So this is a picture of my dog Perdita in the snowy backyard. It’s not the picture of the day; it’s from January and not even a particularly wonderful picture of her. The reason I’m popping it up here is because I just found something I want to remember.
See, people always think Perdita is a Rhodesian Ridgeback and I always laugh at this, because Rhodesian Ridgebacks are somewhat rare purebred dogs and Perdita is a yellow street dog who my neighbor found lost early one morning and who nobody ever claimed. As the neighborhood dog person, I begrudgingly agreed to keep her for the weekend, which turned out to last five years and is still going on. She is a sweetheart, even if she is afraid of skateboards, bicycles, vacuum cleaners and men who smell like drywall – Perditas fear of and hatred for men who smell like construction is legendary and sheds some sad and angry light on where she was the first four months of her life.
Well, over the years any number of people including people who have them, friends of people who have them and most recently, a vet tech, have said, “That’s a Rhodesian Ridgeback! She even has the ridge!” And I have said with some certainty, “Bosh. She’s just a yellow street dog! She’s Heinz 57 with maybe some hound in her, because she acts like a hound, and maybe some pit, because every street dog has pit, and maybe some Chow, because she has a black tongue and everybody knows Chows are the only dogs with black tongues. The ridge is a cowlick, because this is North Carolina, not somewhere fancy where they have fancy dogs. If she was a coonhound she might be purebred but she’s not. Look at my beautiful mutt!” All good except I just found this article that says, hey, you know who else has black tongues? Rhodesian Ridgebacks. And then I finally got around to google image searching and damned if I didn’t find page after page of Perdita clones. But don’t take my word for it – here is page after page of Perdita herself. Huh, I think, huh. What do you know? And then I read the Wiki article and thought again, huh. Perdie is also aloof, and she is mellow, which is one of the reasons, particularly since the other two are anything but, I love her so.
I still think she’s a mutt. Just a mutt with maybe one pure Ridgeback parent. Or two. It is pretty cool, actually, to think that her ancestors hunted lions. Perdita is a mighty hunter, too. Given our lifestyle, this is not really a great thing – you haven’t lived until you have fled like the abject coward you are from the house, galvanized by the horrid screams of some small dying thing in the yard – although after the zombies come we’ll probably change our minds about the dead possums. And I can’t really see her going after any lions any time soon. Although, I guess, as long as they didn’t make any really scary vacuum cleaner like noises or have wheels she might wag her tail at them. Might. If I said it was okay. And handed her some cheese.