Writing Out Loud: Mutts Rule

By George Stahl

In a William Shakespeare play, in Act 5 Scene 1, his character, Hamlet, was coming home when he saw a guy named Laertes standing in the grave of Ophelia, Laertes’ sister and Hamlet’s lover. Hamlet was a little disturbed by this and he told the guy to get out. He told him to show patience in his sister’s death, and that no matter what, the truth will be found. (Could be suicide?) Hamlet told Laertes, “The cat will meow and every dog will have his day.” That’s sort of how the scene goes, without all of the fancy 1600s Shakespeare talk.

The point is, all dogs, and people, will have the day in their lives that they succeed at something, or will have the last laugh as it were. Well, fellow dog owners, today is the day your dog will have its day! Today, July 31, is none other than, ‘National Mutt Day’! Yep, today we honor all of those mixed up, totally diverse dogs we call ‘mixed breeds.’

Mutts are the backbone of dogdom. They far outnumber the purebreds (according to an unscientific poll that was just conducted) and they by far out shine an ant farm as a pet. It is the mutt that is actually closest to all dog’s common ancestor, the wolf. Mutts are combo dogs. They are the ones that, although unpapered, unregistered, and underestimated, stand alone in the halls of canine fame.

Mutts are also the majority of dogs found in shelters. They are also most likely, then, the most adopted of the species, and most of the time you can get one for the cost of a shot, a wellness check and a nominal shelter fee. As a mutt owner, you are the only one who can actually say that you saw the face of an angel when you went to the pound and found your soul mate in a cage.

On the other paw, in the world of dogs, some people see mutts as second class puppies. A lower form of the species and one to be looked down on. Ridiculous, right? Of course! Look, a purebred dog is just that. It’s pure whatever. It only has the genes necessary for it to be what it is, and just like the others in its breeding circle, if you want one of these, it’s really gonna cost you. Not that there is anything wrong with a purebred dog. For one thing, nobody who breeds mutts is going to get $400 to $1,000 or more for one puppy. Even mutts not found in the pound don’t cost an arm and a leg. Some of them you can even get for free. Yep, free. No money down, no monthly payments, nothing. You just go to Vons or wherever and pick one out of a cardboard box near the door (usually outside) and take the little guy or gal home.

Mutts may be everywhere, but one place they will not be is at a dog show. There is no best in show category for mutts. That’s okay too. Mutts are not the ones who have to strut their stuff for attention. They just have to look cute. Or they can look destitute, depressed, and not so well taken care of, like those dogs they use around the holidays on television to get the money they need to care for these dogs. Turns out, mutts are pretty good at tugging heart strings and purse straps.

There are hundreds of mutts in the valley. There’s even some who maybe purebreds, but act like mutts. Let’s explain. Mutts have a distinct way about them. As was already said, they can tug at even the strongest heart string, and they don’t even have to really try. Their level of cuteness is accelerated by their loyalty and genuine appreciative spirit. These qualities can be shown by certain purebreds, on occasion, when they are not feeling so full of themselves, and they can easily be mistaken for mutts. Oh eweee! They say as you try to pet them and give them some lovin’. This may not be flattering to their owners either, but it happens. Deal with it.

National Mutt Day is not only for the mutt, but for the owner of the dog was well. It’s time for you to strut your stuff, figuratively, and show off that perfect bundle of numerous genes and multi diversity. The purebreds have their award-winning blood lines, their pedigrees, and their perfectly groomed fur, toe nails, and clipped ears, but the mutt is a wide-ranging gene pool comprised of centuries of different breeds. This strong line of interbreeding has been the tool used by these dogs to survive. In a gesture of friendship and as a sort of memoir, a shout goes out to a few genuine mutts, and pseudo mutts in a quiet Bodfish neighborhood. Coco, Lexi, Maya, Charlie, Gracie, River and Sophie, and Dave and Tally and a German Shepherd named Chief. To all of you, and to a few unnamed mutts, Indie (Indiana) says hi! “Miss you mutts!”

Fear not, you purebreds. You will not be left out, and you will not be forced to take second fiddle to the mutt. After all, you are part of this every dog having its day thing too. Remember, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. May 1st has been set aside just for all of you papered, royal-blood-lined majesties of the world of butt lickers, leg lifters and squatters. On that day we will celebrate you, but on this day, July 31, we will celebrate the mutt! Every dog will have its day! Mutts rule, others drool, and it all has to do with the gene pool!

(In Loving Memory of Liberty and Copper.)