Adele Elliott: Good breeding

January 25, 2014 10:58:02 PM

Adele Elliott - adeleelliott@bellsouth.net

 

Everyone has an opinion about dogs. From Aristotle to Dave Berry, poets, philosophers, politicians and children have all weighed in on "man's best friend." Thomas Jefferson is supposed to have been the first person to use that term, but few can argue with the sentiment. For some reason, Ralph Waldo Emerson believed that the reason for dressing well is that, " ... dogs respect it, and will not attack you in good clothes." That is hard to accept, but thanks, Ralph. 

 

Hundreds of "rabid" canine aficionados met at Starkville's Mississippi Horse Park recently to get up close and personal with the 450 dogs being shown. A lot of tail-wagging was reported when the Golden Triangle Kennel Club of Mississippi hosted its annual licensed American Kennel Club Dog Show. 

 

If you missed that event, there will be another opportunity for us to bark with delight, when AKC agility trials begin. They will be broadcast on Saturday, Feb. 8 (Fox Sports). This is historical, because the doggie doors have been opened to a few new breeds. The Chinook, the Rat Terrier and the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno will run, jump, twist and turn, alongside more established breeds. 

 

Dog aficionados will also get a chance to see the results of competitions between 2,845 entrants at the Westminster Dog Show (CNBC on Feb. 10, and by USA the next day). I react to dog shows the same way I respond to beauty contests. In my opinion the prettiest one never wins. But, then, when it comes to pets, I think they are all beautiful. 

 

I especially love mixed breeds because the names are so much fun to say. My favorite is Labradoodle. That word always makes me smile. Have you heard of the Cava-Poo-Chon? It is a blend of the adorable King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise, with a soupcon of Miniature Poodle thrown in. Have you met a Puggle? This charmer with an endearing expression is the result of a mixed marriage between a beagle and a pug. No reports on how their families reacted to that love affair. 

 

A Bouvier Des Flanders is said to have bitten the hand of Adolf Hitler --and lived! (Good dog!) The Estrela Mountain Dog was bred to protect their owners from wolves. Perhaps every single girl should have one of those ... or, then again, maybe not. 

 

I am a big fan of shelter dogs (cats, too). At my house we call them "designer originals." They may not be recognized by the AKC, but they are truly worshipped. After all, spell "dog" backward and see what you get. 

 

James Thurber said, "If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven ... " About a billion other folks agree with him. So, if you are looking for a friend for this world and the next, check out the local shelters and rescue groups. There will be lots happy faces to greet you. You will want to take home at least one, or maybe two. After all, there is no such thing as having too much love.

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.