williams warm up her serve.

Being wrapped in the same towel as Williams while she undergoes post-match physical therapy.

Getting a kiss from Williams and licking her back while she holds the Ion Tiriac trophy after winning on the clay courts at the Madrid Open.

Sitting patiently under Williams chair while she takes a break from another grueling practice session.

Jogging along side Williams while she warms up on a clay court.

Hanging out with another pooch and Williams’ coach in the Instagram post captioned The softer side of @coachmouratoglou. For those of you who don’t know, Patrick Mouratoglou is also Williams’ boyfriend.

Leading Williams’ army of supporters as seen in the photo Look at Chip #renasarmy leader… Tweet #renasarmy if you are in.

Showing his pensive side in the post captioned Thinking.

Williams has a unique way of caring for Chip’s clothes as seen in the post captioned Doing Chips laundry… where his collars, ties, shirts, and other items are lovingly placed in the top rack of a dishwasher.

Serena Loves Dogs

In one of Williams first Instagram posts from 2011, a dog appearing like an older Jack Russell Terrier is titledSnuggling with the dry cleaning. In Wendy Diamond’s 2013 interview with Williams (Love Is Serena’s Dogs and Winning The US Open!) for Animal Fair, Williams speaks of Jackie her Jack Russell Terrier and Maltese Lorelei, but mentions nothing of Chip. So, I speculate that Chip is a fairly new addition to the Williams family and Jackie and Lorelei are likely living with one of Williams friends or relatives.

Perhaps Williams needed a better traveling companion, as in Diamond’s interview Williams states “She (Jackie) got me kicked out of this really big hotel once. She has anxiety when I’d leave and was sitting in the room crying. They told me I had to leave, because she wouldn’t stop howling. We want to go to the Dog Whisperer and see if he can help her, because this has happened at numerous hotels.”

Sounds as though Jackie has separation anxiety, which can manifest as vocalizing or potentially destructive behaviors (scratching or chewing environmental materials, inappropriately urinating, or defecating, etc.). When dogs are forced to stay in a strange environment away from their owners, anxious tendencies can emerge.

Potential Problems

As Chip is a small-size dog with Yorkshire Terrier pure-breeding, I hope that Williams is aware of and doing her best to prevent some of the common conditions known to petite breeds, including:

Periodontal Disease- Small breeds like the Yorkie develop plaque, tartar, dental calculus, and even tooth loss in the first few years of life. If periodontal disease is not prevented or treated, internal organ ailments (heart valve malfunction, kidney and liver damage, etc.) will occur. I hope Williams has home dental care in place for Chip and is sticking to it (I brush my dog Cardiff’s teeth every night).

Patella luxation (knee dislocation or sliding kneecap)- Sliding of the kneecap out of its normal position to the inside (medial, more common) or outside (lateral) surface of the knee. There are four grades of patella luxation, with one being most mild and four being most severe. When patella luxation is diagnosed, chondroprotetants (“joint supplements”) can be started to support joint health and fish oil-based omega 3 fatty acids provide a natural anti-inflammatory effect. If the luxating patella is mid-grade to severe (grade two or four), then surgery may be the best bet to reposition the kneecap into a more natural place.

Tracheal collapse (collapse of the windpipe)- Yorkies are prone to having a reduction in diameter of the windpipe that manifests as coughing or gagging during activity or when pulling on a collar and leash. The likelihood for Chip to develop clinical signs of tracheal collapse can be reduced by preventing periodontal disease, keeping body weight slim, and using a chest harness instead of a neck collar for walking and restraint.

I’m definitely #TeamChip and #TeamSerena. I wish them many healthy and happy years ahead.

Serena, if you are ever in Los Angeles and need holistic, house-call veterinary services for Chip please contact me

Photo via Serena Williams Facebook

Thank you for reading this article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).
Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets
 on Facebook.
Copyright of this article (2013) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.



Share This
  Print This Print This Tweet ThisTweet This

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: