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Hector @ House Of Mutt
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NATURE OR NURTURE?
Rectory in 1920's Rectory present day
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s cringed at a Dog Most Like Its Owner twosome taken to uncomfortable extremes where hairstyles and even outfits have been enthusiastically coordinated, but it seems that even in more mainstream households there may just be a certain ‘thang’ going on between dog and owner.
Avoiding (for the moment) the potential minefield of analysing similarities of appearance, what about the match between dog and decor - between dog and the house in which she lives.
An example: our Old Rectory was in the 1920’s a 14 bedroom, ballroom-ed and be-servanted rather beautiful pile of Suffolk pretension; now it’s lost the servants, shedded a couple of wings and gained a pound or two around its slightly bowed and cracking middle. So, here we go: Hector (gently ageing golden Labrador) was once extraordinarily smart but is now more ‘shabby chic’ – check. He once dominated the village but now just happily lives amongst it – check. Not all of his faculties (or, better ‘facilities’) work perfectly all the time but he scrubs up pretty well and can be wheeled out with the best of them when state occasions demand – check.
And so on and so forth.
There is a dribble of evidence to suggest that Hector and the House of Mutt aren’t the only matching pair. I can think of many a sleek, creamy mutt who’s been paraded out of an equally sleek, creamy hallway; a hairy tousled type who’s bounded over a jumbled pile of wellingtons to get out of the door; or an immaculate aloof elegant hound who’s alighted from her doorway as if from a Hansom Cab.
Maybe this isn’t so strange. After all a great deal of the decision as to what type of dog to choose depends on its look – and the look you like for your dog is maybe similar to that you like for your decor.
But if we were to dip a toe into the shark-infested waters of character ... is there a resemblance between dog and owner there as well?
Back to the Hector example... He’s a fairly relaxed sort of fellow unperturbed by the odd crumpled bed or houseful of visitors – check. But who can be grumpy if his personal space is tactlessly invaded – ummm, check. Who likes to do things properly but every so often just has To Do Things, whether they’re properly done or not – check....
Enough! I’ll leave you to do your own analysis. But, let’s just say that it takes a fairly experienced dog-person to choose from a litter of squirming pups a character that closely matches their own. So if there is a link between the way our dogs are and behave and the way we are, maybe that’s a great deal more to do with nurture than nature? And should every dog training class therefore start with a compulsory owner analysis session in the psychiatrist’s chair?!
I’m no expert. And this is clearly tongue in cheek. But perhaps there is room for the tiniest of pauses for thought. Next time I yell at Hector for dashing one way when he should sensibly meander in the other, maybe I should contemplate my own life’s CV – and consider...
The (dashing!) shabby chic Hector
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