Mix-Breed

As different as Rusty and Sasha look, they are part of the same loving family.
As different as Rusty and Sasha may look, they are part of the same loving family.

For years, going to the vet was “herding” two stressed-out, yapping dogs, and a toddler from my car to the dog clinic.

Once inside, I had to be careful not to lose a finger in the grip of leashes while Rusty and Sasha jumped from side to side hyperventilating. If that wasn’t enough, I had to stop my son, several times, from putting his little hand inside the doggie treats jar instead of the butter mints.

Although I loved that veterinarian clinic because they saved Sasha’s life–she had an almost fatal reaction to her heart worm medicine just days after we adopted her–I just couldn’t bear the distance and the “walk-in” format for seeing a doctor any longer. The wait time was worse than any ER for humans! As my schedule has gotten busier, I have had to make a change, and my husband has had the pleasure to tell me “I told you so…

So, last Monday, Rusty and Sasha met their new vet at the Animal Medical Clinic, just a few blocks from our house. As we made our entrance I felt, again, the looks of people passing by. A lady came close to me and said, “Your dogs are so cute, what breeds are they?” As usual, I told her what the shelters told me when I adopted them: Rusty is a Terrier-Shiba Inu and Sasha is a Lab-Beagle.

When we finally made it to the clinic, we checked-in and were called immediately. The tech asked me a few questions, weighed them and took them behind closed doors, first Sasha and then Rusty. It is funny to see their facial expressions as they are led away.

They look at me as if to say, “Are you going to stop this torture or not?” Their tests are the human equivalent to a pap-smear or a prostate exam; not very pleasant, but necessary. Besides, they can’t speak to complain or refuse.

When the Doctor came in, she examined them from head to toe, and gave each of the pups a shot. Without my telling her, the Doctor caught Sasha’s abnormal heart beat caused by the heart worm episode. She said that she could hear some damage, but that it was very slight and not life threatening. While she was examining Rusty, I mentioned the patchy hair growth on some areas of his body; his groomer had suggested I check on this.

The uneven hair growth is perfectly normal; he is a mix-breed.” She explained to me that because he is not a pure breed, genetically he has a combination of traits, hence his uniqueness; I was so relieved. We went outside and paid the bill–over $300, darn it… how I love these dogs!

Thinking about Rusty and Sasha’s “one-of-a-kind” trait, I thought about my son. He is a mix of 50% Italian and 50% Colombian. Not only is he the first generation of this cultural mix in either family–my husband’s and mine–but he is also one-of-a-kind in his pre-school and our cul-de-sac. He is louder, taller, and more energetic than other kids his age. In other words, he is special.

However, for other people my son isn’t special; he is different. Last week I received two comments about him. The first one was well-intentioned–just like the one from the groomer who thought Rusty had a thyroid condition–while the second one, was completely senseless. and charged with stupidity.

It never ceases to amaze me how imprudent and hurtful people can be; first they say something inappropriate to you and then minutes later, they continue the conversation as though nothing happened. To me, that is an acute case of senility, regardless of age.

Same as Sasha and Rusty, my son is a mix-breed and he will learn to embrace the cross of cultures. Tell me about it! I have a name that starts with “X” which very few people dare to pronounce. God made things like our DNA, finger prints, and iris as ways to identify us as individuals; yet the world is always looking for ways to place us in labeled boxes and suppress the human spirit, imagination, and creativity.

If I were to choose between being the same as others or different, I would choose being different. The greatest women and men in history, past and present, were one- of-a-kind and yet, they changed the world.

Thank you for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

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