Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pet talk

August 31, 2006

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were at a function, and as always, the chat turned to the topic of pets. That evening, I sat in on the edge of the conversation while this couple began to describe their coed's new pooch. My ears perked up when I heard the name "Puggle."

"Puggle, you say?" I said out above the moderate hum of verbiage.

"Yes, a puggle. Haven't you seen one yet, Doc? They're a cross between a pug and a beagle. They're so cute," my table companion explained.

I would soon get a chance to example "fluke." (sorry if I offend puggles and their owners, but the term is a generic term, not a putdown).

The next day, the puggle owner called and made an appointment to bring it in for an exam, shots, and de-worming.

I've seen nearly half of God's attempts to humor us in the canine world. We used to classify all mixed breeds as Heinz 57s, mongrels, mutts or cross breeds.

My son, who is close friends with the puggle owner, asked a few choice questions.

"How much did you pay for it?" son No. 1 inquired. "$450," his friend replied.

To that, my son exclaimed, "$450 -- for a mutt?"

It's a good thing they're close buds or the friendship might not have survived.

Quite a few years back, upscale pet stores began selling "designer dogs." I see a lot of those marvelous specimens of genetic chance in the shop. Most pet stores contract with the buyer to guarantee the sale, but only if the buyer has the pet examined within 72 hours.

I must admit they are "so cute," as my daughter sings of them, and they do make loveable companions.

But have you priced these canines? Monday, I examined the local paper and counted 20 designer breeds with prices ranging from $100 to $450. Remember, by the way, these are not recognized American Kennel Club breeds.

I thought you'd enjoy reading a few names that gave me a chuckle. Besides high-price puggles, there are Labradoodles, goldadoodles (Labs, golden retriever and standard poodle mixes). You can find "poo" breeds, including a Yorkaboo, Maltepoo, Lhasa-poo, peek-a-poo and schnoodles. They are all bred to various toy poodle types. If you desire a Chihuahua mix, there are rat-chis, chi-shihs, and yorki-chis. With Pekinese, there are the Pekatzu and Pekahuahuas and the better known Pekapoos.

The real irony (or insanity?) of all of this is that designer pups require the breeding of pure breds to pure breds. To continue to breed designer pups would wash out the novelty, in my opinion.

Since the first puggle came through our door, we have examined two more priced at $250 and $450. Someone who has that much must not have a coed like me to pay through college.

It is this writer and doctor's opinion, we haven't seen the last one yet. I laugh when I think of the German shepherd/basset hound mix I saw. That poor soul was a short-legged specimen with attitude and one ear standing at attention and the other flopping toward the floor. Sad thing was, he flunked the purse test and did not attain designer status among canines.

Go out this weekend and support our grand De Soto Days Festival, and remember to watch for a puggle or two. Don't be surprised if you see a "doxipoo" peeking out of a handbag.

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