What Kind of Breed Are You?
“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.” – Gilda Radner
I’ve had dogs my whole life. A few strays from the neighborhood lead my parents to commit to buying our first “official” dog – Char (full name – Charlotte Renee), a black poodle who lived 15 years. My sister then discovered the Samoyed breed and we then got the bright idea to breed Tasha, keeping the only girl in the pack and named her Nika. Our friend and future sister-in-law’s family kept one of the boys and named him Mikos.
My first dog when I moved out on my own was Greta (Gretsky, Greta Von Trapp), a beautiful and loyal German Shepherd who chased a basketball around the yard and could catch a ball mid-air while flying off a dock into the water. Five years later, I got a Samoyed puppy and named her Misha (a combination of Tasha, Nika and Mikos). I figured if you’re going to have one, you might as well have two so they can hangout while you’re busy making a living to support their bone chewing habits.
After Greta was put down in 1997 from cancer in the spine, I got Elly (Eleanor, Ella Fitzgerald), my second German Shepherd. In April, 2006, Misha died suddenly at the vet’s office after complications from a test on her liver. Whether you put your dog down or it happens suddenly, it’s always hard. I had to put Elly down in March, 2010 after five months of seizures that couldn’t get under control which indicated a brain tumor.
Through the years, my dogs have given me so much more than I’ve given them. They are truly my best friends, family and roommates (although I still haven’t gotten rent out of them or a security deposit yet).
So for almost 20 years, I’ve owned (or they’ve owned me) German Shepherds and Samoyeds. The German Shepherd breed is from the herding family, keeping the pack in line and doing their job and doing it well. Both Greta and Elly would walk the perimeter of the fence to ensure all was safe on the home front. The Samoyed is the working breed originating in Siberia– they are known for herding reindeer and pulling sled (or me around Como). Both come in handy at Christmas time in Minnesota. I didn’t see any reindeer off on their own this year thanks to Molly.
In May, 2010, I broke the chain and got a new breed – Lily, a Golden Retriever. I thought about another German Shepherd, but the breeders that I knew weren’t breeding and they didn’t know anyone who was breeding. So I thought I would mix it up and started researching the Golden Retriever breed, the hunting group. Also, I have friends who have Goldens – sweet dogs and great with others with a bit more energy. Sometimes I think Lily thinks her job is to have fun and to make sure that Molly and me to join in too. However, she’s very serious when she spots a squirrel.
In the past 20 years, I’ve gotten breeds kind of like me, and I would recommend it so it’s a good match. I am more of the working and herding kind – focused, getting the job done at all costs and at times a bit too serious. Lily has pulled Molly and me out of our work zones into spontaneity this past two years. Playful, funny and always looking for the next thing – the little hunter Lily will grab Molly by her leash or collar when we’re running to start playing half way through a run. In the house, Molly will be strolling in the living room and Lily will jump on the chair to get air jump Molly from behind. Molly doesn’t find it as funny as Lily does.
I’ve learned alot from my dogs over the years – unconditional love, how to spot a squirrel from 40 yards out, how to catch a tennis ball on the first bounce and the joy of a good run. Lately, I’ve learned to be more like Lily and have some fun every day while still getting the work done like Molly.
“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too. “ – Samuel Butler