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A Not-So-Dogged Personality
Meet Our Emma
Seeing as we’re in the “dog days of summer,” I thought I’d make this article a sendup to man’s best friend. Dogs have been a part of my life as long as I can remember — my first was in our household when I was just 6 months old. But, of all the canine friends I’ve had over the years, none have been quite as interesting as Emma. We adopted Emma, a boxer-lab mix, about nine months ago. She came named and fully grown, with plenty of personality. Like most dogs, Emma is very sweet. She does have a very scary bark, but the moment she gets to know you she goes back to her lovable, bouncy self. None of this surface level behavior is that out of the ordinary. But the more I have gotten to know Emma, the more I suspect she might think she’s a cat. Now, I’m not a big believer in a dog’s personality being purely dictated by their breed. Over the course of my life, I’ve looked after everything from Dobermans to Chihuahuas, and each one was definitely their own unique individual. Still, basically all of them checked off the boxes we’d consider “normal” dog behaviors, but not our Emma. First and foremost, Emma isn’t a digger. Even when she’s in the yard without someone keeping a close eye on her, she doesn’t try to get away with it. As someone who had a dog named “Digger” in the past, this was really surprising to me. I’m happy I don’t have to worry about my lawn getting torn up, but it’s still jarring to see a dog her size be totally uninterested burying stuff.
The second piece of evidence Emma may have been raised by cats is her complete aversion to water. No matter how hot it gets, this dog is not going for a swim. It doesn’t matter if we bring her to a pool or the beach, Emma keeps her paws firmly planted on dry land — sometimes I wonder if she even knows how to doggie paddle. Even baths or getting hosed down cause her stress. But by far the most cat-like behavior Emma exhibits is the way she’ll lay on cushions. It doesn’t matter how small a pillow or mat you
put on the ground, she’ll try to lay on it — and not in a comfortable, lounging sort of way. Emma will curl herself up into the tightest ball she can to fit on the cushion, even if it’s only a throw-pillow. It’s one of the strangest things I’ve seen a dog do, especially given her long legs and lanky body. But, hey, if she enjoys it, who am I to judge?
incredibly loyal, undemanding companions over the years — each in their own way. Maybe that’s what we as humans could stand to learn from our best friends: Being content and supportive of those around us doesn’t mean giving up our individuality. We can all find ways to help and love one another while being ourselves.
No two dogs I’ve ever met have been the same, and Emma certainly is no exception, yet they’ve all been
Here’s to the ways our pets train us,
–Alex R. Hernandez Jr.
“The more I have gotten to know Emma, the more I suspect she might think she’s a cat.”
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