Authenticity of Dogs


Louie is a Great Pyrenees/Golden Retriever mix; he’s a Golden Pyrenees. If you look at the published temperament of Golden Pyrenees, they’re playful, friendly, relaxed, and affectionate. Gentle as a Golden Retriever, and watchful as a Great Pyrenees. Certainly, traits of King Louie.

When you look at the separate breeds, he’s calm, devoted, and stubborn from the Pyrenees side, and playful and well-mannered on the Golden side.

That said, he’s a retriever who doesn’t retrieve, and a water dog who doesn’t like water. He won’t even go out to do perimeter march in the rain, and he’s certainly not going in a stream, lake, or puddle deeper than his ankles. He’s supposed to be more likely to lick your hand than bite or bark, but he’s unlikely to lick you, either.

He’s supposed to be a watch dog, but not a guard dog. Which I suppose is true. He takes attendance of his pack both at work and at home, and he is anxious until he has accounted for the correct number of hoomans. But he got scared out of my kitchen by an ant crossing the floor, and the bobbing head of a hydrangea in full bloom made him choose a different path around the very suspicious flower garden. Fireworks and thunder are his nemeses, so he comes into proximity of his hoomans and grumbles his indignation at the disturbance in his nap schedule. He also doesn’t trust the vacuum cleaner – there’s something definitely nefarious about that thing. He just avoids the entire floor where it’s being used, and he’s never been in the basement of my house in the almost-7 years we’ve lived there. Because reasons.

No one told him what he’s supposed to be, so he’s choosing his own path. He doesn’t care about the traits of his fore-bearers and he doesn’t care about the traits listed by some American Kennel Association desk-jockey. He can’t read, so the importance of checklists are moot. He’s an ant-fearing, treat-loving, hole-digging, squirrel-chasing, oft-napping, car-ride-loving, DayJob temple dog, benevolent regent of the Kingdom of Dogswald, and member of the Clan MacDonald. It’s a pretty sweet gig, and he works it like a boss.

It’s a good life model, really. Just be the thing you are with gusto. To thine own self, and all that.

Still, being authentic, or trusting that others around you are authentic is hard work, for me, anyway. Pulling back the curtains on my thinkythoughts and self-work provides a good venue to keep my authenticity efforts in check. With the Lent/Remembrance/Advent projects, I have a goal in mind for the effort, so it feels absolutely more focused. But Trying To Be Authentic feels like there’s something wrong with the process. Louie doesn’t pretend to be brave around ants and vacuum cleaners and shadows on the kitchen floor. He just decides that he’s not having it, and he has a nap.

Maybe that’s the trick to authenticity: more naps.

We should probably do some experiments on this. Let me know if you want in on this study. It’s for the advancement of science, y’all.

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