On Doggy DNA

We have previously discussed the fascinating sociological issue of the secret pug-lovers societies dotted around the US (and, most likely, beyond). Having our three puppers means that we instantly, and without any option to opt out, have an entry into this cabal. And yet. Look at them.

I look at these faces every day and they improve my mood, no matter how otherwise poorly the day might be going. But I’m constantly surprised at how easily other people identify each one of them as a pug. They’re not barrel-shaped (well, OK, Jordan might have put on a little weight with her new meds); they’re not fawn-colored (OK, except for Junie, but her curly tail straightens out and wags like one of those conventional dogs); they have noses (more or less)! What is it about them that immediately screams “pug” to passersby?

Maybe it’s their tails. It could totally be their tails.

I have looked at those home DNA kits for pets and wondered. But I didn’t wonder $120-plus-taxes for each one. So I just wondered on the cheap. And then, as part of the general Lockdown Insanity (TM), I got an email offering me Dog DNA testing for half price. And in my weakened, vulnerable state, I bought them. Three of them.

I remember thinking – hey, I can write about this in my blog. Maybe they’ll each be related to a serial killer and we’ll end up famous on social media.

The thing I didn’t consider is what happens next. Next after paying for it; after receiving each DNA test in the mail. How do we get DNA from each dog?

Answer: There is a swab in the test kit. The instructions say to run this up and down the inside of the dog’s cheek – for 20 seconds. But there’s a second swab. And you have to take this second swab and do the same on the other cheek.

Now, some dogs might be A-OK with this. Our three, not so much. It’s when the vet says, “OK, let’s take a look at Jordan’s teeth” that her examinations really start to get interesting. There might be blood.

I had naively not thought this through. So, after the three DNA tests arrived, I let them sit for a few days. If they had not been $60 each, I might have given up then and there. But my frugal side won out, and we took that last vital step to generate the necessary content for my social media.

“I should take the sample,” my wife said. “You might not be firm enough with them.” She is wise.

I held, and she swabbed. It went perfectly fine, of course. They didn’t love it, at times there was a little bit of a wrestling match, but they tolerated it. Which sometimes feels like how they live their entire pampered, entitled little doggy lives.

The samples were sealed up. I registered each one online. They were mailed off. And now we wait and see. What do I expect?

John Henry: Some kind of box-headed terrier in the mix there somewhere.
Jordan: Chihuahua. Sea lion. Possibly alien DNA.
Miss June Carter: Again, some chihuahua. A canine manifestation of the random fury of the universe.

In about a week, we’ll find out.

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