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Adopting A Dog: It’s All About Personality

Posted Oct 06 2012 9:00am

One of my passions outside of living my best and healthy life is dog rescue.  Bea is such a huge and wonderful part of my life – and having a dog has given me peace, calm, and love.  How could you ever have a bad day when you come home to a face like this?

Cute Dog
I can’t

Anything canine grabs my attention.  I love all dogs big and small, but I have a special place in my heart for tough to adopt cases – senior dogs, pit bull type dogs, and really any shelter dog that tugs at my heart.

As a fosterer and shelter volunteer, I know that each dog is an individual regardless of their breed, background, and environment.  I’ve seen dogs come out of horrific situations with no emotional scarring, and I’ve seen purebred high-end designer breeds eat their own poop (true story).

Hector , a former fighting dog seized from the Michael Vick dogfighting operation has physical scars from his fighting past, but showed no emotional scars. He currently is a certified therapy dog

I love mixed breed dogs.  They are usually bright, don’t have breed specific medical issues and they are just so unique looking.  I love having a dog that’s one of a kind!

Bea is likely a beagle daschund mix (guessing) – but that’s not why we adopted her.  We wanted a low maintenance, lazy, older dog, that was small enough to take on the subway.  Steve had never owned a dog before, and I wanted to ease him into a life of pet ownership.  We nearly adopted another dog before Bea, but fate intervened (Cheeto’s foster mom decided to adopt her) and we added Bea to our family.  Cheeto looked nothing like Bea, but that didn’t matter to us – she would have fit our lifestyle perfectly.  It was an added bonus that both Cheeto and Bea are adorable.

Our final two:  Cheeto & Bea – Both Adorable, Both Apartment Friendly, Both Older & Calm.  Instadogs!

Often times people will ask us if Bea barks a lot because she is part beagle – when in reality, she’s pretty much mute most of the time (unless she sees a cat, or if the doorbell rings).  Also – she doesn’t like toys, she’s lazy, and she prefers to lift her leg when she pees (like a boy dog).  She’s our little weirdo.

In the shelter, I often would see dogs labeled at “Pit Bulls” or “Pit Mixes” which unfortunately dissuaded adopters from considering some really wonderful dogs (Pit bull type dogs are actually my favorite type of dog, but that’s a story for another time).  And that visual identification of breeds that shelters use to label dogs is completely unreliable – even from experts.

Check out this DNA & Survey Results Study  of mixed dog breeds.  Over 5,000 dog experts, including breeders, trainers, groomers, veterinarians, shelter staff, and rescuers viewed photos of 100 dogs and guessed at their breeds.  Their survey answers were compared with DNA test results.  And guess what?  Those experts were wrong nearly all of the time.  If they can’t tell, how can anyone else?

This dog would have been misidentified by the shelter

Isn’t that so interesting?  We really don’t know what breed a dog is, unless science tells us.  So if you make the decision to save a life and adopt a dog, disregard the “breed label” it’s been given – it’s most likely wrong.  Find a personality that you love – not a look.  It’s truly the inside that counts.

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