Man's Messed Friend
Endearingly, she thought she was a lap dog, and when I took her to scary places like the vet she would try to hide and cuddle in my lap. Didn’t really work, so she’d stand across my lap, with her tummy on my thighs and both front and back feet on the floor, and be happy.
Big dogs like that don’t last long, sadly—it’s the strain on their heart, and there are other physical weaknesses specific to their size—and she died very young. Since then I’ve never had another. I mate for life. One dog. One husband. (Sometimes the husband behaved like a dog, but let’s not get into that...)
So when I see these teensy designer breeds that yip and yap and shake all over the place I amuse myself by thinking how my girl could have eaten them for snacks.
Some of them are kinda cute, I admit. There is a “yorkiepoo” of my acquaintance who is perhaps the most adorable doggy I have ever seen. But mostly, however high their “designer” price tags, they are all still mutts.
Now mutts can be delightful and smart as a whip, and many are. They can also be the sum of all their worst parts. And you never know which you’re going to get. At least with pedigreed animals you pretty much know what the deal is: collies, protective; Irish setters, gorgeous but daft; retrievers, solid; terriers of any ilk, clever and pugnacious. Bad as well as good: certain breeds are prone to specific ill-health issues like dysplasia or bursitis or asthma or other breathing difficulties.
With a mutt you could get all or any of those together, recalling George Bernard Shaw’s famous remonstrance to Ellen Terry, who had suggested they have a child together, such an infant sure to be endowed with her beauty and his brains: “My dear, what if it had your brains and my beauty?”
And with designer dogs this likelihood is only exacerbated. They’re bred indiscriminately, for the most part, in puppy mills (even in Amish puppy mills, I’m sorry to say), places that are only concerned with manufacturing cuteness and don’t care about healthy breeding practices or even health in general. Many die or are misborn; many doggy moms are worn out from littering up to four times a year and ruthlessly put down once they can no longer produce. Temperaments are unsure and perhaps even dangerously unstable: little yippy nippers.
All so that stupid pretentious people and celebrities can use them as accessories, like a kind of living designer purse. Makes me wish one could breed celebs like that: the Parispoo. The MaltiLind. The Britnorkie. Call the Amish!