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  • Lilith Erlenbusch

Buddy Beginnings, continued

Smokey & Kiwi by Mateo Erlenbusch

After over a year in Bend, OR and in Truckee, CA side-hustling dog care in addition to full-time study and building an entrepreneurship in nutrition, Lilith decided to commit herself fully to Buddy and let go of nutrition. I couldn’t have been happier with that decision. From my perspective observing her remarkable way with dogs, I felt Buddy was her next chapter’s highest calling.

In addition to Madison and Scout, some key early dogs in our new Truckee life were Smokey and Kiwi. Both English Lab’s, both robust in size, energy, and canine-spirit. Both well loved by their family (so crucial for good dog health!). As steadily consistent clients, we have now witnessed two full years of development since late puppyhood of both Smokey and Kiwi. Even before joining Buddy I was around both of these dogs regularly. Sometimes I would take one or both on a trail run after work, and they commonly boarded overnight with us in our new Prosser location.

Kiwi is 12 months older than Smokey and they have spent their entire brotherhood playfully working out their standings. I recall freaking out the first times watching them spar, certain a dog will imminently be getting hurt, due to the aggressive intensity, bared teeth, and blood-thirsty snarls and noises they made. At the time I didn’t have enough dog-experience to know this was completely normal and healthy dog behavior- evolutionarily important ancient dances they would do to prepare them for life in the wild and communicating social standing. Now when they spar, and bared teeth are wrapped around each other’s necks and bodies are forcefully pinned to the ground, I get that all is right in their world. They taught me the assurance I now possess whenever seeing dogs sparring wildly- but wow do Smokey and Kiwi take it to the edge!

Despite sharing kin in breed, and are brothers under the same roof, Smokey and Kiwi are quite distinct individuals. Dog personalities being infinitely diverse and distinct is another major learning of mine in the dog world.

Smokey has developed, or wrestled out of Kiwi, a strong independence and security as a top dog among whoever he’s around. He knows his size and power grant him advantages to exploit (like defying Lilith or I recalling him on the trail when he finds a decaying carcass to delight and roll in) (alas, we have special kryptonite-style tricks and treats to overcome his spell under something rotting). Smokey is fine either hanging out or sleeping around people, or not. He’s indeed a lover, but not a needer.

Kiwi’s persona is much more connected to the humans around him. On trail adventures he’s regularly checking in closely where I’m at and when at our house I’ve long watched him follow Lilith from room to room wherever she goes. He prefers playing with other dogs and being by our human sides rather than always going his own way. Kiwi is a perfect unifying force among a pack of dogs in our activity groups- playing with everybody and modeling good-human connection.

We’ve treasured Smokey and Kiwi’s role in the learning and development of Buddy and love having them as regulars in the Buddy Family.

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