When people call me to ask about boarding their dogs or for information regarding working with a timid dog, early on in the conversation I will ask what kind of dog it is. It helps me to have a picture of the dog, in the case of boarding it may determine whether the conversation needs to continue or not. Two 9 month old Saint Bernards are probably not a good fit for my in-small-home, kennel-free boarding set-up, but 2 seniors might be. A fearful Yorkie is likely experiencing life very differently than a fearful rottie. When it is not a pure-bred dog, owners will often reply, “He’s only a mutt.”
Only a mutt? You mean your dog might share some of the same genetic coding as a regal German Shepherd AND a goofy, coffee-table-clearing-tailed lab? Or the giddiness of a Maltese and the can-do attitude of a terrier? The easy to care for coat and beautiful musculature of a pitbull and the affinity for water of a Newfoundland? Or perhaps they are living with a dog that has figured out how to open cabinets to get at the trash, or can map the path of a frisbee or ball and know just where they need to be in order to snatch it out of mid-air. Some are living with dogs willing to run for miles along side them when they jog or ride a bike or will happily and gently eat the ice cream cone from the outstretched, chubby hand of a toddler going by in a stroller (unless they’ve been trained not to!). The dog will wait for hours in the car while they work or shop and cuddle up with them on the sofa in the evening, always keeping an ear on alert for anything that might be worth noticing out in the world. Only a mutt?
Dogs, like all the other creatures in existence are nothing short of a miracle, or if not a miracle, one of the best birthday presents ever in the history of the planet, regardless of when they come to live with us. Only a mutt? I don’t think so.