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Mixed - Breed Friend - - Did I Pick Her Or Did She Pick Me?
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Mixed  -  Breed Friend  -   -  Did I Pick Her Or Did She Pick Me?

To begin I want it known that I love all dogs--purebred, crossbreed, mixed breed, thoroughbred (oops! wrong species). I have owned, or been owned, by a Miniature Poodle (who clearly had two sires because she looked like Toto), Standard Poodle, Golden Retriever, and a "mutt." To select one of them as my favorite is crass, like selecting a favorite child. In our hearts we may have a favorite, but to say it just doesn't seem proper. I will state, however, that my present dog "G" (the mutt) is certainly my best friend.

I found G, or she found me, in September 2000 after our 15 year old beloved Golden Retriever, Amy, had died. Needless to say I was bereft and I missed the presence of a dog in my life. I went on-line after a few weeks of grief and found a Yellow Lab located at an animal shelter in Rockland County, New York.

The shelter was located at the Rockland County Psychiatric Center. A rather Gothic and grim looking facility. Unlike the buildings and grounds the people at the shelter were very helpful and kind in helping me locate my Yellow Lab--"Jazz"--if I remember her name correctly. Now, "Jazz" was a great looking dog, but a bit exuberant for my taste. She was also penned with her mother and brother and the three of them were chaoctic to say the least. I decided to find a more suitable canine.

I strolled around a very large room checking out a host of puppies and young adult dogs hoping to find one that I could take home with me. This, for me, is never easy as there are so many adorable and wonderful pups in these shelters that to choose one is a formidable task indeed. So many dogs who needed a loving home.

Then I stopped in my tracks. Smack in the center of the room was a cage with a beautiful black-and-tan dog residing inside of it. According to the info sheet the dog's name was "Josie" and she was 2 years old. She looked at me with the most soulful brown eyes and I emphatically stated that I wanted "this dog." She was patiently waiting for me and I less patiently for her--at least that is how I recall things.

I filled out the requisite paperwork and made a donation to this wonderful no-kill rescue shelter and was on my way with my new friend. The kind lady at the shelter sheepishly admitted that "Josie" was actually 8 months old--still a pup. She would not come out and say it but I believe they put the wrong age on the info card in hopes that people would select a puppy over the 2 year old "Josie." I can understand that, she is a once in a lifetime dog.

She was a mixed-breed dog, but as they did not know her parentsthey could not tell me what that mix consisted of. I really didn't care about that. I fell in love with this dog almost immediately. Fortunately, the dog was fond of me as well. I was informed that they had rescued this beautiful creature a day before she was to be euthanized at a nearby dog pound. I am certain that my finding my dog was no accident.

The two of us decided on the ride home that her name was not "Josie", rather it was Gail. When I was a two-year old, so I've been told, I called my older sister "Gail" (girl) and my younger sister "Baby Gail." We decided that her name was "Gail" because the dog is a girl and also my friend: girlfriend. Calling her "Girlfriend" was a bit creepy and so we settled upon "Gail" which evolved to the very simple moniker "G." Although I have rather clumsily explained this naming process dog lovers will fully understand. To the rest of you my sincere apologies.

When I took "G" to the veterinarian the next day he told me that she was most likely a Border Collie/German Shepherd mix. She was in good health, as is the wont of many mixed-breeds. I think she has the best of both breeds. She is very intelligent, but not too frisky. She has never snapped or bitten anyone. Although, if provoked she definitely will not be pushed around by other dogs. "G" is my best friend and I know that she loves me as well. I was flattered when my vet told "G" that she had some very good owners.

I wish I could put into words the joy that "G" has brought to me. She is growing older (12 years old) and slowing down some. I can't help feeling some sadness realizing that she will not live forever, but I try not to dwell on it and just love her more each day that we are together. She is by my side whenever I am home and I like to be with her as much as possible. She is a calming influence.

My mom died of cancer seven years ago and I let "G" stay with her the last two weeks of her life. This beautiful dog would lie loyally and calmly by my mom's bed and I know that it comforted her in her last days. This mixed-breed miracle actually came down to get my brother, who was caring for mom, and nudged him from where he was sleeping one night shortly before mom died. Upon following "G" upstairs he discovered mom had slid. not fallen, off of her bed to the floor. Although I was not present I think of how special and true dogs, especially "G", are in sensing how much we rely on them and they on us. I love her with all my heart.

I won't say that my mixed-breed best friend is my favorite dog--I really don't need to! Sometimes I look at this Border Collie/Germanwith what the Shepherd mix and ask her "did I pick you or did you pick me?" Truly a chicken and egg question.

As the writer Agnes Sligh Trumbull stated, "Dogs lives are too short. Their only fault, really."


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