Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
Many things bug me in life. Just ask my family. I am very vocal about the things that irritate me and many of my family members can often be heard saying, “Give it a rest, grousemeister!” Grouse isn’t really the word they use, but it sounds nicer than the actuality. My mom also used to say, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” but I have found when I really get going when something bugs me, it wouldn’t be fair to my family to just clam up and keep my opinions to myself, because the silence that followed would just be awkward. Also, since I don’t know sign language, there would be no other way to make my point. If you are married to me, by now you would be wondering, “how can I distance myself amicably from this tirade and still feign enough interest that she doesn’t turn her attention to my faults?” Luckily, you have the option of clicking off, but I think what I have to say is important.
When did shopping for our Doodles become like ordering an item from the Sears catalog? Growing up, it seemed like people I knew just had dogs. Most were mutts and I never heard anyone go on and on about their expectations regarding looks, coat type, nose color, specific size and weight requirements, or overall appearance. Yes, I admit I was taken with the cuteness of a Doodle and still am, but the only reason I would select a specific color next time is because I am determined to use the name Black Olive, which works much better on a black dog and they don’t come in green. I would also be willing to change the name to just plain Olive if the right dog found me. As far as nose color and coat type, luckily I had no clue that it mattered. The only question I was smart enough to ask was about temperament and I still didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but it doesn’t change how I feel about my dogs. Besides that, who is to say the whole nature versus nurture debate can’t be argued about our dogs, too?
It just seems to me we are getting more specific about requirements when picking out our dogs and opening ourselves up to a whole can of worms down the road if something goes wrong. Dog must be under 20 pounds….what happens if it grows to be 30 pounds? Dog must not shed…..what happens if you take a chance on a mixed breed and it sheds? Dog’s coat must be curly….what happens if that doesn’t pan out and your dog doesn’t look Doodley enough? The list could go on and on, but these are living, breathing creatures we are talking about and genetics can be a tricky thing. Our neighbors are an ordinary couple, not too big or tall, and their son is huge and by huge, I mean he could hang out with professional football players and make a few of them seem small. I have one daughter who is 5’10” and the other one may hit the measuring tape at 5’3”. Sure, we can use the old joke about the mailman, but in my case, the mailman is old and rarely speaks and I imagine if I asked him if he would like to start a torrid affair with me, all he would say is, “here’s your mail.” Nope, it is genetics that can cause the unpredictability in families and if you convince yourself that if you start having kids they all have to be a certain size fully grown, good luck with that plan. The same holds true with our Doodles. They are like snowflakes and no two are ever the same. I really think if appearance is all that matters you would be better off going to Build-a-Bear and picking out a stuffed dog.
What if our dogs had the ability to turn the tables on us and select the owner who meets their criteria? Can you imagine a dog saying, “What color is her nose? Is her hair curly or straight? Does she weigh less than 135 pounds? I surely can’t, because none of this superficiality matters to a dog. They already know that love can happen in all sizes, shapes, and outward appearances, and they are far more forgiving and accepting than humans. When you think about it, a dog doesn't have any options at all, they get who they get in an owner, faults and all, and frankly, they often end up with the short end of the stick. What is that old saying? Let me be as good as my dog thinks I am. Maybe it should be changed to, Let me learn to love like my dog does..simply and without all these expectations. So, the next time I see a question being asked about a specific physical characteristic of a prospective puppy or an already gotten dog, I am not going to answer, “who cares?” but, hug my dogs and thank them for accepting me just the way I am, imperfections and all.