Cura and I have been together since 2009. We want to thank all of you who followed the early days as well as those who popped back on occasion during the long hiatus. Training was done, the days passed, and we were settling into our life together.
Fast forward: Cura is slowing down and a new member of the family is in training. On top of that, we are all busy with our new calling . . . Running the Training Department for Paws and Stripes. Join us on our journey!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ah, Genetics!

Much has happened since my last post -- but then, how could it not considering how long it has been! It is amazing how something as simple as the semester beginning can throw things off kilter! Over the years, I have gotten used to my schedule shifting every 4-6 months depending on whether I was involved in a semester or quarter system. It doesn't matter if I am on the teaching end or the learning end of things, the change in the term always dictates a schedule shift and requires a bit of schedule shuffling. It is interesting to see Cura adjust to the shifting schedule. But, that is not what I really want to write about this time . . . I have something much more exciting and fun to share.

I recently had a birthday (no, that is NOT the exciting OR the fun bit)! It wasn't a 'landmark' year, at least not apart from the fact that this is the year that Cura entered my life, but I still got a great gift! Fuzzy Face and Nonna Ear Rubs presented me with one of those genetic tests for dogs. One of the questions that comes up at least once a week is "What kind of dog is he?" No, that was not a typo, Cura is almost always identified as a 'he' by people that we meet. My response is usually something like: "According to the rescue shelter, she is a Black Lab mix -- we don't know what she is mixed with." After a surreptitious glance in the appropriate direction to verify that Cura IS a 'she' rather than a 'he', the conversation usually moves on to talking about a Black Lab or Black Lab mix they once had or knew. But, in closer circles, Cura's genetic make-up is an underlying topic of debate. We all have our own theories. So, when I was asked what I wanted for my birthday -- yes, we do that, it makes gift shopping so much easier and reminds me of making lists to Santa as a child -- a doggie genetic test was number one on the list.

As soon as the test arrived, the swab was done and the sample was in the mail for testing the very next day! So, in about 4-6 weeks, we will know! Meanwhile, the debate continues! Everyone is taking their picks. Personally, I would not be surprised if the test comes back showing that Cura has no Black Lab in her, and I am not the only one who thinks this is a real possibility -- after all, there are tons breeds that have black fur and folded ears (she does have webbed feet, but several breeds have those -- including Plott Hounds, which is Nonna Ear Rubs' primary breed of choice). Some of the breeds that have come up in conversation are based on behavior rather than looks (Fuzzy Face thinks she has Boxer in her because of the way she uses her paws when she plays -- as you know, I don't really have direct experience with the paw maneuvers being referred to since Cura isn't allowed to play rough with me). In many ways, it really doesn't matter what Cura's genetics end up being -- she is so much more than the sum of her 'parts' -- but I am SO curious. Plus I would love to be able to answer that inevitable question with certainty rather than what really amounts to a guess, since no one really knows anything about her dam or sire. The test results come with a certificate that can have Cura's picture on it -- once I have narrowed it down to 3-5 choices, I will post them and let everyone vote on their favorite so watch this space because I am going to have to upload my choice soon.

I have my own thoughts about what breeds may have combined to create my wonderful companion but I want to hear what others think . . .

So, take a look at the many pictures already provided and post your guesses as comments. Periodically, over the next few weeks, I will provide more pictures and tidbits of information -- you can always modify your choices as you get more information. Happy guessing!