Today is National Mutt Day! As regular readers of this blog should know, we love our pets at the McAllen Public Library, and we know you do too. National Mutt Day is celebrated twice a year, on July 31st and December 2nd. It began in 2005 to raise awareness about mixed breed dogs and to encourage people to adopt, volunteer, or donate at their local animal shelter. Our local animal shelter is the Palm Valley Animal Center in Edinburg.
A very easy way to donate is to download the “walk for a dog” app on your smartphone. It is an app that uses your location and maps your walk or run. The idea is that, on the honor system of course, you start the app each time you are taking your dog for a walk. You connect your account to whatever animal shelter you choose, and the farther you walk, the more money the company (WoofTrax) donates to the shelter. For example, the app says that as of July 30th, 90 people have walked a total of 1,821 times for a total of 2,182.1 miles for Palm Valley Animal Center. Let’s get those numbers up! The WoofTrax company makes money by displaying pet-related ads in the app, and they donate a portion of that money to the animal shelter. Unfortunately, it does not tell you how much money is actually donated. But it’s better than nothing, and is as simple as starting the app when you’re already taking your dog for a walk anyway!
A benefit that mutts (more politely called mixed breed dogs) have over pure breed dogs is that they draw from a more diverse gene pool, so they have fewer genetic health problems than pure breeds. It is almost like natural selection on a micro scale. Sometimes you can identify specific breeds in a mixed breed dog, but as the generations progress and the genes mix more, mutts start to look less like their pure bred ancestors and more like a standard “mutt.” Mutts that have mixed genes over several generations all have a somewhat similar appearance, no matter what breed their ancestors were. They are usually of a fawn or black color, weigh about 40 pounds, and are between 15 and 23 inches tall at the shoulders. For example, this photo is of Zelda, a mutt that my family adopted from Palm Valley Animal Center a few years ago. She has wiry fawn/black/grey fur, weighs a little under 40 pounds, and is about 20 inches tall. She is a classic example of a mixed breed dog whose genes have been mixed over several generations. Even her claws are mixed- some are dark and some are light on the same paw!
If you want to learn more about mixed breed dogs, check out these titles from the McAllen Public Library. We have a very large collection of pet-related books!