In the fall of 2020, Ryan Zook began the hunt for a family dog. With three boys at home, ages 8, 10, and 12, Ryan had hopes of bringing home a “Christmas dog.” By September, Ryan found a breeder to work with, and the family officially took Mikey home in early December.

“Now, getting a Christmas puppy is fun for the kids, but having a puppy around a Christmas tree — not so fun,” Ryan quips. “So much so that we took the Christmas tree down on Christmas Day. She broke a handful of ornaments and tried eating the Christmas tree all day long. It was a great concept, but it was also a lot of work!”

Mischief aside (and with a puppy, there’s sure to be plenty of it), Mikey has made herself right at home in the Zook family. She is named after Ryan’s father, Mike, who passed away four years ago. So while her name leads to a bit of gender confusion, it’s special to Ryan and his family.

Mikey is a Red Fox Labrador Retriever. She has a coat similar to a Rhodesian Ridgeback — another breed that Ryan was drawn to — but the demeanor of a lab. “We originally thought about getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback, but I read that they won’t play fetch,” Ryan says. Mikey, on the other hand, will joyously play fetch all day. She hangs out with the family at baseball games, outdoor restaurants, the golf course, enjoys hiking, and was even part of one of their latest real estate videos. “My next thing is to try to get her to wake surf with me. If I can get that to happen, it’ll be awesome,” Ryan smiles.

After almost a year in the Zook household, Mikey is fitting right in. She brings unmatchable joy to Ryan and his sons, always ready to play or cuddle.

“Dogs are a big responsibility, but they bring so much joy to life. They are always there. They always want to hang out and spend time. They’re always happy. The concept of man’s best friend, it’s a true statement,” Ryan explains.


Q&A with Mikey

REAL Producers: Tell me about your idea of a perfect day.

Mikey: The perfect day would be hanging out with my dad for morning coffee, going out with my brothers on a walk or to catch the yellow ball, and then an afternoon nap. Maybe Dad will feed me some steak for dinner if we go out to eat.

REAL Producers: What’s one thing that most humans just don’t get about you?

Mikey: When I come over to you, don’t be scared. Even if I don’t know you, I just want to give you a hug and play with you.

REAL Producers: What are your goals and dreams for the future?

Mikey: I want to travel with my family and explore new places … and make some new puppy friends along the way. I’m also planning to become a service dog someday for my brother, who has Type 1 diabetes.

REAL Producers: If you could give humans one piece of advice, what would it be?

Mikey: Don’t take life too seriously. Today is another beautiful day to play!


A native of Fairfax, Virginia, Ryan Zook started his real estate career shortly after graduating from the University of Virginia. In 2012, he launched the DWELLUS brand. Today, Ryan is the CEO of Dwellus, a Keller Williams Realty team. They closed over $110 million in 2020 and were ranked as a top 10 Virginia mega-team by RealTrends.

DWELLUS is all about the people, and we operate as a family. But we also offer a unique value proposition in that we create virtual walk-throughs, video, 3D floor plans, drones, etc., for every single property,” Ryan explains. “We also create a unique property webpage for that seller.”

At home, Ryan has three sons. If he’s not traveling for their baseball games, you can find him wakeboarding, coaching, shooting photography, and exploring the magic of the world around him through travel.