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March 5, 2012 at 10:17 PM

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Northwest Wanderings: Running with the Rocket Dog pack


ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Chewy, a Boston terrier, is a smaller member of Boone Elliott's pack, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in personality.

Written by Alan Berner:

There's Chewy, Dakota, Stella and Max. And Lulu, Chrome, Chloe and Rex.

All had to try out to join the club, though they didn't know there was an audition.

But if these dogs wanted to run with Boone Elliott's pack, they had to exhibit proper social skills within the group and in public. Aggressive behavior is not tolerated.

Dog walker Elliott says they just can't have that first sniff of each other in the tight space of a van.

"So, I meet the parents at their home first."

Then it's to Elliott's yard. If everyone is cool they get to join the daily Frisbee chasing, ball tossing, jogging and dip into Lake Washington waters with him at the off-leash area of Magnuson Park in Seattle.

"It's like going to school without the classes, without the homework," he says.

And for $25 to $30 a day, "they'll see friends and fulfill their social needs." Elliott likes to keep the pack smaller — eight or nine dogs, tops.

But, "I'm Alpha Dog, gotta be," he says, even with his own Aussie shepherd, Denali.

He calls his service Rocket Dog because everyone "is fired up and will have a blast."

When their session is over, it's back in the van where all is still, and they sit quietly. No jumping about, no barking. Just each dog tired and lost in its own thoughts.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Boone Elliott and Lulu, a great Dane-golden doodle mix, get ready unload from his van for another outting at the Magnuson Park off-leash area.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Boone Elliott has all his dogs on this day's trip leashed up and ready to leave Magnuson Park. They're waiting for another person to come through the gate into the off-leash area.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Rain or shine, winter or summer, Boone Elliott dashes into Lake Washington waters with his pack.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Boone Elliott and Max play at the water's edge at the Magnuson Park off-leash area.

To see more images of Rocket Dog pack, visit the gallery.

Most Popular Comments
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I don't trust people who don't like dogs. There's something wrong with them. MORE
Looking at the dogs all on a leash made my shoulder hurt. Great pics MORE
We need a King County dog reduction program. MORE

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