Daisy’s DNA

My three-time rescue dog looks like a Jack Russell terrier. The vet calls her a Jack Russell. She sort of looks like a skinny Eddie from Frazier.  But that’s where the comparison ends.

Daisy is freakishly smart. She can open doors and escape yards by jumping over the gate or digging under it. She can hurl herself against a door or gate until it pops open.  If I leave the front door ajar, the lab mix will sit there and do nothing. Daisy will open the door with her nose and escape.

She mostly runs around the front yard chacking for rats. She eventually comes back to the door, and if I’ve shut it, she will bark and jump at the door until someone lets her back in.

She shivers on all car rides. I can’t blame her, since twice, a car ride ended up with someone surrendering her to a shelter.  When she sees the beach house or the reservoir, she relaxes and knows I am not dumping her.

At the reservoir, she doesn’t acknowledge her buddy, Teddy, whose owner walks with me. Teddy is a pedigreed pup hanging out with a low-life rescue reject. He’s a Parson Russell, which means he has long hair and longer legs. 

It’s a full hour around the reservoir, and it’s a treat for all of us in these pandemic days of staying home. Other dogs try to greet Daisy, but she turns away. She is no more intersted in checking out the dogs than she is checking out the people. Dasiy is there for two reasons, to pull me and to chase squirrels. I didn’t realize how undisciplined she was when I first got her. My right shoulder will never be the same. Now I walk her with both hands on the leash at mid body.

Teddy’s owner had a spare DNA kit from Embark (get it? a dog DNA thing). She gave it to me to use on Daisy. Teddy’s owner was sure that Daisy couldn’t be a Jack Russell.  We agreed that maybe she had some Whippet in her.

Trying to get a twenty-second mouth swab from Daisy was a bit of a challenge. I waited until she was in the chair, and I stuck it on one side and swabbed away. I sent the test in the mail, and today the results are in!

Daisy is 100% Russell-type terrier. She is not a Jack Russell terrier or a Parson Russell terrier, like Teddy. I had to stop and Google photos for Russell-type terriers. The drawing on Embark’s report shows a stouter dog than Daisy ever was or will be.  She’s a bundle of muscles but with a slimmer head and slimmer legs. I can see sunlight through the white fur of her lower back legs when she is standing at a window.

Neither her ears nor her tail have been cropped.  I looked at a hundred photos of Russell terrriers and didn’t find one that looks like Daisy. The one I selected shows the black spots under the white fur on the dog’s underbelly. She has that, and on the back of her back legs, too. I almost named her Dottie.

The mystery is over, but really it isn’t. I’ll never know what happened in her previous two lives that made her so scared of cars, traffic, men, and life in general.

Oh, Daisy, at least you can point out the rats!

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