Dogs rule in this little corner of Eden Prairie. They exercise on nearby Three Rivers trails when they’re humoring humans with civilized runs and walks on leashes. They romp free-style at the off-leash park just down the street. They ponder life as a dog, gazing at lakes and wetlands while neighbor friends chat. Carmel Park offers lots of smells and birds to chase. Their people take turns hosting book clubs and happy hours, and there’s always a pushover sneaking morsels to the good dog of the house. We caught up with just a few of them this month at Bryant Lake Regional Park.

A Happy Surprise

Percy

The Cavapoo puppy

Percy joined his family as the best Christmas present ever just last year. Allison Miedema’s kids pleaded for a pup for over ten years. They moved to their new home and the time was right. Allison pretended a friend ran out of gas, but returned with a tiny ball of fur. Percy’s first impression of his family included wide eyes and delighted squeals. He’s a busy guy. Percy has three young humans to chase and stays fit with plenty of intentional exercise. He enjoys long walks by the lake and is also “enrolled” in swimming lessons, taught by his kids. He excels at fetch and adds his own special keep-away twist when he decides the time is right. Percy is only nine months old and is proud to be 99% accident-free. (It’s hard for Minnesota pups to learn when the snow is so deep.) He lets his people know it’s time to go out by ringing bells placed strategically by the doors. Percy cuddles with a puppy toy in his kennel for naps. Good boy, Percy.

Rescue Me

Gus and Stella  

The mid-life mixed-breeds

The Doeden-Brusseau family rescued Gus and Stella through SecondHand Hounds. They both have formal names for their business cards: August (his arrival month) Max and Stella (Artois) Maxine. Their mom, Ann, bestows middle names upon her dogs and they’ve all been Max or Maxine since her teens. Both Gus and Stella were potty trained with bells by their canine big sister Sadie, who has since passed away. “Tug” is their sport and they’ve dismantled freshly planted sod to play with a square of it.

At seven, Gus has lots of hobbies, including fetch, trying to carry lots of toys in his mouth at once, guarding his perimeter from the neighbor dog, Gabby, and making sure his mom doesn’t pay attention to any other dogs. Gus is learning to talk and can almost say, “I love you.” He holds up his end of the conversation with his people when basking in belly rubs. While his humans decided against orthodontia to fix his misaligned jaw, they did opt for orthopedic surgery to correct a leg that was growing crookedly. Always the gracious host, Gus welcomes family members and every visitor with the formal presentation of a toy. Good boy, Gus.

Stella is six and a half and the queen of her castle. She’s claimed a throne by the window and ensures that the backyard is free from intruding wildlife. If she spots a sign of movement from her perch, one of her humans has to open the back door so she can flush out the offending squirrel, bird or bunny. The thrill of the chase is followed by a prompt return to guard duty from her chair. A multi-faceted girl, Stella is also full of cuddles. She reaches out to hold hands or ask for a pat and sleeps nestled under the covers by her parents’ feet. Good girl, Stella.

Made for Each Other

Lucy

A senior Cav-a-Jack

Lucy was destined to be part of her family. Kris Matson, her mom-to-be, wanted a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel; Kris’s son wanted a Jack Russell Terrier. After their family dog died, they saw a Craig’s List ad from a family who couldn’t take care of their three-year-old “Cav-a-Jack.” Kris knew they’d be her forever family and Lucy doesn’t need to know she’s a compromise breed. Kris jokes she came to them “as is” and that training isn’t their strong suit. At ten years old, Lucy has opinions. She eschews toys and fetches, opting for entertaining her humans with games of chase and tag. Quite the social butterfly, Lucy takes her people for walks to the park with her neighbor dog friends Simmons and Max. She rubs noses and plays with her neighbor, Lilly. She can be a homebody, too. Lucy helps her humans cook and is always ready to tidy up spills in the kitchen. She spends quality time snuggling with her mom when she’s reading or watching tv. Good girl, Lucy.

Outstanding in Her Field

Remy  

A young Brittany Spaniel

Remy was born in Pennsylvania. Her mom and dad drove all the way there to bring her home to Eden Prairie. Even though she’s only two years old, she has an important job – helping her dad, John Neuman, hunt pheasants. She’s a quick learner. As much as she likes her field career, Remy will also do anything for a carrot and her family’s small children are proud when she listens to them.  If her people have plans to fish, train for a race or even play fetch, she’s game for it because she just wants to be part of the family. She’s a fan of car rides, too, and usually tries to ride “shotgun.” “Remy” is derived from “Remington,” after all. Her family thinks she has human traits, as demonstrated by her upright couch sitting posture. Remy prefers to speak “dog,” though, and politely requests dinner with a firm bark. Her favorite toys are whatever her kids like and if things get too quiet in her house, it might mean that she’s “playing” with a human girls’ toy all by herself. She’s friends with lots of dogs and enjoys zipping around the neighborhood off-leash park. Good girl, Remy.