Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

I’m No Angel April 10, 2013

I can’t say I’m that big a fan of people calling me a mutt. I know my mom was a purebred Norwich Terrier, and I never knew my father. But every now and then I hear my mom say it (on a walk or at the dog park or whatever) in response to someone asking what kind of dog I am, and I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me a bit that she occasionally refers to me as a mutt.

By Bing’s definition, mutt is synonymous with a mongrel dog of a mixed or unknown breed (which I suppose I am), also known as an offensive term that insults someone’s intelligence. While I would argue the former makes me who I am, I also say the latter is a complete dissention on what it means to be man’s best friend.I'm No Angel

The way I see it, a lot of purebred dogs these days are encountering more and more problems because of careless (or in some cases intentional) breeding decisions that result in health problems that haunt the breeds for the rest of their lives. I know standards of the Westminster Kennel Club are at an all-time high for complete impossibility in terms of the expectations they place on certain breeds. Obviously, the breeders make changes to adhere to the ever-changing regulations, but I can’t say I believe the changes are for the best of the breeds, or their intelligence.

Meanwhile, genetic scientists who study dog breeds are more supportive of so-called imperfect mutts than ever before. Due, at least in part, to our genetic diversity, we tend to inherit the best of our parenting breeds. Furthermore, if our parenting breeds are mixed as well, we are even more likely to inherit the best of all the involved breeds.

All of that said and done, it may or may not come as a surprise to some of you that I am in complete support of genetic testing to determine one’s makeup as a breed. Please do not misunderstand: my qualifications for participation on a genetic test would not be to find out how high I might score in a dog show. Oh no. My intention would be to find out where I’ve come from, what makes me who I am, and what these so-called imperfections mean for my personality.

Many famous thinkers have commentated on the concept of imperfection, and its surprisingly positive impact on personality. One of my favorite empiricist thinkers Soren Kierkegaard once said “it belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.”

Imperfection indeed. Let us instead focus on opposites by exploring one’s “imperfections” and embracing them instead of focusing extra emotional energy on what comes unnaturally (or opposite) to them.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring,” said the late, great American actress Marilyn Monroe.

Imperfect, mad, and ridiculous as I may be, I don’t necessarily appreciate when my mom calls me a mutt. I’m no angel, but (as British singer Dido says) does that mean that I can’t fly? In fact, several human members of my family refers to imperfections in a surprisingly optimistic way. Rather than turn away from the attributes that make them who they are, they opt instead to embrace unique personality traits as those that make them who they are.

With that in mind, I honestly would rather be called these things (imperfect, mad, and ridiculous, for example) than any other adjectives because I know that with these words comes a certain sense of power and understanding of society that is unmatched by those who consider themselves to be perfect.

Perfection? No thank you. I would much rather embrace my inner mutt, regardless of the negative connotations of its definition. I would much rather be interesting. I would much rather be unique. I would much rather be imperfect in the best kind of way than be ordinary by anyone’s terms.


27 Responses to “I’m No Angel”

  1. you would do really well on BrooWaha. They promote new writers by publishing their posts. Re post ones from here. Everyone I have suggested are regulars. With few followers and reads on wordpress, in a year,,I have 58,442 on BrooWaha since September because they promote so well

  2. […] I’m No Angel | Wiley’s Wisdom […]

  3. I completely agree with you, Wiles.

  4. angloswiss Says:

    Wiley in England you would be a mongrel, but I suppose the name is the same, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and who could not see beauty in Wiley. Of course my cats have never found beauty in a canine, but they are absolutely convinced they are direct descendents of gods (now where did they get that from?).

  5. Ah Wiley – wise words indeed. The appalling things breeders do to animals (cats as well) in the name of ‘pure’ breeding. Criminal in our eyes.

    • Agreed! I wrote a separate post on the awful minds behind the Westminster Dog Show and these ever-changing requirements they have for breeds, which breeders then seek to obtain. Terrible. Much love to you friends!!!

  6. When we’re out and about with Popper, she loves it when people try and decide what kind of hybrid she is; she stands there and puts on her “I have an Air of Mystery about me” look and laps up all the attention πŸ™‚
    I think the hero from the great comedy “Kind Hearts and Coronets” puts it well when he says to his childhood sweetheart “You are the perfect combination of imperfections”. And it’s those that make us who we are πŸ˜€

    • Hey pals!!!! I know what Popper means about lapping up the attention. I can’t say I mind when people stop on the street and inquire as to my breed. Love that quote from “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” too. Well said, dear friend, well said. πŸ˜‰

  7. Imperfection IS beauty! You’re exhibit A, Wiley. ……I’m exhibit B….

    Love and licks,

  8. Marcela Says:

    I totally agree with you. You are gorgeous and one of a kind. I don’t think your mom says “mutt” to hurt your feelings. My Alex, is a mixed breed doggie, Dogo Argentino/Pitbull and she is one unique dog just like you:)

    • I suppose you’re probably right about my mom calling me a mutt….I know she would never do anything to intentionally hurt me. I bet Alex and I would be great pals if heaven afforded us a chance to meet! Give her a big hug for me!!!

  9. kruzmeister Says:

    You are not a mutt Wiley, you are a beautiful individual with an enigmatic soul who no doubt is fiercely protective and devoted to family, now how many ‘perfect breeds’ can claim those honours? My late puppy, Sherlock was by society’s standards a mutt, but by my standards he was the greatest! I reckon you two would have gotten along just fine! Big hugs from down under! – Simone (Sherlock’s mum)

    • Oh goodness, you are too kind! And you are absolutely spot on in your commentary about what an honor it is to be as devoted to my family as I am. I’m sorry to hear you lost Sherlock to doggie heaven – I’m sure he and I could have been great pals! Shine on, my new friend!

  10. Whatever you are, you are one awesomely intelligent dog!

  11. Jessica Says:

    Wiley, I completely agree with your statements! Both Taylor and I are so-called “mutts”, she being of Scottish Terrier/Dachshund descent (maybe) and I being of Filipino/Caucasion descent (which I am certain of!). I do weirdly enjoy watching people figure out “what” we are! When people immediately refer to Taylor as a boy…well, that is another story! No offense! πŸ˜‰

    • Yes, being a “mutt” certainly comes with its unexpected charms. I love that you shared the story about Taylor! My mom’s name is Tyler and she has that same problem. Please pass along my love to my new Terrier pal. Hugs to you as well, dear friend!

  12. Reblogged this on Wiley's Wisdom and commented:

    My thoughts on being called a “mutt.”

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