We have always had dogs. At least since I’ve been married. We have a “rule” that when one of our dogs die, our next dog has to be a different breed. This way we don’t compare them to each other (although to be truthful, we still do).
I had a Weimaraner, named Mulligan, who was my first real running buddy. When Mulligan passed away at age 10, I really thought about getting another Weimaraner. He was that good.
We had Labs when I was a kid. So I thought I might get a Lab. Good running dogs, family dogs, yada yada…
One day I noticed an ad in our electric co-op newsletter for a 1/2 Lab, 1/2 Great Pyrenees. Plus, they were only around $50.00. I like the Lab. And who hasn’t seen the Great Pyrenees doing their duty of protecting their flock of sheep or herd of goats – serenely laying out in the pasture, making sure everyone is safe. Plus, they kind of look like a Labrador, right? Gotta be a good dog then.
So, I’m mulling this over, and I have a friend come by for lunch. I start telling him about this Lab/Pyrenees cross I’m thinking about getting. He said, “you want one?” I (of course) said, “you have one?” He said, “I’ve got 6.” What the??
Turns out his dad’s black lab “Louie” met up with his uncle’s Great Pyrenees and voila! Puppies! Sounds to me like somebody wasn’t paying enough attention to the goat herd that night. But, I digress…
Since he lives a couple of hours away, I told him to pick me one. Six weeks later (they were already 2 weeks old), he shows up with a small, biscuit colored bundle ‘o fur.
My son and I had already printed off a list of “1,000 dog names” and had finally narrowed the name choice to “Bazooka.” I thought the name would probably be fitting, but I also have this “habit” of shortening my dog’s name. Since I figured I would shorten “Bazooka” to “Zookie”, I thought I would just get ahead of myself. Since habits are what they are, it would seem that I should have named her “Zoo”. Oh well…
I tend to be a “Plan A” guy. I don’t spend too much time on “Plan B”. History would suggest I rethink this approach to things. See, in my mind, I was going to get a dog that looked like a Great Pyrenees, but was the size of a Lab. It never even crossed my mind that I would get a dog that looked like a Lab, but was the size of a Great Pyrenees. We call her a “Great Pyrador”.
It’s funny, seeing the two breeds working in her mind. Most of us picture a devil and an angel on our shoulders, telling us what to do. Zookie has a Lab on one, and a Great Pyrenees on the other.
When she sees someone new, her back end is wagging like crazy, while her front end is growling with hackles raised. It’s like she’s having these internal struggles between the Labrador part (which never met a stranger) and the Pyrenees (who always meets strangers). Perhaps because Pyrenees are hanging out with sheep and goats. Just a thought…
Zookie likes our long, slow runs. Well, truthfully, she would probably prefer short, slow runs. When I open the drawer I keep my running gear in, she will appear as if by magic. Tail wagging, happy moaning (if your dog does this you know what I mean), bouncing around, etc.
After about 1/2 mile, she says “the shine has worn off this run”, and “are we going to be running by the pond soon”?
She will stay in my general vicinity if we are running in the woods at home. If we’re running at the River Parks, I always have her on a leash (unless she’s taking a cool-down swim in the river). And, yes, she knows when we are running by the ramp to the river because she looks that way and slows down. The guilt trip usually works on me.
The longest she has ever run is 13 miles. I know because she was on a leash. When she is “off leash” she starts shaving distance pretty soon into the run.
She’s my friend and running buddy, no doubt about it!
See you on the trails…
Mike & Zookie
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