Do I Look Like a Dog?

“Look around, sweetie.  Isn’t it funny how so many of the owners here look like their dogs?”

In 1998 I became a new mama to a canine toy breed fur-baby. Switzer was spunky, awkward, charming, and a hot mess.  He cocked his head in such a way I laughed every time. When I laid on the floor, he would scratch my hair with the same vigor of a Jack Russell Terrier digging under a fence.  

In an attempt to have a well-behaved pet, we participated in puppy training classes at PetSmart.  No dog of mine would jump on visitors (fail), run into the street (another flop), or help himself to the couch whenever we settled in to watch TV (biggest defeat).  No siree, my dog would well-mannered and polite.  Famous last words.

My excitement to train, however, was dampened by those words a mom exclaimed to her son.  Perhaps the owners did look like their dogs, but that wasn’t exactly a compliment to me.

Switzer was a pug.

How dogs look lie their owners

My first fur baby, Switzer. Come to think of it, we were both babies!

You know pugs — the ones people proclaim are so ugly they’re cute?  The ones who are the height and length of a small dog, but weigh twice as much as they look?  Their smushed faces, thick trunks, and rolls along the neckline all contribute to an irresistible package of cuteness.

How owners look like their dog

My guy was always getting into mischief!

 

But I didn’t want to look like one.

If I must be compared to a dog, I wanted to look like the long and lean Vizsla, gliding down Aisle 8 as we practiced “heel.”  Or the attentive Border Collie, respectfully anticipating her owner’s next command.  Heck, I’d even take the yippy Chihuahua.  At least his tiny frame effortlessly leaped into the air.

But my 23-year-old brain interpreted the comment to mean that like my snorty, gassy, thick pug, I was overweight.

Fast forward almost twenty years, and my Pit Bull-mix Grace shows up.  If you haven’t read her story, you can find it here.  Oh, Grace.  I love her so much. She is loyal, loving, and eager.  And her strength!  Playing tug is a full-body workout.

Even when she’s standing still, I can see Grace’s striated thigh muscles.  I haven’t officially clocked it, but when she sprints I’m pretty sure she can hit at least 145 miles per hour.  Once I accidentally stepped in her path as she was on a ball-chasing mission and she literally clotheslined me.  My feet flew up as my body fell down.  

 

Pure strength, pure beauty.

Mad dog! Mad dog!

Grace is solid.  Her 23-inch height is similar to a border collie.  Her 66 pounds far exceeds my neighbor’s collie, Woody, of 40 pounds.  Yet, she’s the right size and weight for her breed, just like Woody is for his.

 

Woody. Same height and length, 20 pounds lighter. Quite possibly 20 times brighter.

 

Australian Shepherds were meant for herding, and Mastiffs are working dogs.  Spaniels and Retrievers were meant to help with hunting and retrieving; Hounds use their powerful noses to help humans chase down prey. They each are special and have a unique purpose.

Some of us are born looking like working dogs.  Maybe you’re a strong Bulldog or long-locked Great Pyrenees.  Others are a petite Chihuahua or a stately Great Dane.  And some of us are just a beautiful mix of genetics.

Athletes often find their niche based on their genetically-determined size.  I love this picture of Simone Biles and Michael Phelps at the 2016 Rio Olympics.  As talented as Mr. Phelps is, I’m pretty sure he couldn’t pull off the double-twisting-double-backflip the mighty Simone stunned the world with.

“I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles.”

They each took their God-given size and talent, added countless hours of hard work, and succeeded in their chosen fields.

If someone were to compare me to Grace today, at age 42, I’d be thrilled.  Solid? Muscular? Strong?  Yes, yes, yes!  And as a runner, I’d be especially delighted if someone declared me fast.

Fast, solid, muscular, strong, and beautiful Grace.

I’d even be accepting of the pug comparison.  After all, Switzer had some joyful qualities and emphatically expressed enthusiasm for life.  His hind quarters were stately and he was a dutiful companion on the miles of stroller walks.  And if I had to be really honest, we don’t differ much on the gassiness, either.

The journey was long, but I’ve come to embrace my frame.  I’ll never shop in the petite Chihuahua section, and I’ll never be a Great Dane basketball center. Yet, I am wonderfully and perfectly made by the Creator of the universe.  We all are.

We are all wonderfully and perfectly created.

I’ve come to appreciate that just like individual dog breeds, I have a God-given purpose.  I’m striving to keep my body healthy enough to vibrantly live out that calling.  Even if I pass a little gas along the way.

Who you callin’ gassy?

 

Do you have a pet?  If so do you resemble it?  What are your God-given strengths?

look like a dog

 

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