They say everyone has a double somewhere. Yesterday we met Kirby's at the dog park. Now, when you have a purebred dog, such things are not particularly noteworthy. But with dogs of unknown and diverse parentage, finding a double is a rare and wonderful thing.
Yesterday my husband took the day off of work in honor of his birthday, and we decided that nothing screams "party!" like a trip to the dog park. Of course, Baxter and Kirby were all for the idea and they both started whining about a mile from the park (Bax knows the proximity from any direction, Kirby usually follows Bax's lead).
We arrived, snapped on their leashes and escorted them (ran behind them is more like it) to the gate. We unleashed the dogs and they took off for the green fields. I closed the gate behind us and when I turned around to look for the dogs, I had a moment of utter confusion. I saw Kirby. No, wait, Kirby's not wearing a harness?! Huh? Then I saw him again, running circles around himself. Soon I saw Kirby wrestling and jumping and running with a little dog that, from a distance, looked almost exactly like him. Actually, from up close, the little dog looked almost exactly like him.
Meet Paco. He's a scruffy little black-and-tan terrier/dachsund mix who originally came from a Southern Oregon shelter and didn't quite make it through Dogs for the Deaf school. He went up for adoption and found a home with a nice, scruffy-dog-loving person.
On closer inspection, Paco is a little bit smaller than Kirby -- about 19 pounds to Kirby's 22 -- his hair is a bit wirier and his snout is a bit shorter (this is where you can actually see the German Shepherd genes from Kirby's mom). Still, when the two of them played together (which they did, a LOT) it was hard to keep track of who was who in the swirling mass of black and tan.
I've heard that dogs recognize their own breeds and are more attracted to them. This is usually said about purebreds, who will pick their own kind out at a dog park and immediately make friends (or at least hang around each other). Yesterday it was as if Kirby had found his "breed." The attraction was immediate, the play style was highly compatible and the two of them proceeded to wrestle and play and pick on each other for most of the time we were there.
Just about everyone at the dog park commented on the likeness, some asked if they were related and I suggested perhaps there was a little terrier/dachsund making his way down the West Coast. Paco's guardian said they took him to Baja on vacation and the locals said he looked like a Baja dog (apparently these little guys are practically a breed down there).
We all stood around telling stories about our dogs (usual dog park conversation...we didn't even learn the humans' names until we asked for an email address) and lamenting that none of us had a camera. At long last I realized that my cell phone was in the car. The camera's not much for beauty shots, but at least it was something. I ran for it.
Of course, once we decided to take pictures, both Kirby and Paco decided to become the squirmiest dogs on the face of the planet. The super-bright sun and my camera-phone's glacial shutter delay didn't help matters. I ended up with a lot of shots of wagging tails, dogs half out of frame, blurry masses of black and tan that were barely recognizable and the back end of Baxter and one other dog who decided he had to be in front of the camera no matter where it was (dog politician, no doubt).
Finally we managed to snap a few frozen squirms and my husband made the composite you see here.
Next time we're going to make a real "play date" for our little scruffy black-and-tan mutts, and we'll bring a better camera. We might have to wear the dogs out for an hour before we get them to stand still, but it will be worth it.
Paco: Here's a hearty welcome to the Scruffy Dogs blog!