Meet the first Homeward Bound Pet Family of the Month for 2015: charming Gus Hedges and his pet-parents, Mary Allyn and Stephen. In the best Oxford tradition, Mississippi natives Mary Allyn and Stephen met at a football game, when Ole Miss hosted Auburn. We’re not sure who won the game that day, but romance was the real prize.
Career opportunities led the young couple to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Both Mary Allyn and Stephen grew up with dogs and once settled in Wyoming, Stephen thought “We need a dog”, and they found him – just like that. A very special little fellow, selected because he stood out as the whitest, lightest member of the litter of yellow Labrador Retrievers; he looked like a polar bear cub! And how did the couple come up with the moniker for Gus? They just liked the name – it belonged to Stephen’s favorite character of the popular Lonesome Dove TV series. One of the family’s favorite photos is of furry little Gus sitting in front of a panorama of Wyoming’s Grand Teton mountain range.
Returning to Oxford, Gus wasted no time finding a best bud in another Homeward Bound favorite: neighbor Jack Brown, a Golden Retriever. The pair is together most days, running and playing tug of war. True to his retriever roots, Gus has a particular fondness for hunting down and retrieving tennis balls. The ritual is Gus’ own private Easter egg hunt. He’s also fond of Halloween – he might not get to trick or treat, but the boy likes his costumes. This past Halloween he sported a frog costume. The holiday season provides more opportunities for Gus to dress up; he has his very own antlers.
Gus loves to eat. Anything. Everything. Chocolate cake? Oh, yeah. The Hedges believe he would eat a fifty-pound back of kibble without stopping if given the chance. Instead, he is closely monitored to stay ahead of his many food allergies. The poor guy had a rough patch until the family was thankfully able to isolate the origin of recurring ear infections and some miserable allergic skin reactions.
When not hanging out with Jack, Gus spends some serious leisure time watching TV (he will stare at any animal on the screen) and chilling in front of the window from the kitchen table banquette. He very slyly appears to be observing and protecting the neighborhood from this spot, but the Hedges suspect he’s simply hoping for that one little scrap of people food …