From ocean wave dodging to training for a marathon, Bauer, a 3-year-old English setter, keeps his pet parents on their toes. Though Bauer now lives in Florida, his first outdoor adventure began in Texas. "During Christmastime two years ago, we lived in Texas and it snowed," said Kristin Lesko, Bauer's owner. "My husband, John, had never seen snow so we decided to put on our warmest clothes and go out to play in it. Of course, we wanted Bauer to join in on the fun. So we made snow angels, snowmen, and had snowball fights. Bauer mostly ran around, ate snow and—occasionally—peed on it."
Bauer, who is named after the character Jack Bauer from the TV series "24," has since expanded his active lifestyle. Dog parks and the beach are two of his favorite places to get in a good workout, though he's still a bit wary of the waves. "We take him to the dog park and—every now and again—the dog beach," Lesko said. "He isn't too sure about the ocean waves though. He doesn't trust them."
Lesko rescued Bauer from a high-kill shelter in Texas, where the then young pup won her heart not with his display of energy, but in a more subtle way. "I walked through the rows of cages—filled with dogs who were barking and jumping anxiously—and stopped in front of our now beloved family pet," Lesko said. "He did not bark or cry. He didn't even jump up when I came over. He simply pressed his face against the intertwined wires of the cage, hoping to brush against my hand to be touched, even just for a moment. I instantly fell in love."
Now, Bauer is a ball of energy, and running with Lesko, who participates in half-marathons and triathlons, is one of his favorite activities. "He loves to run with me," Lesko said. "When I'm training for a race I bring my dog along for the short runs. He's always been faster than me. Those are the best types of companions to run with—someone who is better than you. He pushes me to work harder."
The hunting dog genes in Bauer give him lots of personality, and it shows in what Lesko said is his best talent. "His best talent is definitely sneaking up on and 'pointing' at his prey," Lesko said. "His breed instinctually 'points,' which means that his tail stiffens, they bow their head and lift one paw. We believe he used to be a hunting dog, as the animal shelter we rescued him from said they found him lost in an empty field."
He's shown his hunting prowess a few times with his favorite noisy toys. "It used to be a stuffed squeaky duck, until he shred it to pieces. (RIP squeaky duck.)," said Lesko. "Now, it's a squeaky football. We're hoping he'll move on to silent toys someday."
These days Bauer's prey is mostly lizards and mailmen, Lesko jokes, and living an active lifestyle with pet parents who adore him. "He greets us when we come home by hugging us," Lesko said. "He's the most loyal and loving dog we've ever had, and he's completely changed our perspective on animals. They truly feel and love the same way we do. And we couldn't love ours any more than we do today."
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