We settled into a routine pretty quickly with our new family member. He was, by the vet's best guess, about 7 months old and still chewing things and rather rambunctious. He was, also the vet's best guess, most likely a mix of Dalmatian and Blue Heeler, a mix we promptly dubbed a Dalmuttion. Heelers are working dogs and tend to be busy. Dalmatians are runners, often high-strung and headstrong. In short, we could have been majorly screwed if not for the famous mutt gene that kicked in to mellow the mix a bit.
His coat was a mix of heeler and Dal but the spots were unmistakable in origin. Along the ridge of his back the spots were smeared as if they smudged while the paint was still wet. All of these characteristics were part of the name discussion. "Spot" was quickly dismissed, "Jupiter" gained a small following based on a big black spot on his face, "Dappleganger" for a strange spotted apparition, then finally "Doppler" arose, a grey-shifted Dalmatian, a name that tickled the geek in us.
Doppler was fast and needed to run a lot. The easiest way for us to tucker him out was to take our bikes and run him along the river where a dirt trail went for miles and he could run flat out. He loved it, the water was shallow and not more than chest deep. Once back home he'd pass out for a few hours and then bounce up ready for the next excursion.
A favorite outing was a walk to the town park. Especially near evening when the gnats were hovering above the thick green grass and the swallows were on the hunt. The swallows would swoop and swirl about a foot above the grass and Doppler would be chasing them, nipping at their tails. He never caught one, either they were too fast or too smart. The swallows had the advantage of being able to turn on a dime in midair and he would spin out especially if the grass was damp.
Running, running, running....carriage dog all the way.