After about two months of living with the new doggie, I have learned some things. First, I have learned her full name. We call her Lila, but it's become apparent to me that Lila is just a nickname, and her proper name is Lila Pila Pudding and Pie. This is what I prefer to call her on formal occasions. Sometimes this can be shortened to Lila Pila Poo, which makes me snicker, but which I say in a tone of voice infused with great dignity.
Lila still likes cats and squirrels a little bit too much. She's calmed down a great deal, and relaxed about people. She doesn't get spooked, or cower, around strangers. And around friends, she doesn't jump up on them as often as she did at first.
Lila likes to sleep in dark places. She curls up under my desk when I'm writing. At night, she squeezes under my bed, ridiculously, and when she sees my feet hit the floor I hear wagging and a clumsy series of bumps as she works her way out. If I leave her during the day and don't put her in her crate, she takes herself upstairs and curls up in my closet.
I am less and less sure that she is a boxer after all. She's longer and leaner than a boxer, not as thick in the chest. She's taller, too. She's got an athletic, streamlined body, not quite like a greyhound, but more like a weimaraner or a german shorthair pointer. But then there's the face and head. There's the flat forehead, like a pit bull? The snout and underbite and jowls. Like a Great Dane? A bulldog? A boxer?
Yesterday at the dog park a woman was walking a dog and I jumped out of my car and said, "what kind of dog is that?!" It was an american bulldog, she told me. Same nose shape, underbite, eyes. similar blotchy markings. I said, take a look at my dog, and tell me what you see. "Ooooh," she said, "they DO look alike." Not that Lila is built like a bulldog. But later that day she was romping with a german shorthair pointer, and their body shape and musculature was nearly identical. They were equally matched, and leapt and feinted and sparred with this graceful athleticism that was fun to watch.
It's a mystery, indeed, and I'm not sure why I'm obsessed with knowing what combination of breeds she is. Knowing won't tell me anything. But I study her anyway, and compare her to other dogs, trying to puzzle out her heritage.