Mama’s theory of the pedigree of my parking lot puppy had changed a few months ago. Her latest theory, which she expressed daily, was that Angel Doodle was a pit mix.
Now, this irritated me. Why, I am not sure. Other than the fact it was my Mama and sometimes just because it comes out of our mama’s mouth can be enough to irritate us.
But just about every day, Mama would say, “I think she is a pit mix.”
It also irritated me because I know the stigma that can go with a pit.
And, I will admit, I had felt that way for a moment or two myself before.
“Why do you get so upset when I say she is a pit mix?” Mama asked.
“Because she is not a pit!” I replied a tad too stridently.
“You don’t know what she is. But I think she’s a pit.”
The woman thought for sure she was a great Dane four months ago. Now, she is convinced Angel Doodle is a pit.
I looked at the pup, now bigger than the Border collie, as she lay on her pillow, watching her cartoons. Yes, this dog likes cartoons. She actually prefers Road Runner, of all things. She is easily entertained.
She didn’t seem like the aggressive dogs I had heard of; if anything, she loses bladder control if she hears Mama snore, so she’s not real fierce.
I know pit bulls have one of the worst reputations of dogs and top the list of dangerous breeds; my beloved shepherds were on that list too. We even had a realtor refuse to sell us a house in Athens once because we had three.
“Good luck with finding a home,” the lady told me. “Unless you get rid of the dogs.”
I tried to explain our dogs were Schutzhund and obedience trained; it didn’t matter. Probably part of the reason we live on the side of a small mountain with the bears now.
I deduced she was a lab mix, and the way the rain falls off her fur has to be a Labrador coat. She has sweet Lab eyes too.
She is the world’s biggest baby, her feelings easily hurt when Lamar pushes her off the bed, retreating to my side to cry underneath.
She loves to be cuddled and cradled like a baby. When she was a tiny puppy, I could put her between me and the arm of the chair and prop my laptop up to work; she doesn’t understand why that doesn’t work now, 45-pounds later.
She is my alarm clock and my snuggle buddy, particularly after she has eaten my shoes. She is deliriously happy to see me, knowing I am the one who brought her home and her whole body will wag with delight. Her whole body just exudes happiness and joy.
She still hasn’t found her voice, only barking twice – once being when she fell out of the chair – she thought she had been pushed- and the second time, when she was trying to jump into Lamar’s arms while he was standing. It was as if she was giving him a warning yell.
She’s a leaning dog, which I love, as she leans up against my legs and looks up at me with that sweet honey colored face.
She is scared of the dark and won’t go out without a flashlight.
When she is doing something she knows she is not supposed to, she hides in her ‘basket of shame’ to carry out her mischievous deeds of eating my Velcro curlers.
I did another Google search and there was a dog that looked just like her – a lab/pit mix.
“Sweetest dog ever” the caption read.
“Mama, I think she is a pittie mix,” I finally admitted.
Mama was quiet for a second, probably because that was the closest she had gotten to a “you were right” in 41 years.
“Oh, really?” she began. “I don’t know, I don’t think she is. I don’t know what she is.”
“She’s a Whosa!” Cole announced. “A ‘Who’s a good girl’ – Angel’s a good girl!”
“I don’t think she’s a pittie mix,” Mama finally said, probably because I had agreed with her.
“What are you going to do with her if she is?”
“Same thing we’re doing now,” I said. “Take care of, feed her and love her.”
“Do you think Lamar can train her?” she asked.
He had already started working with her and was excited to find her to be very ball driven.
She wasn’t a shepherd, he had said, but she was learning.
“If anyone can train her, he can,” I told Mama.
I don’t know if she is a pittie or not. I know I am a firm believer in the nature versus nurture argument and plan on focusing on nurturing her sweet, loving traits, the traits that are almost humanistic in her responses.
I don’t think pitties are ‘bad’ dogs either. For the most part, I think dogs are a lot like people, or rather, better than most people I know. Because even though they each have their own personality, get grumpy when they are couped up and have their favorite spot on the couch, they mainly just want to be loved. Like we all do.
We all really just want to be loved. That’s one of the basic needs for everything that breathes. Well, with the exception of snakes. I don’t think they really care.
So that was what I was going to nurture in that pup. I was just going to love her. Whatever she was, pittie mix, lab mix, Whosa – all she needed, was love.
And a ball. Lamar says she needs a ball.