5 Life Lessons Learned from my Adopted Dog

5 Things I've Learned from my Adopted Dog. My mixed breed dog has taught me a lot about life, see the best of his wisdom and learn how we're figuring out his DNA with a wisdom panel test!

Not that long ago, I was picking up my dog Grady from the groomer. The receptionist was trying to figure out how to check me out, as they price services based on the dog's breed. She'd known Grady for years, and said, "Hmmm... what do they usually put him down as? I just think he's a hodgepodge of awesome."  It was the best description that I've ever heard for my lovable, unique mixed breed dog.

We adopted Grady from our local animal shelter in 2009, when he was only 8 months old. We only know a little about his history. He was rescued from a bad situation where he lived exclusively outside, with other dogs that were not very nice to him. He was covered in fleas and ticks, and was missing a part of his ear from being attacked by another dog. He was scared and a little shy when we first met him, but he very quickly blossomed into a wonderful family dog, who loves everyone he meets (especially my twins).

Unlocking the mystery of Grady's lineage has been an ongoing guessing game. He was originally listed at the shelter as a Lab mix, but he's much smaller than a Lab. He has the face of a Border Collie, but not the personality. He loves to nap more than work and he can't catch a ball to save his life. He has the size and feathered fur of a Spaniel, and a curly tail from who knows where. He also has the most wonderful fuzzy feet (the groomer calls them his "grinch feet") that defy explanation. So now when people ask what kind of dog Grady is we just answer "a hodgepodge of awesome".

As much as I love that answer, I thought it would be fun to see what some experts had to say about Grady. So I snapped a picture on my phone and uploaded it to Cesar Canine's Feed the Friendship site. Feed the Friendship is a mobile site developed to give people a fun way to engage with and learn more about their dog. All you need to do is take a picture of your pup, upload it to the site, and the site will do it’s best to guess the breed of the dog. It will even provide a fun back-story about your dog’s potential breed! So what would it say about Grady?

And the verdict? He's a Labrasetretreiver! Sounds about right - a little Lab, a little Setter, and maybe some Chesapeake Bay Retriever thrown in for good measure. According to the site, "Grady's parents fell in love at a powdered wig party where they held paws all through the night." (I love this site!)

I'm still curious for a more scientific answer, so I'm super excited that as part of the Feed the Friendship program, we're having Grady's DNA tested to find out exactly what breeds he is. I'll update you when we get our results in another week or two. In the meantime, you can enter to win your own kit on the Feed the Friendship site.

Update: The results are in! Grady is a Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Chihuahua, Wire Fox Terrier Mix!

As part of the Feed the Friendship site experience, from 1/25 to 2/19 you enter to win a free Feed the Friendship kit which includes a WISDOM PANEL® Canine DNA Test, free sample of CESAR® HOME DELIGHTS™ dog food, and a custom CESAR® placemat. 500 winners will be randomly selected once all entries are received. All participants who try the Feed the Friendship site will be eligible to receive coupons for CESAR® HOME DELIGHTS™ and for a WISDOM PANEL® Canine DNA Test while supplies last. How awesome is that? 

Grady LOVED the CESAR® HOME DELIGHTS™food that came with our Feed the Friendship kit. They've borrowed the recipes that families love most and made them just for your dog! With his own dinner of Slow Cooked Chicken and Vegetables, he was in heaven (and didn't need to beg for food from our table). Having a special meal together is just one way we like to spoil our dogs. After all, they are an important part of our family too.

I truly believe that whatever his breeds (and I'm sure there are many!), Grady has taken the best of all of them to become an amazing dog. He's taught me a lot about how to handle whatever life throws at you, and I'd love to share my 5 favorite life lessons from my adopted mixed breed dog.

1. Wear your battle scars with pride. Grady has a tear in his ear from his days before we adopted him. It doesn't bother him, and is just a part of who he is. This little imperfection reminds us that he's lived a tough life, survived, and thrived. It's something to be proud of.

2. Just being there is what's important. Grady and I have volunteered visiting nursing homes, and I will never forget the time that a non-verbal resident took a liking to Grady. Grady sensed it, and sat with his head in the man's lap for nearly an hour, allowing him to pet him. No words were said, but everyone could see the joy that he brought to someone who was lonely. Just being there was everything.

3. Things can always get better. Grady had a tough start in life, but he didn't let that make him bitter or mistrustful. He warmed up to our home immediately, and is friendly and trusting with people and other animals. He also went through a tough time in 2014, when he had to have neck surgery and spent nearly 8 weeks on crate rest. He endured his pain, lots of medication, and recovery to come back stronger and happier than ever.

4. Sometimes you just have to get up and go. When we first brought Grady home, he had never been inside a house or on a leash. He was terrified to go on a walk. So I would sit with him on our front step while my husband walked our other dog (who he adored from the moment they met) back and forth across the street. It only took a couple of times before Grady stood up, walked proudly to his friend, and never looked back. Sometimes, even when you're scared, you just have to get up and give it a try.

5. Be a hodgepodge of awesome. Remember that all of your quirks and imperfections are what make you special, and make you YOU. Embrace them, be the best you that you can be, and don't try to fit into someone else's mold.

Do you have a special mixed breed dog in your life? Be sure to check out the Feed the Friendship site on your phone and find out a little more about him! Plus get awesome coupons and register to win your very own Feed the Friendship Kit

I'd love to hear about your dog's results! Be sure to leave a comment below or message me on Facebook and tell me all about it.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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