So, we are starting a new year. And what better way to start than to share a dog story?

The wife and I have a 2-year-old, medium-sized, mixed breed dog. We adopted him a little over a year ago. Since then, we have spent every day trying to analyze his genetic makeup and his behaviors.

Finally, a few months ago the wife said, “I think we should have Charlie’s DNA done. He looks like a German shepherd, but acts like a child with focusing issues. Perhaps knowing what breeds make up this fifty pound ball of anxious fur will help us understand his behaviors.”

“Great,” I said. “Next you will be swabbing my mucus membranes to determine my breed. I told you, my dad was Cuban, my mom was German and Irish, and I think there is a pinch of sloth in there because I really, really, love naps.”

“After 47 years, dear, if I haven’t adjusted to your breed’s behavior, I never will … I repeat … I never will.”

So the wife sent for the DNA kit to find out what flavor dog we have.

Now I don’t know how many of you out there have ever tried to swab a dog’s cheek, but it is a bit disturbing for all involved.

At first Charlie was all excited like he was about to get a treat. He opened his mouth wide and I stuck the swab all the way into nether regions of his cheek. His eyes bulged, he produced a gagging sound that had me leaning out of the way in the event something was about to be projectiled. And then he bit down on my thumb, making me wonder whose DNA was going to be on the swab.

The wife watched the whole process with amusement and then collected and packaged the swab for mailing.

“I’m so excited.” the wife said, making little claps with her hands. “We’re finally going to know what you are made of, Charlie.”

“Oh, I think I know what he’s made of, snakes and snails and puppy dog tails and a big old sack of dog breath,” I said making little claps with my hands.

Four weeks later the wife came running into the house from the mailbox. “It’s here. Charlie’s DNA results are in. Let’s all sit down and read this together.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to have a species reveal party where his various breeds jump out of a cake?” I said.

“That’s a great idea. But I can’t wait,” she said, tearing open the envelope. “OMG. Charlie is 42% Australian shepherd, 17% Australian cattle dog, 14% Catahoula leopard dog, 9% German shepherd, 9%, Labrador retriever, and 7% collie.”

“If I did my math correctly, that only equals 98%,” I said.

“The last 2% is Cuban,” the wife said.

“That must have been my thumb,” I said. “Well, Chuck, I guess you really are my boy.”

So as we look ahead to a new year, let’s hope we all discover new exciting things about ourselves. Happy New Year.

Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted at