Et Tu, Brutus?
Since going airborne for the first time four years ago, Brutus, the death-defying wonder wiener, has taken the plunge 34 times, tucked into a custom-made pouch on his master's chest. "The worst thing you can do for a dog is separate him from his owner," claims Sirull, 38, an unemployed technical writer who began skydiving in 1979 while a data processor in the Navy. Calling himself the world's leading authority on canine aerodynamics, he adds, "Brutus's goal in life is to go where I go."
To that end, Sirull and Brutus head for Arizona Aerosports several times a month. Going aloft in a single-engine Cessna—big enough for a pilot, four passengers and a dachshund—they jump out at 8,000 feet and go into a 30-second, 150-mph freefall before their chute opens at around 2,000 feet. "Brutus sniffs the air all the way down," says Sirull proudly. "This is one dedicated dude. He's fearless."
Besides motorcycling and skydiving, Sirull and his Phoenix apartment-mate have also kayaked and even gone rock climbing together. "I've exposed him to as many things as possible to help him enjoy life," says the Miami-born bachelor, although he concedes that he usually scuba dives alone. (Brutus hates water.)
Sirull says he has gotten the green light to jump with pooch in pouch from the Arizona Humane Society. He also checked with Phoenix vet Carol Burke, who said, "I'm sure Brutus loves to jump. It doesn't surprise me at all." In fact, Brutus has become le hot dog with local skydivers. "They all want to jump with him so they can put it in their log books," Sirull explains, though he concedes that some folks do worry about Brutus's falling out of the pouch. "If he did," scoffs Sirull, "his name would be Spot."