Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Dear Happy Dog DNA,

Thanks for your service, you've really made our new year. Please find below a brief history of our dog Montag for you blog.

Happy New Year,
Petra & Bernard

The Story of Montag

My husband and I got Montag in a manner many will be familiar with – from a shelter where he sat in his enclosure trying to be as well behaved as possible while attempting to look smaller than his actual size revealed to be. Walking him on the leash outside exposed his true proportions, but he never pulled, never ran, never once gave an indication of any rambunctiousness in his behavior. He did his best to act like a lapdog – and as a result ended up in our laps.

Montag was given his name by a gentle kid who was volunteering at the shelter and had to write an essay on Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, focusing on the protagonist Guy Montag. While our Montag wasn’t a fireman in any sense of the word he turned out to be good for our humanity.

He showed to be timid but well-natured, adjusting to our lives in a quiet and unobtrusive manner, just wanting to be around us. The shelter thought he had Australian Shepherd in his DNA, but their guess was as good as the one our vet ventured - she suspected he was a blue heeler mix. And nip at our heels he would on occasion – a trait we put down to a herding breed in his make-up. He started to come out of his shell once he had the company of Nimpuc, our younger companion dog. Once Nipmuc showed up in Montags' orbit he became more assertive, huffing and puffing his way through the dog park and across the beach. No sign of Chihuahua in this dog, no sir!

Of course we whiled away some of our time speculating just what characters were masquerading in Montags’ make-up – herding breed for sure, but that big chest, that crazy elongated canter that would explode into a full gallop as soon as he got a bee under his bonnet, his protective and assertive stance when encountering people new to him, his reluctance to have his paws tended to – just what was hiding in this mutts genes? We spanned the arc from Greyhound to Aussie Cattle dog, to German shepherd, to all other sorts of wild and unsubstantiated musings - and a toy breed or two thrown in for good measure and amusement.

We sent Montags’ DNA test to Happy Dog DNA just before Christmas, expecting one of us to be more correct in the assessment of Montags’ background (we even had a wager on the outcome – whoever was farthest off the mark had to cook the next Christmas dinner). Well, what would you have guessed based on that picture? He has turned out to be level 2 Collie and level 2 Rottweiler.

So now we know why at age 14 he is still as fit as a butchers’ dog and as companionable as fleas. Still won’t leave either of our sides, still won’t have his nails trimmed without voicing his dissent, still keeps watch over Nipmuc and the two of us.

Thank you Happy Dog DNA, you provided us with a good surprise (well, my husband had said Collie way back in 2000, but then, what do husbands know?) and context in which to enjoy Montags’ past exploits.

Happy New Year! (and what should I cook for Christmas – ham or turkey?)

Petra & Bernard
Longmont, CO

1 comment:

Michele Z., Erie, CO said...

What a heart-warming story! I will have to investigate this service as I too, have an ongoing guessing game as to the genetic makeup of my male miniature dachshund. He may be part beagle or some type of hound by his bark. It will be a special surprise to finally find this out and of course I will have to set a wager with my husband as to what our best guesses are prior to having the truth revealed.