Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Genes N' Things

Having two "pound puppies" and a background in biology, I have always been curious about my dogs' heritage. Although my dogs look very much like "Pit Bulls", I knew the likelihood of them being purebred was very low. To further add to the mystery, dogs are unique in that very subtle differences to their DNA can result in a great variation of phenotype. As a result, without a DNA test a guess as to any dog's particular heritage is simply that: a guess. (As my friend Larry says, "They're all AKC; All Kinds of Canine.) So when the online canine DNA tests went on sale, of course I ordered one immediately.  

I decided to test Willa (AKA Willa Beans, AKA Wilda Beans, AKA Beans) because, although she looks very much like a "Pit Bull" type dog, I had some indications she may be a little more exotic.

When she was an older pup (I adopted her from San Luis Obispo Animal Services when she was seven months old) she was pretty wrinkly, so much so that people constantly asked if she was a Shar Pei mix. Shar Pei's are not the most common breed, so I doubted it, but you never know. Then, when she was three years old and after two unnecessary gastrointestinal surgeries she was (finally) diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Disease, which is not uncommon to Shar Pei's, so it seemed to lend some credence to that theory. Plus, her brother looked very Boxery, so I thought Boxer may be in the mix, too. 

I was dying to know what other breeds she may be hiding. Australian Shepherd? Bichon Frise? Husky? Corgi? The possibilities were tantalizing! So three weeks ago I sent off a sample of her genetic material and waited.

Last night I logged in to my account to discover the results had been analysed (!) and (drumroll here)... Willa is 75% purebred American Staffordshire Terrier. 

Talk about anticlimactic. 

But I held out hope for that other 25%, so I turned to the page on her mixed-breed ancestry which revealed (once again with the drumroll while I quote from the results here)... "Willa's ancestry was mixed beyond the three generations we test for."

Translation: she is too much of a mutt to tell. Their best guess based on genetic markers? American Staffordshire Terrier.

Are you kidding me?

I purchased a DNA test to determine the ancestry of a dog I knew was a "Pit Bull" mix only to find out that that, to the best of scientific determination, she's a "Pit Bull" mix. 

Least satisfying test results ever.

It's a good thing she's such a good dog, otherwise I'd be disappointed.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

One Week Old!

We have some foster kittens staying with us temporarily. I know it seems like an oxymoron to have the words "foster" and "temporarily" in the same sentence but I keep having to remind Harper we aren't keeping them. 

Other than needing to be fed every couple of hours they've fit right in to our routine. You can tell you've fostered a lot of animals when the resident dogs and cat don't even bat an eyelash when you enter the house with a carrier full of screaming kittens. We have named them GiGi (the tortoise shell), Gandalf the Gray (for the gray tips of his hair) and Geiger (because you have to count everything with that kitten. Stupid finicky kitten.) 

Harper and Will, on the other hand, are besides themselves with excitement. Will has figured out how to climb on top of the washing machine so he can mew at them through the bars of the carrier, which drives me absolutely crazy. Harper just perpetually begs me to hold them.

Today is the one week milestone. Today we say farewell (and good riddance) to feeding every two hours. They are actually starting to cuten up, too. Instead of skinny little hairy slugs they look much more like fat marginally bigger hairy slugs. Their ears are starting to perk up and their eyes are just starting to open. They are pushing up a little on their legs and, impressively, can climb up the face of the carrier to get a better shrieking vantage. Go kittens! 

So let me know now which one/s you'll love forever. If all goes well they'll be looking for forever homes come mid-July. And who can resist a kitten, anyway? 


Friday, May 8, 2015

Bangs N' Thangs

Harper opted for super short bangs this hair cut. I think they're adorable; very Audrey Hepburn or Mia Farrow circa 1968. 

 And Will has strong opinions about his look, too.   

Happy Friday everyone!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Chats and Hats

Will has been on the phone all morning (and by "phone" I mean Brad's alarm clock) and Harper has been modeling her new hat (and by "her" I mean Brad's). Basically, they're just rooting through his things with adorable results.


Will seems to be warding off some terrifying disaster because he keeps exclaiming, "Oh no! Oh no, daddy! Help!... Harper, help!" and Harper is just following me around mugging for the camera. 

I love my gorgeous, wacky kids!

P.S. Please note how they both are wearing dinosaur attire. It looks like we have two dinophiles on our hands.