It's a dog's life, but it's not so bad
By Bob Farrell
I am not too sure about these designer dogs some people seem to have taken into their possession. I thought the dogs of the olden days were pretty well all you needed if you wanted a pet and turtles couldn't feed themselves.
My first dog was a cocker spaniel. Nice little guy, dumb as a post. Could eat and poop with the best of them but his only trick was to lie down when he was tired. His behaviour reminded me of a Labrador retriever with a bit of brain damage. However, he did hang on my every word although he understood scant in the field of language. Still, to his credit, he was interested.
Ah, but he had one thing going for him. He was a purebred. And that was enough back in the good old days. The dogs were either purebred or mutts.
Purebred dogs looked like whatever they were supposed to while mutts resembled nothing and, at the same time, every species. You couldn't pick their parents out of a lineup.
It didn't much matter to the purebred dogs but their owners were a little more sensitive, carrying the CKC registration forms in their pockets and rolling the dog's lip up to show you a tattoo if the dog was "pure".
There were exceptions. My friend Dean had a mutt who had a Jack Russell for a father and a Newfoundland for a mother. Honest. Hideous looking creature but we didn't care.
We looked at Blackie and didn't see a mutt; instead, we all silently said, to Blackie's deceased sire, "Way to go little guy." Mutts don't normally have sires but in Blackie's case our admiration for the father was just too great.
But it would appear there are no longer any more mutts. Oh sure, there are dogs whose parents are not of the same breed but they no longer call them mutts. Instead, they get fancy names.
A labradoodle is a cross between a lab and a poodle; a cockapoo is a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. It goes on and on - goldendoodle, pekeapoo, shepadoodle. Looking at the number of times poodles are in the mix, I can't help but think your basic poodle is a bit of a slut and will sleep with anything. And judging from the usual haircut they sport in dog shows, I do mean anything.
The idea seems to be that if you mix up two breeds of dogs you will get the best of both breeds.
For example - so I've been told - mix a pit bull with a Labrador and you'll get a dog that will bite your leg off and then bring it to you. But it never works out that well when you try to design the dog.
Mix a collie and a poodle to get a non-shedding long-haired herding dog and you'll end up with a French speaking long-haired dog with an attitude that won't go where cows might have pooped.
A friend reminded me of a rottweiler-poodle mix. They were trying for a non-allergenic guard dog but got a vicious gossip instead.
And, of course, these new "breeds" cost a little bit. Years ago farms would have signs offering crosses between German shepherds and Border Collies free to a good home. (The good home was defined as any place other than the current farm) Now, that same sign says "Collsheps" or something like that - $300.
I certainly don't want to bad mouth these new breeds. I am sure they will all become very noble and dignified as soon as they know they are no longer mutts. That's what life is all about today - self-esteem.
As long as those dogs can feel good about themselves, it doesn't matter if it takes two years to housebreak them or teach them to sit. And they have an identity as well.
Gee, it's a dog's life but it isn't so bad any more.