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Finding Your (Pet's) Roots


Hello, and Happy Spring! It’s Gretchen here again. I hope everyone had a very blessed Easter. I’m sure we are all looking forward to more outdoor activities as the weather warms up.

Do you ever watch “Finding Your Roots”? It’s a show on PBS that airs Tuesday nights. It’s hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a famous professor and historian. They invite celebrities on the show, and trace their roots using DNA technology and genealogical research. It’s fascinating, and there have been some shocking revelations!

I was adopted as a baby, and about 5 years ago, I decided to do a DNA test. I was curious about my medical history, but most of all, I wanted to know my heritage. The results were interesting and very surprising. This led to me finding my biological family on both sides and learning about two different cultures that I never dreamed I was a part of.

So, have you ever wondered about your pet's background? Did you know there are pet DNA tests? You take a swab of your pet’s cheek, send it in, and in a few weeks, you get the results back. For those of you who have adopted from a breeder or have an obvious purebred, there’s really no need, but what about those of you who have adopted a mixed breed dog or cat from a shelter or rescue? This is great, for curiosity’s sake, but also to find out if your pet is prone to any diseases, as many different breeds are. I just think it's neat that the technology is out there, for those who are interested.

One day, I took a call from a client, and she told me her dog was half Siberian Husky, and half Basset Hound. We laughed together, and she told me she had done a DNA test on her dog, and those were the results, exactly 50/50. Needless to say, we were very interested to see what this dog looked like. He had more Basset Hound characteristics, and was a very handsome dog.

My sister adopted a puppy a few years ago, that looked like a pit bull mix. He grew up and is now a very tall, long legged, large eared, beautiful dog, and does not look anything like a pit bull. She did a DNA test on him and it came back saying that he was part German Shepherd, and he doesn't look like a German Shepherd either. You can't always tell just by looks alone!

One day recently, I asked my mother, “After you adopted me, did you and Dad ever look at me and wonder about my heritage or where I came from?” She said, “No, we were just happy to have you.” It didn’t matter to them. I’m sure that’s how we feel about our pets too. They are a part of the family, and we love them, no matter what.


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