…A LIVING BEING THAT CLOSELY RESEMBLES ANOTHER…
When You See Your Dog’s Doppelganger
There aren’t many apricot standard poodles in Spain. Black, white, silver, or blue, yes. But there was a time when my beloved Saburo was one of a scant few. He was born to a litter of apricots in Canada and travelled with me to Spain at 3 months of age. That was 16 years ago, and it’s been 3 years since he died. My heart dog. The loss was immense.
I attended a Fun Day at a new canine activity centre in our town recently. About 10 people with their dogs were milling about when a young Standard Poodle with exactly Saburo’s size and colour joined our group. Oh my, I said to my friend. Still my beating heart, for isn’t that a most beautiful and rare sight. She rolled her eyes.
I sidled up to the Spoo’s owner to ask about the breeder, his age, but mainly to suss out her poodle adoration level. It was high. That made it easier to tell her about Saburo and how he was missed. While we were chatting, her poodle approached. I slid my hand down his flank and I gasped at the familiar feel of his curls. Putting Saburo to sleep had been heart-breaking, confusing, and traumatic. I forgot to cut off a lock of his curls amidst the confusion and have regretted it since. So, it occurred to me, as I watched my dog’s doppelganger prance and play, that now was my chance. I could snip off a lock of this young Spoo’s hair. Absurd, I know. I curbed my impulse and settled for enjoying the young Spoo from afar.
The next day, as I recalled Saburo’s double, I began to get a weird feeling about the sighting. It had brought on happy memories and spurred my desire to have another Standard Poodle. And I was so happy to see the joy this young Spoo provided his owners. But something didn’t fit; a piece was missing. And then it came to me: thrilled to be playing with dog friends, his had been a normal roughhouse distracted state of mind. But, had it been Saburo, he would have been checking in with me. Hyper aware of where I was at every moment, while bounding off to check out another dog or a new smell, just as smoothly he would have rounded back to touch bases with me. Yesterday’s Spoo had not looked at me once. There hadn’t been a mutual spark, the meeting of eyes, knowing that no matter what was happening or who was getting in the way, we were connected, and we were a team. So, what’s it like to see your late dog’s doppelganger? A mixed bag of emotions. It was a joy to renew – once more – the pleasure of having known Saburo. And know that a potentially great dog is making another family happy – a mirror of my experience. But feeling what was missing… what once was.. is like reliving the loss.
According to Naomi Klein, a “dogpelganger” is when a dog catches sight of himself in a mirror and barks because he thinks there’s another dog that looks just like him.
I wonder if he thinks, Hey, you! Isn’t this funny. I see you, but I don’t smell you. And you’re moving strangely. If I bark, will you go away? Pick a fight? Turn around a let me smell your nether regions, your calling card of scent? I seeeeee you!
Marc Maron “Episode 1469 Naomi Klein.” WTF, September 11. 2023. Podcast, www.wtfpod.com, 1:11:53. http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episode-1469-naomi-klein
snoopy’s is adorable!
He may be a mini Sheepadoodle (Miniature Poodle x English Sheepdog) but Bayley is the spitting image of that well-loved beagle, Snoopy. Over 400,000 people follow his Instagram feed.
Dive into a pool of cute. https://www.instagram.com/bayley.sheepadoodle/