I had zero clue when I woke up today that it was National Mutt Day but the news certainly made me happy. I have nothing against pure breds because I’ve known some awesome ones. We had a bunch of dogs when I was growing up, mostly pure breds. Saba: our family’s yellow Lab, Duke, Josey, Gurr, and Nick: the family’s Brittany Spaniels, and of course Minnie, Lucy, and now Xander: my parent’s Large Munsterlanders. No list would be complete without the formidable Gretchen the Dalmation, our family’s first dog who showed up before I did and who ran the house and neighborhood until she died at 14.
Poncho and Sachem showed up as well and they became my best friends during my childhood and teen years. Poncho – found abandoned on our front lawn by my brother when I was 6 – was a little scruff monster: mostly likely a Cairn Terrier mix who dug holes in the garden and managed to sleep on everyone’s pillows. Sachem was brought home from the pound by my dad, and we assume he was a chocolate Lab/Chesapeake Bay mix. These dogs could be both protective and profound assholes. They stole plenty of food and started plenty of melees. My brother loves reminding me decades later how Poncho stole my Halloween candy back in the second grade. Hey – I’m the one who wore that Wonder Woman costume (that made me look more like a boxer than a super hero, but that’s another story) so I deserved those sweets. But they also comforted me and helped solidify my love of dogs. Both of them died unexpectedly: Poncho was hit by a car when I was 14, and Sachem died from heart failure when I was 22. Both of those events knocked me sideways and made me experience grief if ways I seriously did not expect.
My current pups have mixed origins that nobody is 100% certain about. We can guess, and that’s more fun than getting the DNA test for now. Rufus causes the biggest guesses: he can probably safely identify as a Boxer/Rottie mix with a healthy handful of Shar Pei thrown in for good measure. Where else would he have gotten those little hippo ears?
Every breed has a rescue. It’s a great way for those with breed preferences to help save a dog or two or five. It takes a huge burden off of shelters who constantly need space for more dogs. As for the “origins unknown” dogs, they often have to stay in the shelters. Worse, for dogs who are deemed “aggressive” like pit bulls (however you want to define that), they often languish in shelters since people can’t often adopt them and keep them in their homes due to the absurdly cruel breed-specific-legislation many cities have. Seriously, we may as well outlaw lightening since there is a bigger chance of being hurt by that than by a pit bull. The ignorance surrounding these bans is staggering and makes me realize that many people in government aren’t exactly in that special “above average” intelligent quadrant you’d expect for them to be.
I volunteer with All Points West German Shorthair Pointer rescue and would like to also help out with a local Rottweiler rescue. Pure breds are perfectly cool and they need good homes like anybody does. Yet I’ve decided that the dogs I take in will be not just rescues, but mutts. Of course, the best laid plans can be derailed: who knows who will show up? I was supposed to adopt a pocket pointer last year when Rufus decided he’d live in my house forever – after I told him he couldn’t live in an alley, and Animal Control told me they were too busy to deal with it. If a non-mutt shows up in need of a home, I’m not going to stand on principle and re-home the critter.
As I write this, my pups are in boarding. I’m on vacation with my family and as wonderful as it is to be here, I’m pining for Rufus and Sophie, AKA Noodle and the Bumblebee. Rufus got in a kerfuffle with another dog – who I’m told will not be allowed back – and has a hurt ear as a result. I’ve been talking with someone at the kennel who’s been taking care of him, and she adores him. She told me Rufus follows her everywhere, and I can believe it. He’s basically a big baby. He’s not meant to take on the world by himself. Considering his way with the ladies, he never has to.