Bela is my dog, a vizsla-lab mix who was born around August of 1999. I don't know exactly how old he is, as I got him from the pound. I got him on 2 August 2002, and declared that his third birthday.

When I decided it was time to get another dog, I sought help from my friend Jill Haunold, who with her husband Chris owns Idaho Mountain Touring and is very knowledgeable about dogs. I wanted a dog that would hike with me, and as I had had a gundog recently, I thought I would like to go that route again. Jill suggested a vizsla, which surprised me - I had heard of them because of my Hungarian heritage, but I didn't think they would be generally available. I hadn't seen many around.

Well, apparently there are quite a few of them around, and now I see them all the time. If you want one and live in or near Utah or Idaho, I recommend Utah/Idaho Vizsla Rescue. There are also several breeders around, but the rescue people get a lot of good dogs in and are very up front about their peculiarities. I turned down a vizsla-springer mix they had because as sweet as he was with humans, he didn't get along with other dogs. They tipped me off to Bela when he showed up at the pound.

Bela's name was Ernie when I got him. Jill told me the first thing I had to do was change the name, Ernie was a terrible name for a dog. I didn't, and still don't, have any idea why Ernie was such a terrible name, but she was adamant and I didn't want to cross Jill on the subject of dogs, so I suggested names of some Hungarian kings to her. You should have seen her reaction when I suggested "Zoltan". Anyway, we settled on Bela.

Bela is a very sweet dog. He loves all kinetic things, living or dead, and wants to play with them. He will chase other dogs, squirrels, cars, cats, foxes, marmots, tumbleweeds, coyotes, cows, and everything else. If he catches something, he wants to play with it, and run around in circles chasing each other. Some of the other dogs in the neighborhood, especially the females, like to play; but most of the others think he's nuts, if they can think at all. He seems to be getting the message as he gets older, but in spite of the training, I still don't trust him on a lonely road with one car going by.