J.T. is a 35-year-old widower who's devoted to his daughter and to his mutt. J.T. takes his dream job in Chicago as a chef working for the famous Mattias Ober. At a crossroad, J.T. must decide if he wants to sell out and follow in Ober's footsteps or remain loyal to his family and keep all three of them together.
Chandler is a 10-year-old going on 35. Her mother died a few years ago, and she has taken on many of the responsibilities of being the Mom of the household helping her Dad. Her best friend is her dog Shakey. When her father agrees to give Shakey away, Chandler knows right from wrong. She is a fighter that stands up to the class bully and rescues her dog with her new friend Sanjay.
Shakey is a troublesome, but fun mutt that can't stay out of trouble. He loves his family and will do anything to be with them. No matter how big Chicago is, this city can't keep Shakey away from Chandler and J.T., even if it means jumping the DuSable Bridge.
Oskar Jerski is the unsophisticated, bumbling and child-like superintendent of the Independence Plaza (IP). He is committed to the IP and does his part to maintain the "No Pets" policy. He is also scared to go against his boss, Ms. Willinger, and follows her every command.
The one and only Estelle Willinger, building manager of the classy high-rise apartment building, the Independence Plaza. Her years of living alone without family and pets have made her a monster. Every morning, she goes through laborious efforts to make up her face and "control" the numerous (too many) face-lifts she's had over the years. Her frosted hair is molded into an impossible shape of a W. Her clothes are sharp, pristine, and expensive.
Sheila is the prim, proper and uptight concierge for Chicago's premier dog kennel, Chateau Bow Wow. She immediately frowns upon J.T. and Shakey knowing that they are not the typical patrons of Chateau Bow Wow. Sheila soon learns that her crazy antics to keep Shakey away from the purebreds do not work and Shakey escapes from the kennel.
Raoul is a romantic Mexican with a pencil-thin mustache and slight accent. Raoul has been around Mattias Ober for a few years now and understands well what Ober is all about: a larger than life fake who somehow has fallen into being a celebrity chef. Raoul takes J.T. under his wing knowing J.T. is vulnerable in this cutthroat ("vampire-ridden") environment. Raoul is a good, loyal guy willing to take a bullet for someone he barely knows. He would've been the type of guy that was with J.T. at his going away party in Toledo. Salt of the earth. In Raoul's younger years, he would have stolen many Latinas' hearts... Even now, he's still got the magic.
Mattias is a celebrity chef, well known not only in Chicago, his restaurant's award-winning spices sell like hotcakes all over the world. Mattias is all about presentation: when he comes into his own restaurant, it's a show . . . and dramatic. His love of dramatics and big ego make him larger than life with his customers, which they eat up and adore. Boastful of his artistic integrity, the irony is that he's probably not even that good of a chef. Mattias wears a black cape and his signature color is yellow – the ultimate symbol of selling out. While Mattias seems like a good guy on the outside, he's hired henchmen ("vampires") who take care of his dirty work.
Sgt. Stubbs is seemingly a real "Semper Fi do or die" type. While at first he seems normal, once we get to know him better, we realize he's nuts. Stubbs, a resident of a quaint suburban town, has spent a lifetime in Army Recruiting, which still causes him "post-trauma stress." His favorite pastime is training his army of two Dobermans. He has been in mourning for his beloved Delilah for the past five years.