I have had so many dogs throughout the years, however I never really chalked up much for their personality. When I was younger, a dog or cat walked on four legs and had a tail. They barked if they were a dog, or meowed if they were a cat. It wasn’t until I was about 11 years old when we got a dog from the shelter named Precious that I really could tell the differences in dog personalities. There are as many pet personalities as people personalities with variations of the basic personalities for dogs or cats. Fight or flight for dogs, neurotic or curious for cats. Inside basic personalities are the of the intricacies of pet personalities.
As I stated earlier about Precious, I felt that she was better than us in every way. She came from the shelter, and at the time we brought her home, we had a dog named Rascal. Rascal was a really cute poo mix that was always doing something. One thing Rascal would do would be to eat like a pig. We really got used to it and actually thought nothing of it. However, when Precious joined our home, she ate her dog food one nugget at a time. She would go to her bowl, get one nugget and go back to her bed before she would eat it. I had never seen anything like this before. For a dog, she was like royalty; like she went to dog etiquette school. I am not sure how she did it, but one day I noticed that Rascal was suddenly getting one nugget from the dog food bowl, and going back to her bed to eat her food one nugget at a time. Was it her breed? At the time I thought it was, she was a sheltie. Since then I have seen several shelties and their personalities; although very good dogs and intelligent, they are quite spunky. They are not quite like the royal line that Precious seemed to come from.
My husband never had a dog before, and let’s face it folks, a person who has never had a pet will never win the argument with the person who has had a pet. So, he was stuck, he and I went looking for a puppy. This is where we met our first dog together, and we named him Chip. Chip was a Jack Russell Terrier mix... mixed with what is the question. Some people think he was mixed with Chihuahua, but I tend to think he was literally part fox or wolf. He was unlike any dog I have ever owned. He was more like a mob boss instead of our cute little puppy. He did have the characteristics that many Jack Russells have, i.e., being able run faster than a speeding bullet, and being able to dig a hole to the center of Earth. He was not a typical dog, and he let us know what he would and would not accept. His personality was interesting to study and I am afraid we will never, ever quite know the intelligence of this dog. As much as he was a part of the family, he let us know what he thought. He never obeyed if he didn’t feel like it, and he would try to talk to us in English when he was upset. You could imagine how disturbing it is to watch a dog try to utter human words, but his muzzle would not allow the word formation. He was trying to say, just like an old James Cagney movie, I felt he was trying to say, "you dirty rat, you killed my brother, and now I am going kill you, you see". He definitely had the personality of a dog mob boss. He would make himself a part of our private conversations by openly sitting in the middle and looking at each person as they spoke. We were part of his pack, but he was certainly not our dog, he was his own dog. However, he is missed by all of us, and we continue to laugh about his antics.
I have had so many pets, I cannot possibly get to them all, but I will talk a little about a cat I had named Spot. This cat was raised with one of my puppies, and for years had no idea he had special powers. He walked with dogs on a leash and would run around and play with the dogs, until one day he jumped up high onto the sofa with one swoop. He then noticed the dogs could not do that. Until that time he never really knew he was a cat. He was really one of my favorite cats. I could talk to him and I really felt that he understood me. One day, I was inside the house and I heard what sounded like a kid saying, "No, no", "No, no" over and over again. I finally went to go see who was saying this over and over again; only to find my cat Spot speaking to another cat who was trying to enter our yard. My poor cat heard "no, no" so many times that he felt he could communicate this to the neighborhood cats and be understood. He must have been understood, because the cat did not enter the yard. Spot was my buddy. He was a tabby cat, and to this day, I feel that tabby cats are the best.
Fast forward to today, I wish I could go through each and every personality I have observed from my pets. I had Madam who was a Lab German Shepherd mix... my body guard. I had Sugar, who was whatever mixed with Cocker, who was an absolute brat. I had Viceroy, who was part cattle dog, which at that time I had never seen a dog like that before. I felt that she felt unloved because she was not beautiful like other dogs we had. She was born at our home, never warmed up to us, and now I wish I had the insight I have now to try to find out more of what she needed.
I will end this blog with my dog Teddy. I found him at the Santa Maria shelter, along with batch of puppies that were left to wander around Waller Park. We were fortunate to be at the shelter at the right time to get this puppy. As you might imagine, puppies are hard to find at the shelter. He is like a toy dog that was blown into and given life. He is so low key, laid back, and just so happy to be alive that I wish I could have 10 more of him. He likes sleeping, eating treats, eating, and toys; in about that order... and he repeats this cycle daily. He is a Cocker mixed with who knows what; some say Chihuahua, some say Pomeranian, but I think he is a Cocker mixed with coolness. Nothing gets under his skin. He probably would spend every day at the beach, to him life is:
What about you? What have you noticed in your life about pet personalities? It's not only limited to dogs and cats, for I have seen personalities in turtles and even fish. If you just take the time to notice, personalities are all around us... not just people personalities, but pets and wildlife too!