Posh Purebreds

I love to watch the American Kennel Club Dog Show on Thanksgiving Day.  In fact, it has become a staple in our Thanksgiving Day traditions.  My Grandma wouldn’t miss it for the world.

And while I think it’s amusing to watch the dogs parade around the ring, I am also reminded of the snobbery of the event.  This made me think about purebreds in general.

Some people insist on only adopting purebred dogs.  They MUST have papers that show a ridiculously extensive blood line that can be traced all the way back to the dog that stepped onto Noah’s ark.

But, I wonder, what exactly do these papers prove?  Okay, so you know who your dog’s great-great-great grandmother was.  Who cares?  A dog’s lineage has absolutely nothing to do with the dog itself in terms of how he/she will behave as a pet.

I think it would be wonderful to have such papers only to be able to trace potential genetic diseases, such as diabetes, that could come to affect the dog.  Beyond that, it is all mere puffery.

My Grandmother used to be that way.  She only wanted to adopt Poodles.  And of course, they were all registered with the AKC and had papers.  After the passing of her last poodle, she adopted a purebred Shih Tzu.  Once Benji passed, Grandma swore that she would never get another dog.

It just so happens that my husband and I did a brief stint as foster parents for a local rescue group.  At the time, we were fostering this sweet, long-haired Chihuahua named Tiggy.  She had the perfect temperament and the most beautiful coat that I had ever seen.  I knew that she would be perfect for my Grandma.

Sure enough, Grandma was smitten.  And, she didn’t even ask if Tiggy had papers.  She could care less if Tiggy is a purebred or a mixed breed.  All she knows is that Tiggy is the love of her life and her truest companion.

Similarly, our Chihuahua Domino is known as  a Blue Merle.  This has to do with the coloration of his coat.  Also, his eyes are sky blue.  He is the most adorable dog and turns heads wherever he goes.  But, the American Kennel Club views his unique coat and eyes as “defects.”  Therefore, Blue Merle’s are not recognized by the AKC and are not allowed to enter into AKC sponsored events.

So, racism is now being extended into the dog world?  People are actually discriminating my dog because of the color of his coat and eyes?  Through much research, my husband and I have discovered that the Blue Merle’s tend to develop hearing problems and have a high risk for blindness in old age.  Don’t most dogs end to lose their hearing and have mild vision problems as they age?  Humans certainly do.

But, the real issue is the coloration of his fur.  While none of my dogs are “show dogs,” I am still greatly displeased by such snobbish behavior.  Dogs should be loved and appreciated for their spirit and personality.  Not treated as outcasts for the way that they look.

Perhaps this is why so many dogs remain in shelters and humane societies throughout the country.  They are being judged because they are not deemed “perfect” in someone’s eyes.  My fur babies are the poster children of abuse and rejection.  Adriel has a tongue that is longer than her head, causing her tongue to always hang out.  Penny has a severe overbite, deformed front paw, strangely large ears and a decidedly long tail.

Because these dogs look different, they are viewed as “undesirable,” “unlovable.”  When nothing could be further from the truth.  Both Adriel and Penny are attention divas and instantly warm up to new people and dogs.  Adriel is even a certified Therapy Dog who brings joy to others through touch therapy.  People love to see her tongue sticking out.

And children simply adore these two.  Plus, they have the best temperaments that I have ever seen in a dog.  These dogs were made to love.

I’d like to think that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would extend his “I Have a Dream” speech to all of the creatures on this earth.  As a nation, we should not be teaching our children that animals who look different from “the norm” is a separate concept from people that look different than us.  It is one and the same.

We need to stop these misconceptions from spreading.  We must lead by example and show that ALL animals are deserving of love.  In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.”  

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