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COVER STORY

Chasing St or ms

The advent ures of a boy and his dog -------------------------BY: ALANA HOLT Staff Photographer -------------------------To storm chasers, she?s good luck. To the Instagram world, she?s Joplin the Storm Chasing Dog. But to M ike M ezeul II, she?s his kid and partner in crim e who has adventured with him to 14 national parks, 10 states and two countries. M ezeul is a photographer known for his stunning landscape, cityscape and night sky photography. He has been chasing storm s for 18 years and Joplin joined him about three years ago. Joplin is seven-years-young and thought to be a Jack Russell/ English Pointer m ix. She?s a m edium -sized, white and brown pup who is wary around strangers, but once she?s com fortable around people she will clean their face off. And ironically, she doesn?t like m en in hats though her dad can often be found wearing one. Joplin is very m uch her father ?s daughter and can easily find herself getting distracted and doesn?t stay in one place for long, unless she?s entranced by belly rubs. And while M ezeul could spend all the m oney in the world on the best chew toy in existence, Joplin's favorite will always be the original chew toy ? the stick.

ROUGH START M ezeul adopted Joplin when she was six weeks old in 2012. He noticed she wasn?t eating and one of the first places he took her 20 | TEXASDOGMAGAZINE.COM

TOP: Storm-chasing duo Mike Mezull II and Joplin have made it through thick and thin and are an inseparable pair. BOTTOM: Even after all the other toy?s Mike has bought her, Joplin?s favorite toy is still a stick. Photos by Alana Holt.

after the adoption was Chic-fil-A, but she showed no interest in the chicken nuggets he offered. Later that night, he noticed she wasn?t drinking, and she becam e ill, vom iting and suffering from diarrhea. ?I?ve seen this before,? M ezeul rem em bered thinking. ?She?s got Parvo.? He bounced around from vet to vet trying to find one that genuinely cared to help them and wouldn?t conclude with, ?Let ?s take her back and put her down.? M ike said, ?Screw that, we?re finding her a vet,? and he m anaged to find a helpful veterinarian in Denton where Joplin stayed for two weeks. Even though

she had to be quarantined because Parvo is highly contagious, M ezeul visited her every day. When after five days she couldn?t lift her head, he tried to prepare him self for the worst; but after 10 days she was well enough to com e ? though she?d contracted kennel cough for which she was treated and eventually recovered. ?So, she went through a little bit of a rough tim e at

the beginning, but now she?s com pletely healthy,? M ike said sm iling down at Joplin, who lay near his feet outside a Starbucks.

WHAT'S IN A N AM E In 2011, Joplin, M o. was hit by an EF-5 tornado with winds greater than 200 m ph. The twister caused 158 fatalities and injured m ore than 1,000 people, according to the National

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Texas Dog Magazine | Spring 2019