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Kai and Roger: A man and his dog looking for adventures

By on June 25, 2019 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments
Roger the dog and Kai, his owner, enjoy motorbike rides together. During the rides, Roger sits in his special backpack, wearing goggles and enjoying the breeze.

By Jaana Hatton

Most dog owners are pretty pleased when their pets sit or heel on command. Their routine may be a walk or two throughout the day and lots of downtime for the dog. 

Then there’s Roger, the Irish terrier, who does a whole lot more.

I first met Roger on a hike with my friend Tiina. She often takes the dog, which belongs to her 25-year-old son, Kai, on outings. 

Roger is a good companion. He roams ahead just a bit, turns to look back to make sure all is well, and then roams a bit more. Never too far, never too fast. He is more like a sheepdog than a terrier.

Before I tell anything more about how special the four-year old Roger is, let me briefly introduce the Irish terrier breed to you.

The breed is considered medium to large, usually weighing about 27 pounds. The appearance of the dog can be described as “racy, red, and rectangular” (Wikipedia). The racy refers to its slim build, the red hints at the orange-hued coat and the rectangular describes the overall shape of the animal. 

So, what we are talking about here is the “Racy Red Rectangular Roger.” Got your tongue into a twist yet?

An Irish terrier is a good choice for someone with allergies. The wiry coat does not shed easily but instead, traps loose hairs in place until brushing time. Under the coarse outer layer is a dense, fine coat that covers the skin entirely: a second skin, almost. An Irish terrier will not easily get cold or wet.

The breed tends to be lively, but not hyperactive. An Irish terrier is constantly looking for things to do, seeking out physical and mental challenges. You can ask Tiina about the new landscaping features Roger generated on her property as a puppy. There are few less rhododendrons in her yard now — thanks to a few dog-made alterations.

An Irish terrier is good with people, kind with children, but dominating with other dogs. A good family dog, it sounds like. Like I mentioned earlier, when Roger hikes with us, he is constantly keeping an eye on us — his family.

I have known Roger for a year, and he has always been an obedient, low-key dog — rather like an English gentleman, or Irish, in his case. His boundless energy seems well under control. 

Roger is much like Kai, his owner — considerate with a quiet confidence but also with an eye for adventure whenever there is a possibility. 

Hiking isn’t a big deal for Roger, it’s just a walk. His more exciting outings include kayaking, paddle-boarding and motorbike rides. None of it was forced on him. Kai simply took the dog along and Roger has enjoyed it all.

“It took some practice to get the paddle-boarding right,” Kai chuckled. “Initially Roger would approach me from his spot at the end of the board and that threw the balance off.” 

After a few unexpected dunks in the water the pair figured out how to stay on the board and on the surface of the water. 

From paddle-boarding, kayaking is a simple adjustment, and easier. I want to mention that Kai puts a flotation vest on Roger when they are on the water. 

Roger and Kai draw attention while riding through local streets, and now are on Instagram at RogerRuffian.

Getting Roger used to the motorcycling backpack was more of an effort. For one thing, the dog just fits inside the carrying device, as snuggly as they get. 

“I use positive reinforcement,” Kai said. “Getting inside the backpack meant peanut butter for Roger. I am looking for a more comfortable pack for him as the current one is such a tight fit.” 

They now happily ride along the streets of Wenatchee, drawing attention and fans everywhere they go. Somebody even followed alongside them and filmed the ride. You can find Kai and Roger on Instagram as RogerRuffian.

“We only go at 30 miles per hour. About 20 minutes is enough for him,” Kai explained. “He is used to wearing the goggles now. Next I need to get him a helmet to protect his ears.”

Kai works as a nurse at Confluence Health, so it’s no wonder he pays attention to his pet’s health.

“He is a bit of a daredevil,” Kai said with a grin. “Once on a trip to Cape Disappointment he got into a fight with two huge bucks, a porcupine and several crabs — all within the same day.” 

Boldness is a trait imbedded in their genes.

“There is one thing he truly fears in this world — the vacuum,” Kai said.

All through my interview with Kai the dog was with us, his head resting on his owner’s leg and eyes upward watching Kai’s every move. 

Roger may be a daredevil of a canine, but he is also much like a guardian angel. 

Jaana Hatton is a Wenatchee-based writer. She loves the outdoors and most animals (spiders are not high on her list of likability). Jaana grew up with dogs in the family and knows how much they can enrich our human existence, make us pay attention to the here and now and maybe romp and play.

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