Breed Misconceptions

A typical German Shepherd

A few weekends ago I walked Ringo for the first time.  All I knew about him before I walked into the house was that he was a “Shepherd mix.”  For some reason my mind conjured an image of a mix of a Shepherd of the Australian variety, mixed with a Corgi or Beagle or something.  In my head, Ringo was 20-30 lbs, sprightly and lovable.  I was a little surprised when I opened the door, walked in, turned the corner and found myself standing eye to eye with Ischyrocyon hyaenodus, the North American BearDog thought to have gone extinct over 10 million years ago.

Now as everyone knows, Ischyrocyon hyaenodus was a ruthless carnivore.  Miocene herbivores were right to fear their terrible predation and seemingly insatiable appetite for carnage.  So of course I felt like quite a silly Cuyamacamelus to have just walked right into his lair, like a Meleagris gallopavo jumping right onto the Thanksgiving table.  I quickly prepared myself to be devoured by this fearful beast.

Yet the strangest thing happened.  Though Ringo (ringus spectacularus) did begin to taste my skin with his tongue in anticipation of his meal, he also began to oscillate his posterior caudal appendage, as if to signal something.  Then he began to lightly head butt me, burying his face in my chest and softly snorting like a contented Sus scrofa domesticus. What kind of strange pre-meal ritual was this?

It turns out that Ringo didn’t want to eat me at all! Eventually I pieced it all together: Ringo is a Shepherd of the German variety, probably mixed with a snuffleupagus.  He had no intention of eating me, but rather wished (amazingly!) to be my friend and just hang out for a while and have fun.  We went for a walk, skipped and hopped around the yard for a while, cuddled and nuzzled, and then said adieu.  There was no death involved; there wasn’t even the slightest bit of carnage.  There was only happiness and goodwill in such quantities that we each had some left over to share with others later in the day.  I felt like quite a lucky Anas platyrhynchos.


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