Saturday, June 26, 2004

What Kind Of Dog Is That?

Before Sandy came to live with us, she had been staying at the Kelowna SPCA. Picked up after a storm. No one claimed her.

The vet figured she was five or six months old. All the paperwork said “Shepherd X” but what kind of shepherd, and what was she crossed with? All ears and ribs. It was hard to tell. Maybe Akita, because of the tail. Maybe boxer because of the way she uses her front paws. Maybe Sandy isn’t a German Shepherd Dog at all, but some kind of Belgian Shepherd.

One day I got an email from a friend who had only seen Sandy’s picture. “She’s a Belgian Malinois!” my friend wrote, and enclosed a link to the AKC page describing Belgian Malinois.

Well, maybe. The head is wrong, but everything else fits. Body type, behavior, general attitude.

But that didn’t solve the problem. “What kind fo dog is that?” people would ask, as if they didn’t quite belive this was a dog at all. Standard list of responses:
· “No idea.”
· “We got her from the SPCA, and no one knows.”
· “Part some kind of shepherd, but the other parts could be anything.”
· “All-Canadian.”

Sandy was kind of odd-looking for awhile. Her ears were enormous. (We called her Sandy for the color of her coat, but we considered calling her Radar for those ears.) She was too thin for a long time, the result of being on the streets. Long legs and big brown eyes. Everything out of proportion to everything else until one day I looked at her and realized everything had caught up with everything else, and she was … beautiful. You will find pictures of Sandy here.

People still ask, “What kind of dog is that?” but now they mean “Where can I get one?”

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