Kimberly Robinson
Matt Kellogg and his dog Theo come to Myrtle Reservoir Park frequently to get some exercise and chase the ball (Theo does the chasing), but whether he brings it back is highly dependent on his attitude at the moment, how far the ball is thrown and whether or not there's shade he can rest in.

Pet of the week: Theo is a dog who is very much his own man

Matt Kellogg named his dog Theo for jazz great Thelonius Monk.

Here's why. "He came from a litter of about eight and we (Kellogg and his girlfriend JoAnn Acosta) had gone to Petco out in Bellevue to the Grant County No Kill Animal Shelter since they were having an event there. The event featured rescue dogs or dogs whose owners could no longer care for them. "When a person would pet the dogs in his litter, they would then move on, and all the puppies would jump up after them," as if to say 'come back, come back Kellogg explained. "One little white puppy though did his own thing. He went off into his own little corner and laid on his paws. He wasn't begging for attention, but he wasn't disappointed either. That was his demeanor. That was so cool to me. It's such a cool instinct for a puppy that small, to be that self possessed and self contained. He seemed like Thelonius Monk to me. That was the coolest name I could think of, so we shortened it to Theo."

Theo is now about 7 and a half months old. "We were told that he's a cross between a Wire Haired Terrier and a Blue Heeler. But we ran into somebody recently who said 'he's got to be a Fox Terrier, you can see that in his ears but we don't really know."

He's very smart and "he's versatile," Kellogg said. "He's very balanced. He's most balanced dog I've ever met." By that he means that Theo is just as happy relaxing and cuddling as he is out chasing a ball. "I think that's so rare for a puppy because they are go, go go, me, me me. It takes a lot of dogs a while to acclimate to people." But not Theo. He's an instant, "People person," said Kellogg. "We really lucked out. This is our first pet."

But therein lies evidence of his personality. If you are close by, say within 10 to 15 feet, he will fetch a thrown ball and even 'throw' it back to you. But at distance he might just as likely get the ball and then find some shade to relax in or get distracted by something he finds interesting. Returning the ball quickly becomes a low priority.

Acosta offers this view of Theo:
"Theo is the first pet I've ever had and he's really helped continue to grow in so many ways; he's the first thing I've had to look after in my life and it has been humbling, exhausting, and blissful.

What came as a pleasant surprise to me was all the great people who saw how green I was at the dog park that first week and basically reached out and trained me, gave me great advice, and calmed my panicky state.

Theo has been the thaw of the Seattle Chill. I have talked to more people in one week with Theo by my side than I have for the past 15 years that I've lived here combined. The spontaneous smiles of strangers, the 5 minute conversations about dogs past, and the general sense of good will has left me moved deep down on more than one occasion as I walk away from these people who open up and share their stories, advice, and cheer. I feel more connected my fellow humans."

Theo got some initial training from PetSmart in the junction and knows how to sit, lie down, roll over and is working on "shaking hands."

Kellogg described something Theo has learned about their routine. "We have an enclosure for him when we have to go to work but when it's time to put him in his enclosure with his bed and his crate I'll throw the ball into the kitchen and he'll go toward it and just stop. He won't go to the ball because he knows what's next."

They feed him Darwin's organic food ordered online. "It's pretty rich and we started him on it when we first got him. He didn't take to it right away but he's been getting more into it lately. His breath smells better and he's more regular."
They give him jerky treats from Trader Joes.

Theo also goes for walks with a dog walker named Theresa often to the Westcrest off leash dog park where he gets to see his best friend (after Kellogg and Acosta), Bueno.

Kellogg summed Theo up as, "A wonderful presence, an amazing spirit, a trusted friend who reminds you to get up and enjoy life and not let little things drag you down. Variety is the spice of life."

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