We had a dog once, or should I say a dog had us as a family. Dogs come and dogs go. It is funny stuff, they absolutely run the house for a long time. It is a bit like a movie that I once saw, but cannot remember now. I never understood why one of those Disney dogs could speak and the other one could not. Goofy and Duffus or something like that, one could speak and the other could not. Just grunted and laughed or burped or something along those lines. Now that is inspired film making.
I had a dog that burped as well. We had another one that farted – a lot. It was not a pretty sight, but at least I could blame it on the dog. He never figured that out. Mostly that is because he had no thumbs. They are pretty jealous of thumbs, I have that on good authority. They do have that leg thing though.
You know that most cats have 3 names. The name you give them, another name and then a 3rd one that they will not tell you. I do not know about you, but that is why I do not have cats. Rumor has it that Cats and Chicken were both invented by the same guy in the Matrix. That is why it is impossible to tell them apart when BBQ’d. I have been to China a bunch and I do not know if I have consumed either one, possibly.
But I have lost sight of my dog post. Dogs are pretty great. Some better than others, like at least I do not own one of those silly dogs like a Bichon Frise, or a French Fry dog.
I have been owned by a few dogs. There was a dog when we were kids called Rick and another called Hans. My parents liked naming their dogs after Nordic gods and the neighbors. I think they did that so they could invoke the wrath of a Nordic god when they needed to. Or, they could secretly use the neighbors names in ways that cracked them up.
What is it with dogs n cyclists btw? I do not know any mountain bikers who do not really own a dog. It seems to be one of the things that just go together. Woods, mud, trails, dogs. Yep. But, a dog interacting with a road ride is just not welcome. I know lots of dog people who love dogs around them on a MTB ride, but a dog around them on a road bike is bad bad bad. I think it is a specific gravity thing.
I do not think it is worth rehashing in depth the dogs that we had as a kid, at least in any depth. So, just to get this post started, here is the list of dogs our family had when I was a kid.
Hans – Weiner dog.
Rick – Airedale terrier
Maggie – Airedale Terrier
That is not an impressive list is it. I guess in hindsight my parents really didn’t like dogs. Actually, wow. Now that I think of it my mother hasn’t had any dogs since then. So I guess I come from a line of dog haters. Never really realized that about my mother. I think that will have to be the conversation at our next family get together. What did mom have against dogs?
In my case, there is a much longer list of dogs that have owned our family since then. It is not an illustrious list, but it is a list nonetheless. So without further adieu, here is a list of the dogs that my family has had since leaving my parents house about 912 years ago (yes I am nearly a millennium old).
Jesse was a mutt. She was an interesting looking mutt, but a mutt nonetheless. Part Vizsla and part Labrador. She was about 60lbs full grown. She was beautiful to look at, big and brown. She has the privilege of occupying a few different positions on the all time dog chart.
- She was the first dog that adopted Liz and I once we left Texas and moved to Colorado.
- She was a Colorado Native.
- She had the longest tail of any dog that has lived with us
- She was definitely the dumbest dog we lived with
There wasn’t much else to report with Jesse. She regularly jumped the fence and would run off. You could tell when she was going to run off, as she would get just out of your reach (or her perception of your reach), about 15 feet and then she would decide that she was going to head out and explore and there was no stopping her. That lust for the open woods and no human holding her back was eventually her undoing.
Zach The Wonder Dog – that is what we called him. Zach was quite possibly the 2nd most intelligent dog that ever adopted us. He was smart, he was extremely physically fit, he might have been a few cards short of a full deck.
Zach was a German Shorthair Pointer. I do not think he ever pointed at anything (Again the no thumbs thing limits your pointing ability). Zach was the most amazing mountain bike riding, ball chasing, stick chasing, nervous, wanting to run dog you have ever seen. I do not think that Zach had a single ounce of fat on his body. His skin was paper thin. The dog could run and run and run.
We lived in Park City Utah when Zach lived with us. Zach was the town mountain bike dog. I swear that dog ran with people on mountain bikes almost every day of his life.
There are 3 stories that I like to tell about Zach.
- People would stop by and pick up Zach to take him mountain biking. People would take him for a ride, even when I was not going with them. It got to the point that people would just stop by, pick up Zach from the back yard and take him for a ride. Once I was standing in line at the grocery store, behind 2 guys I did not know. They were talking, and one of them said “We went for a ride today with some crazy dog. Someone said his name was Zach. The dog ran for 4 hours nonstop, and then when we stopped he would bring you a stick to throw.”
I had to tell them that he was my dog.
- When you took him for a ride, he just never stopped. You could be 4 hours into a ride, and were stopped on the trail having a break. He would bring you a stick, drop it at your feet, then bark at you if you did not throw it. It used to piss me off so much, that I would trick him into thinking I was throwing it one way, then after he headed that way I would toss it the other direction. It would sometimes take him 10 minutes to find that same stick. It was 10 minutes of respite from him dropping it at your feet and barking at you.
I can remember him bringing me a big rock at the lake, and making me throw it for him. I would toss it into the lake over his head, and the crazy dog would figure out how to dive down in water over his head and find the same stupid rock to bring back to you. He was whacky for it.
- Zach would do ANYTHING if you would throw a tennis ball for him. He didn’t have to be taught about retrieving when he was young. He just seemed to pop out with the retrieving gene. You could walk him off the leash in the middle of downtown Park City if you had a tennis ball in your pocket. Once, we entered into a dog agility contest, and we won because there wasn’t anything in the rules that said we couldn’t use a tennis ball to control him. We tossed the ball through the tunnels and led him through the obstacles with the tennis ball. He won.
I am listening to the John Butler Trio while I write this. Damn are they good. Pickapart – Live.
Bridget was a Brittany Spaniel. A beautiful dog, but she was a wholly unremarkable remarkable sample. She did not have many talents. I know that sounds harsh, but hey I lived with her. When she was young, she chased butterflies but as she got older, she lost that talent as well. She was only good at that point for running off in the woods and showing up later – smelly and full of burrs.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed her. Just on balance, she was the unremarkable and occupies the position of 2nd dumbest dog we have cohabitated with. She also burped after eating – loud. (maybe in hindsight, that was a pretty good talent.)
My nephew maintains that Bridget is the best dog we have had with us. Just shows that kids are a reflection of their parents, jeez.
Teddy was a Lhasa Apso. They were originally bred as palace guard dogs in China. But, I read somewhere else that they were bred to star in the book Gulliver’s Travels. They are pretty much close relatives to wolves. I think that they are all left handed.
Teddy was a used hand me down dog. He came home with the girls one time from a visit to the pet store. They just somehow were attracted to his squatty little body and under bite. Seriously, this dog was an orthodontists dream. He didn’t really have any special talents, but just because of his homeliness he was interesting.
He had kind of a nasty temper and really did not like kids. Kind of a bad traits in a dog. He also farted. I don’t even want to tell you what our friend Matt did petting Teddy the first time he met him – yuck.
Stella is the current 4 legged beast that has decided she needs to be in charge of our household. Somehow she came home with Liz, we remained married through that experience, and now is basically the center of all activity at our house. The days tend to revolve around what Stella is doing for the day, and how many walks she is going to get or trips to the park or fetching sessions with the Frisbee in the yard etc…
So we had an agreement, that the kids are off in college, and we would be unencumbered with dogs etc.. We were thinking, or I guess I was thinking, that we would be free to jump in the car and head to ride our bikes or head up to Copper Harbor to ride or fly off to France to ride or go to Whistler or… You get the picture. I had a vision of every weekend being filled with a 2 wheeled exploit without the concern of where the dog was going to hang while we were gone.
I came home from work one day, and there she was. Stella, the 13 pound poodle. Huh, you say? Poodle! That’s right. Liz thought that I might just turn around, head out the door and go find some new chick to live with. (It crossed my mind, not the other girl part – but the turning around and heading back out the door part.)
Of course, we are a year into Stella’s reign at the V house, and I am head over heals for her. She chews electrical chords, she will chew up a buckle on your backpack, she barks when someone comes to the door – all the usual annoying things that a dog can do. But at the same time, she might just be the most fun dog we have ever been around. She brings you a toy and pushes it against your leg at all times of the day. She wants to run around the house and yard all the time. She loves tearing around after a bath. She retrieves the Frisbee in the yard as long as you want to throw it, she loves a 2+ hour MTB ride, loves camping etc… basically, she acts like a dog. In spite of being just 13 pounds and really goofy looking when she is wet, she grows on you.
She is a 13 pound poodle that acts like a Labrador. Her best friend is a 70lb Golden Retriever. If they are together, it is a non stop wrestling match. Stella is way outmatched in a straight up fair fight. But, she does not fight fair. She is way faster than the Golden and runs circles around her until she gets cornered and then the Golden picks her up by her ears and carries her around.
After all that, I guess that you pretty much need a dog around. Time to take the dog for an MTB ride. Who is taking who for a ride? Who’s dog was that anyway?