BY MARY WICOFF
Lincoln is a long, lean running machine, who loves to stretch his legs at Fetch Dog Park.
The Labradoodle (Labrador/standard poodle mix) loves to romp around the park with his buddies, Kinsey, Molly and Toby.
Meanwhile, owner Ed Gaertner of Danville relaxes while keeping an eye on the 4-year-old dog.
The two have been coming to the park for a couple of years.
“He loves it,” Gaertner said, while Lincoln walked around with his nose to the ground, taking in all the doggy scents. “When I say ‘do you want to go to the dog park?’ he goes nuts. He starts barking and jumping up and down.”
He added, “He requires a lot of exercise and a lot of attention.”
Gaertner is faithful about walking the dog around his neighborhood or taking Lincoln to the park when he gets off work from Charles Industries in Rantoul.
His girlfriend, Kim Coffey, and her dog, Wrigley, come to the park, too, when she’s in town from Nashville, Tenn. She’s an attorney at Goldberg & Dohan LLP, and plans on moving north soon.
With their busy schedules, Gaertner and Coffey try to see each other every weekend, and they especially enjoy bringing “the kids” to the dog park.
Lincoln and Wrigley are best buds who like to play tug of war.
In the past, Gaertner and his family had a border collie, Tiger, who lived to be 16. When Tiger died, the family decided to get a Labradoodle because of their reputation for not shedding much, and thus, being a good choice for allergy sufferers.
They found a breeder in Indiana; the mother, Halle Berry, is a chocolate Labrador and the father, Romeo, is a black standard poodle. The Gaertners had trouble thinking of a name for the puppy and finally settled on Lincoln, which is the maiden name of Gaertner’s mother.
“He’s the friendliest dog in the world,” Gaertner said of Lincoln. “He’s great with children, and he likes to cuddle.” The 100-pound dog sleeps in the bed with his owner, too. He gets groomed about every three months.
Lincoln is smart, Gaertner said, and knows how to sit, speak and give a “high five.” Plus, he was easy to housebreak.
The Gaertners are from Chicago, so Lincoln sports a Bears collar. In the summer, he’ll look dashing in a Cubs collar.
Gaertner said he’d recommend the designer breed for other people, although he believes in rescuing dogs from shelters, as well. Owners of Labradoodles say the dogs have the best traits of both breeds — the low-shedding coat of a poodle and the temperament of a Lab. They’re also considered to be highly intelligent.
“He’s so friendly,” Gaertner said. “He likes to run and play and he likes to sniff a lot (at the park).”
Indeed, it’s fun to watch the hot-rod Lincoln race around the park — long legs stretched out, ears flapping in the wind, and not a care in the world. Even if they’re at the park just a short time, it’s still quality time for human and hound.
Learn more about the park at www.fetchdogpark.org. Tags are required, which can be bought at the Humane Society of Danville; they’re $15 for the first dog and $5 for the second.
The Pets column runs every four weeks. If you would like to have your pet featured, contact Mary Wicoff at 477-5161, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Commercial-News, 17 W. North, Danville, IL 61832.