Today’s Yearling of the Day is a dog’s dog, single-minded and fun-loving. He likes running and food and playing, in that order. Everything else is secondary.
He is one of several brothers who are nearly identical to each other—except for the colors on their front paws. This boy has a little white glove that gives him away.
From the time he was tiny, Zagat has loved setting the pace, racing other dogs and pulling ahead of them.
He makes friends easily and gets along with everyone.
Sometimes, after feeding the dogs, I sprinkle extra kibble in the grass so they can sniff it out like an Easter egg hunt. That’s what Hari and Refried were doing this morning, and Zagat joined them immediately.
Then Zagat and Hari did some romping.
Hari explores spaces by trotting in small circles, then gradually moving those circles until he knows the terrain. He still does that about once a day, possibly to make sure that nothing has changed in the garden. Here you can see him get distracted from circling to join the fun.
I decided to introduce Zagat to a new game.
Hey Jeff Sharlet, can I borrow your ball?
I thought if I could teach Zagat to play fetch, it might be a good way for him to get exercise during the summer months.
Hari thought the ball was interesting.
I threw it in the air and caught it. “Look how fun this is!” I said. But Zagat couldn’t care less.
I heard the sound of a dog running from across the farm. Zagat didn’t care about the ball—but someone else had noticed.
Jenga galloped toward us and leapt the fence into the garden.
Jenga doesn’t give a damn about toys. But she cares very much about winning. And as far as she was concerned, this ball was a prize to be won.
She didn’t care about having the ball, but she cared very much that none of the other dogs got it.
And of course, once Zagat saw that Jenga wanted the ball, he wanted it, too.
I started tossing the ball. The faster Jenga caught it, the more Zagat coveted it for himself.
Finally Jenga and I let him hold it.
Now he loves it and carries it around with him. Personal growth through envy and competitiveness! Very proud of this silly boy.
Zagat scores an 8 on the SDSI.
My predictions for Zagat?
This kid was born to race. He already loves running, but I think he’ll LOVE the energy at races — all the teams together, eager to go. Many of the dogs know when they’re winning, they understand the concept of being in front, and I suspect he will, too.
I can’t wait to introduce Zagat to all the fun he’s going to have as a sled dog. But for now, it’s summer, so we’ll focus on playtime, napping in the shade—and maybe even playing fetch.
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