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Mister November 2015 - Gus
Gus knows his place at Arlington Place

ut aside your ideas of a Type A personality being a necessity for upper management, and consider Gus. When he does hunt, he is more of a catch-and-release kind of guy. He’s a dreamer — a very physically active dreamer — but a dreamer nonetheless. And he defies pigeonholing – he’s a Retriever who won’t retrieve. Yet, Gus has managed to work his way in to upper management at Arlington Place.

As one of the first to greet visitors to Arlington Place, Gus is a firm believer in Management by Walking Around. His domain is the 1,000 acres of the growing community on Hwy 306 between Arapahoe and Minnesott Beach where he lives with Becca and Blair Lang, agents on site. From the homes and cottages to the Neuse riverfront and woods, Gus patrols it all.

For showing alternative ways to become Top Dog, Gus is Mr. November – The Pet of the Month.

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Gus is a fixture among the neighborhood and people at Arlington Place. Here he surveys part of his domain from the front yard of Blair and Becca Lang. “It’s not that he belongs to this place,” says Becca, “He thinks this place belongs to him.”

Now in his prime years in management – a conversion from dog years to human ones puts Gus at 42 – Gus came up through the ranks. 6 years ago Becca was pregnant with her first child when she and Blair picked Gus.

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“No need to discuss much, just get on the bus, Gus … and take charge.” This is Gus’ take charge pose.

The gentle dog was not afraid to be a bit pushy, that day. He was sitting on top of a pile of his brothers and sisters. Like the fidgety student who so knows the answer to a question, and who stretches his arm high in the air to get the teacher ‘s attention, it was as if Gus was crying out, “Pick me, pick me.”

They did. And in time, raised a “people dog.”

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Sometimes the male child will bond with the mother human as well as the father human.

Early on, Gus may have thought dogs are allotted nine lives just as felines are. He managed to use up all 9 in just one incident: riding in the car, he squeezed through a small opening at the top of a car window. When he landed outside, it was with a big thud – he was winded and knocked out. Recalling that day, Becca was at a loss for words describing their joy when he “came to.”

He has since learned to restrain the jumping urge until the vehicle has stopped.

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The car window can be fully open now. Gus learned from his first leap out of a moving car to wait for orders to de-car, even after the car has come to a stop in the driveway.

That typical teenage experience of jumping out of the car became a life lesson. It didn’t quell Gus’s inquisitive nature – he become an explorer, but within limits. He explores only where he has eminent domain.

Becca describes his roaming around Arlington Place. “He rides around in the golf cart with us; he goes swimming in the river when he wants to; he visits dog friends throughout the neighborhood when he wants to, plays with them when he wants to, and comes home when he wants to.”

“You can just tell he thinks these thousand acres are his own domain.”

What does he do on jaunts to the river, along the back roads, through the forests, mingling with deer, squirrels, and anything else that walks, runs, crawls, swims or flies?

He does chase crabs, but rarely catches them. Minnows though, that’s another story. Gus loves to catch minnows and for this, he has the benefit of a fast paw. He catches them with that webbed paw, holds them down for a short while, and then, after he has demonstrated he has final say in the matter of life or death for the little fish, he let’s them go.

If there were a breed called Catch-and-Releaser, Gus would fit right in.

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Gus, however, is a Golden Retriever, though he fails — rather stunningly — to live up to the name.. Other dogs — in other breeds, even — may love to retrieve things, but not Gus.

Somewhere along the line, Gus figured out it was a pointless waste of time to chase a ball just to be part of a stupid human trick. Throw a ball for him to fetch, and if you want it back, you better go get it yourself.

The same applies to hunting. Gus has shown an unwillingness to join humans on hunting trips if it meant he’d be dispatched to wade and swim in uncharted waters. Why retrieve a duck that is not going to be on his menu?

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Disciplined as he is, Gus still likes a good roll on the lawn.

When it is time for dinner, Gus can show dignified table manners on the one paw, but on the other, he can also push the limits of endearment.

Gus will not dine on scraps discarded by humans after they have enjoyed the good parts. Perhaps it’s a matter of principle. This might make one think of Gus as a ` welcome dining companion..

That point may disappear however, shortly after he chows down on his bowl of dry dog food. Routinely, he will then walk over to Blair’s easy chair, stretch his head over Blair’s lap, and utter a profound burp. The Langs are persuaded that Gus recognizes this as appropriate — and for humans, a much preferred —- behavior to aid digestion.

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Instead of remembering singer Paul Simon’s 50 ways to leave a lover, one might imagine 50 ways to describe one. Gus has been called a howler.

In this and so many other ways, Gus does follow the Golden Retriever playbook – he so wants to please his humans. Perhaps foreseeing how this would be a better life for him, he disciplined himself as a teenager to develop mellow traits in the company of humans. This serves him well as an icebreaker in the reception hall at Arlington Place headquarters when new clients arrive to investigate properties for sale.

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Becca has taught Gus the art of looking one straight in the eye when greeting a client to Arlington Place’s real estate office.

“He’s so cute.” Throughout the Towndock interview with Gus, Becca echoed what many visitors have said of the family dog. “He’s so cute.”

He is, but Gus is more than that. He’s on guard, too. You see that when the family is out in the yard. Becca and Blair may be in one part of the yard, and their two young children just a short distance away in another spot. Gus finds himself a spot between them all, where he can keep a vigilant watch over those under his domain.

Blair notes that their children, Eve and Keegan, distracted by Popsicles here, often rely on Gus’ discipline while their own decorum remains in a state of development. Gus has a big party planned for Eve’s 5th birthday. All the neighborhood canines will bring gifts.

Gus also tolerates young Eve’ and Keegan’s attempts to be Willie Shoemaker when they want him to be American Pharaoh. He did allow them to choose his costume for Halloween, except the socks.

Becca lauds Gus’ patience. “He has been both a step stool and a pillow for the children.”

When Gus does tire, he prefers to sleep on his back. All dogs must sleep, and perchance, they dream. Gus is one of those. “His howling during puppy dreams will wake up the household,” says Becca. “In those dreams, his feet will be kicking as if he is in a big chase. We can only imagine what he is chasing.”

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An imaginative dream?

With so much territory to explore in his waking hours, it seems Gus has a dog’s dream life already. Who knew that to give him a yard, he the would rule all that acreage? That he did it with demonstrated intelligence, wisdom, gentility and most important, skills in customer relations, makes Gus, Mr. November Pet of the Month.

Gus’s Bio
Celebrity Pet Most Resembles: Brad Pitt

Favorite color: Whatever complements blonde hair.
Favorite food: A Hardees chicken filet biscuit. Enough dry food!
Professional Dream: To go from Pet of the Month to an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Personal Ambition: Ride a Harley Davidson to impress the girls
Political Ambition: Arlington Place Mayor

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Know a pet that is a standout? Send in some details and a photo to info@towndock.net. Tell why that pet deserves the coveted TownDock.net Pet of the Month Prize Package --- accolades, a pat on the head (snakes excluded) and a box of Milk Bones ( or snack suitable for the species).

We regret that we cannot offer a college scholarship to Pet Of The Month winners.

Animals caught near the HarborCam attempting to suck up to the judges will be disqualified.