Nikko, the Natural Born Runner

This is my boy, Nikko

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The Gazelle and I picked Nikko up one day from the shelter. Why do I make this sound so flip...so convenient...so EASY? Because I can only mimic the attitude of the idiot that gave our Nikko away to the shelter in the first place. It must have been easier and more convenient.

I don't really know Nikko's story...he didn't come with a "Dogfax" report like a used car, nor did he come with an instruction manual, or even a care tag like on a shirt. Much like an adopted child, Nikko is sort of like opening presents on Christmas Day...you never know what you're going to unwrap, but you're always going to smile and say "oooohhh! I love it!"

There are a lot of things I don't understand about Nikko. I don't know why he runs around like a chicken with its' head cut off at random intervals throughout the day/night, or why he can't sit still for more than 2.3 seconds at a time, or why he sometimes just wants to get up in your grill and just look at you--no licking or nuzzling--just staring. I don't know why he's terrified of the vacuum cleaner, or why he barks whenever he hears the door open in our building, or even why he feels the need to attack any strange male or small dog that comes within 20 feet of him. I can only assume that all of these quirky little characteristics are due in some part to genetics, but are also due to the effects of the life that Nikko had before he came to live with us. I don't know much about Nikko, but I love him just the same.

Despite all of my little man's innate flaws, he is a sweetie. He's a bit misunderstood, but he means well. In addition to being pretty loveable (as long as you're not a stranger, male, a dog under 20lbs, have blue hair, brown eyes, size 6.5 shoes, or speak English), I found out yesterday that Nikko is an excellent runner! Although we don't really have any clue what breed Nikko is, he appears to be a miniature (28lbs.) version of a German Shepherd. True to that breed (if that is where he comes from), he was built to run in the cold weather.

I was jealous of Nikko today, as I panted and groaned through 3.5 miles of hills and valleys in 27 degree weather. Nikko just trotted along beside me. Easily. He didn't once stick his tongue out or gasp for air. Only me. He looked like we were taking a walk in the park on a warm spring day. The wind was blowing pretty hard, and mostly against us (gotta love that), so I was pretty thankful to have Nikko there to help me drag my ass up those relentless hills.

He did get spooked by the occasional LEAF (oooohhh...scary!) as it blew by us at about 55 miles per hour. But that's just Nikko, and it was ok. I realized that if he could make it through the mental anguish of scary leaves and garbage cans rustling in the wind, then I could make it through the physical anguish of 3.5 miles of hills.

We both made it, and I have a new running buddy.