Dog Dad of the Day: Phil Williams

Get acquainted with the Jupiter-based personal trainer and fitness pioneer and his four-legged friend, Tigger the boxer mix

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Williams and Tigger in Jupiter’s Indian Creek Park. Photo by Steven Martine
Williams and Tigger in Jupiter’s Indian Creek Park. Photo by Steven Martine

Phil and Tigger

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains region, Phil Williams says sports and family were the focus of his childhood. The youngest of 11 children, he says his upbringing taught him several things about himself: He wanted a big family, a career in physical fitness, and a dog. 

“We were all into playing sports,” Williams, now 47, says of himself and his siblings. “I ran track, played football, and started martial arts when I was 3. The fitness background comes from me following behind my older siblings.” At 18, he became a personal trainer, and today he owns a popular online and in-person workout business called PhilFit, which focuses on toning and training people of all skill levels.

Williams creates unique workout videos for his worldwide online subscriber base, leads group workouts at Real Fitness in Jupiter, and meets elite clientele for home sessions, including celebrity clients like The Bachelorette reality show alum and Jupiter native Tyler Cameron. When Cameron was 13, his mother hired Williams to provide her sons with athletics training and mentorship—and Williams and Cameron have been good pals ever since. “We don’t even call each other friends—he’s my little brother,” Williams says. 

Williams and Tigger at Imagination Station in Jupiter’s Indian Creek Park. Photo by Steven Martine
Williams and Tigger at Imagination Station in Jupiter’s Indian Creek Park. Photo by Steven Martine

As for Tigger, Williams met his four-legged friend when he married Tigger’s human, Amber Rose, in 2017. Rose had adopted the boxer mix in Homestead in 2013 after hearing his story of being hit by a car on the local news. During Tigger’s recovery, he received two hip replacements and underwent aquatic rehab.

When Williams entered the family picture, he and Tigger quickly became best buds. “He follows me around a lot more than he follows my wife now,” says Williams, who lives in Jupiter with Rose, Tigger, and their son, Antonio (Williams is also the father of four adult daughters from a previous relationship). “I think he’s a guy’s guy.” 

With Tigger’s physical limitations at age 13, Williams keeps the fun simple with his buddy these days—the two like to play fetch in the backyard. Their bond has evolved over the years and will always be strong. 

“Coming from a big family, I wanted to have my own big family, and Tigger is just another one of my kids,” says Williams, who loved taking Tigger on long runs when he was a younger dog. “Watching him come from where he’s been to now is amazing because you don’t know how long a dog’s life is going to last. We just want to give him the best life he can have while he’s with us.”

Work out with Phil at home by downloading his fitness app at philfit.app.

Dog’s Life: Tigger

Top treat: Organic doggie biscuits

Favorite spot: “These days, he just likes to run around the backyard and not get too far from the house. He’s become a homebody the older he gets.”

Endearing quirk: “He shakes his tail when he’s excited, which is every time I come in the house. Because his hips are artificial, his whole body moves with his tail. It looks like he’s dancing!”

Must-have toy: “When my wife adopted him, he came home with a little orange ball—that’s why she named him Tigger. He knows how to fetch that orange ball, but he doesn’t like to give it up. He’s like, ‘I’ll go get it, but you’re not getting it back.’”

Most lovable trait: “When you rub his belly, he has this big smile and just goes crazy.”

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