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Soon the great mystery will be solved: What is Sadie?

Jan Hearne • Nov 11, 2013 at 9:51 AM

We finally did it. My sister Sandi bought a doggie DNA test for Sadie, and I sent it off for analysis. In two to three weeks, we’ll know Sadie’s ancestry back to her “great-grandparents” the literature promises.I expect Sadie comes from a long line of mutts. It’s not likely her mom was a golden retriever and her dad a cocker spaniel. To be honest, looking at her, that’s not likely at all.When asked to speculate on her lineage, people have offered chihuahua, schnauzer, rat terrier and Jack Russell. Unkinder folks have said “rodent.”Lately I’ve begun to think her bearded face is more wire-haired dachshund than schnauzer, but she’s probably neither. If I had to guess, I think there will be some beagle, some terrier, some spaniel and a whole lot of “what the what?” in her bloodline. In fact, I’m afraid she might break the DNA testing machine.I’ve written before about my fear of sending off the DNA test, how I expected the Men in Black to arrive at my door, confiscate Sadie, and shine that memory-zapping device in my eyes. There is the possibility she is an alien life form.How boring it will be when we can no longer speculate.The Book Club alternates houses and every fourth meeting at least part of it is spent observing Sadie, the strange way she’s put together, her odd but lovable behavior, and we spend time musing about her ancestry.In the six and a half years I’ve had the dog, I don’t think I’ve had a single conversation with Sandi in which we did not hazard some guess about her parentage. It is human nature to want answers, and the most puzzling riddles can lead to obsession. We have become obsessed with this riddle called Sadie.What makes this little dog roll about in castered chairs as if they were carnival rides? No matter how many times I pull them up to the dining room table, Sadie pulls them out, often standing on her back legs to arrange them so she can jump in the chair and roll halfway across the room.I can leave the house with all in order, come back and find chairs in the kitchen, the hall and pushed up against the front door. If a chair is not where she wants it, if it doesn’t come quietly, she frets and growls until she’s either wrestled it into position or moved on to a more cooperative chair.What is it that compels Sadie to jump into every lap she sees, including the dummy on Jonesborough’s Main Street last Friday evening? When we belonged to the dog park, Sadie spent her time with the dog owners, going from lap to lap while the other dogs played.I expect the DNA test will raise as many questions as it answers. If it says she is part Brussels Griffon, will that tell me why she likes to ride in chairs? Why she hates the back yard? Won’t eat shrimp? Why she barks at the cat she knows but ignores the stray peering through the storm door? Why she barks at the raccoon on the stoop but wags her stump (she has no tail) at the coworker breaking into my house when I locked the keys in my car? A man she’d never seen climbs in the window and she is beside herself with joy. What kind of dog does that?It will be fun to get the results, even if they aren’t definitive. I’m sure we’ll be in for surprises, but mostly I’m hoping Sadie’s ancestors were very long lived. Stay tuned.Jan Hearne can be reached at jhearne@johnsoncitypress.com.

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