By Paws for a Cause – Guyana
Doctor’s Note: Paws for a Cause – Guyana (“Paws”) is a local Animal Welfare Group operating and registered in Guyana as a Non-Profit Inc. The Group works to prevent animal cruelty, to promote humane, ethical, and responsible pet ownership, to advocate for controlling the animal population via spay and neuter campaigns, to educate the public, and to assist in cases of reported animal neglect and abuse. The Group’s work extends beyond dog and cats and includes all wildlife in Guyana. Occasionally, they will contribute a “Paws Perspective” to the Sunday Times ‘Pet Care’ Column, detailing their experiences in animal welfare.
At Paws for a Cause, we often get many versions of the same message when we put dog adoption profiles up on our page – “what breed is this?” Most of the time, the answer is exactly the same – we don’t know. We can hazard a guess, but all of the pups in our care are rescues, and even if we rescue a pregnant mom, there is often no clue about the breed of the father. In most cases, it is safe to say that the dog is a common breed mix. Unfortunately, that in itself turns a lot of people off from adopting, but there are also the people who will not judge on breed. They will choose a dog based on the dog’s rescue story, the way they look, or through an instinctive connection with them. In cases like these, we consider ourselves to be very lucky, especially in the case of adult rescues. Adult common breed dogs are often difficult to get adopted. They aren’t fluffy, they don’t have “short foot”, and people tend to prefer puppies. So what exactly is “common breed” in Guyana? People call them ‘rice eaters’, ‘kangalangs’ or ‘mutts’, and guesses of their predominant breed range from Basenjis to Dachshunds. They are called all sorts of creative names, but in essence, we really don’t know. We delved even deeper into the genetic makeup of common breed dogs, and realized that describing them as ‘common’ is a disservice.
Last year, a friend of ours sent the DNA of one of their dogs overseas for a doggy DNA test because they wanted to shed light on their actual breed. The dog that the DNA was taken from is probably the most ‘common’ looking dog you’d ever see, but the results showed that she has such a unique genetic combination of literally dozens of breeds that they were unable to identify a predominant breed or even a definitive mix of the main breeds. The Company opted to call the dog a “mega mutt” and even offered a refund because of the lack of result!