Quip Tide occasionally gets requests from our loyal reader(s) for columns about specific subjects — usually about dogs. “More dog columns,” is by far the most frequent request.
I didn’t intend to write so often about dogs, though the first Quip Tide column, “2000 Dogs Can’t Be Wrong,” may have been an omen. The Introduction to “Quip Tide, Collected Columns from the Coastside,” a financial disaster I self-published in 2001, concluded with, “I can’t imagine running out of column ideas, not so long as politicians, human foibles and dogs are around.”
“Silver the Weenus,” my former muse, purported co-author and card-carrying Weimaraner, had many physical and mental “glitches” that added to her value as a character in Quip Tide, but lessened her time with us. Sapphire, a papered German Shedder, as we called her, also departed far too soon due to a genetically linked malady.
Most of our dogs have been mixed breed, one of them so mixed that a genetic test could only tell us that her progenitors, as far back as science could discern, were dogs.
We now have one dog, a “rescue,” who was found with her brother outside Santa Rosa several months after the firestorm. They both appeared to be purebred German Shepherd Dogs. (“GSDs”: the breed name includes “dog,” to clarify that the owners are not trafficking in teutonic herdsmen.) They had no tags, chips, tattoos or other doggie ID, causing the rescue organization to surmise that their mother escaped the fire zone and delivered her litter in the wild. Two pups survived.
“Opal,” continuing our naming theme of gems and precious metals, came to us feral, but has socialized well. Still under 2, in human years, she’s full of energy, occasionally mischievous, and opinionated. In other words, exactly like her adoptive parents.
My curiosity about Opal’s parentage led me to have her doggie DNA tested. Dogs have 78 chromosomes per cell, compared to 46 in humans, and 12 in potatoes. The results just came in, and Opal is … (drum roll) ... 75 percent GSD, 25 percent Siberian husky.
Looking at Opal as I write this, I don’t see the husky, unless I squint really hard. But DNA has never lied on NCIS, so I guess the test result is true. Not that it matters. We weren’t looking for a Westminster Kennel Club champion show dog, just a smart, loving companion to fill the void left by our dearly departed, and give a home to a puppy who needed one.
Call her a hybrid, mix or cross-breed, but please not a “mutt.” That slur may apply to me, a half-Italian, half-Northern European hodgepodge, but Opal is no mutt, and she’s got the genes to prove it.
email@example.com thinks our geniality is more important than our genealogy.