an unexpected mix

We got the DNA analysis of our new puppy, a shelter dog, earlier today. When we picked up Frankie, she was listed as a shepherd mix; the litter was found abandoned under a shed on a farm in Grainger County, so there was no real knowledge of either parent. 

Statistics are funny; they can be read in a variety of ways. Frankie could be seen as mostly in the guard dog category, followed in descending order of percentage by Asian, wild canids, sporting, and herding. She could also be seen as mainly a Boxer/Lab mix, with other breeds making up the rest. Or a Boxer/wolf mix; she is almost one-fifth wolf. There’s a small percentage of Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the dog of English royalty. Breeds from Canada, Alaska, and Siberia make up about a quarter of her genetic panel. In all there are ten breeds listed:

Boxer 30%

Wolf 18%

Labrador Retreiver 13%

Canadian Eskimo Dog 11%

Alaskan Malamute   9%

French Bulldog   4%

Siberian Husky   3%

Pembroke Welsh Corgi   2%

Coyote   1%

We were given a family tree with the disclaimer that this is what Frankie’s family “may have looked like.” The tree stopped at great-grandparents, by which time some of the mixes had separated out into distinct breeds and some had not.

What we know so far is that she appears to be both intelligent and strong-willed. It’s been a while since we’ve had a dog and decades since we’ve had a puppy in the house. Wish us luck.

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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