CLINE: Going to the dogs not a bad thing

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

SUWANEE -- We all know that every dog has its day. But this past weekend I was reminded they get some mornings, too.

Actually, anyone with a dog knows the morning is their time. Nothing like waiting on a dog to do its business so you can go to yours. If you want a true test of your patience, see how you do waiting for the dog to be done as the clock tick, tick ticks toward your important meeting. It's times like those that it's good not to have neighbors too close by so they can't overhear you cajoling and pleading with your dog to please, please hurry up.

This past Saturday there wasn't much need for that, however. For the second time, the Georgia SPCA hosted its Run for the Rescues 5K, where the key was not hurrying the dogs but slowing them down a little as they tried to keep pace with their pooch pals. It was like Suwanee's Town Center was transformed into the world's largest dog park, each puppy as curious as a teenager on their first date.

The event is the SPCA's biggest fundraiser (organizers said they expected to raise more than $20,000) but just as important were the nearly 20 animals that found new homes after being adopted on Saturday. Putting the puppies out where everyone could see them playing with each other is a great marketing tool, one that we should consider adding to our Daily Post sales force. (Buy a full-page ad, get a puppy.)

For me, seeing all the different breeds is a treat. There was a pit bull with a silver-blue coat that was eye-catching and a mastiff named Samson that had a face only a mother could love. And while Samson was a big guy, even he couldn't match up in size with my favorite dog at the event (other than my own) -- Buddy, the Leonberger.

I met Buddy at last year's event, and laughed when his owner told me the name of the breed. But as soon as I got home I googled the breed to learn more about this gentle giant, which can weigh well over 170 pounds (Buddy is around 185 or so). Despite his size, Buddy and his breed are docile dogs, good for families with children.

That combination of size and easy-going manner makes Buddy a hit wherever he goes. People flock to him and his owner, asking questions about the unique looking animal and seeing if it's OK to pet him. As people crowd around them, it's funny to hear the owner give Buddy the command to lay down by saying "be small." As if that was possible.

Legend has it that the Leonberger was bred to mimic the lion in the crest of its namesake town -- Leonberg in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. It's fitting, because the breed is a regal looking animal, unlike any you are used to seeing at the park.

Last week, when the park literally went to the dogs, it was fun to see all the different shapes and sizes (which could also describe their owners) enjoy a great event and a beautiful morning.

Which got me thinking about Buddy and a variation of an old joke: Where does a 180-pound dog eat his dinner? Wherever he wants.

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.