Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dog People, Cat People, And Little People

Is nature or is it nurture? What is the G x E interaction (genes by environment) in the cat loving versus dog loving realm? As a person who has typically lived with both cats and dogs, one might think that I would be a neutral party or a generally fur loving Switzerland when it comes to the cat people and the dog people. But, in fact, I must say that I do give my love for dogs a slight edge over cats. Don't get me wrong, I love all the beasts be they furry or feathery or even scaly. But something about the unconditional love and devotion of the dog feeds my secret or not so secret megalomaniacal tendencies (or insecurities or neediness or whatever). Anyway, suffice it to say that I do like dogs a tiny bit better than cats.

But, despite its appearances, this post isn't supposed to be about me. It is supposed to be about the girls and the possibility for early leanings towards dog people and cat people. Lucy had a dog in her formative years since we had Cleo-the-best-dog-ever when she was born. Cleo and Lucy were very tight and Lucy always loved hanging out with Cleo. One way to get Lucy to accept the end of a trip or vacation that she was really enjoying was to talk about going home to see Cleo (if Cleo wasn't along on the trip). I thought that she would be devastated by Cleo's death. But in the weird resilency of the young ("I live in the NOW NOW NOW"), Lucy seemed to barely notice Cleo's absence. Now she says things like, "Our dog died of cancer and now we are fostering Jeb dog." Anyway, the point here is that Lucy really likes dogs. She plays with Jeb and calls him and likes to give him treats. She doesn't pay attention to him all the time (and who does, really. that is part of the problem...) but she does seem to like him quite a bit. She also likes the cats but pays less attention to them. So for now, I am tentatively calling Lucy a dog person. Only time will tell if this is true (maybe she's really a goat person or a computer person or a person who doesn't like animals at all...).

Josie, on the other hand, LOVES the cats. I must say that Lucy also used to be cat obsessed when she was about Josie's age and would let out enormous squeals whenever she saw a cat. You can see how that the cats her biggest fans (not). So maybe the cat person dog person thing at this age is merely differences in early development...Regardless of Lucy's early leanings, Josie seems to be a big fan of the cats. She is always trying to chase them down with her high speed crawl (the fastest crawl ever that she only breaks out when a door is open "escape to the wilderness, escape to the wilderness" or when she sees the cats). When she does occasionally manage to get a hand on Katafanga and he subsequently bites her, she yells and cries but is still not deterred in her ever present quest to be one with the cats. She is not, however, an equally big fan of Jeb. Although she does like to crawl up to Jeb and yard on his fur and poke him in the eyes (another part of the problem...) she doesn't seem as interested overall in the dog. She doesn't really squeal happily at the site of him and looks fairly disgusted and annoyed when he whacks her with his tail, accidentally bowls her over (another part of the problem...) or licks her on the face, hands, legs (Lucy on the other hand, loves it when Jeb licks her). So my tentative ruling is that Josie is a cat person.

A side note about the photos in this post. Lucy took the pictures of Jeb at the top (see how much she likes dogs). Mitch is the keeper of Lucy's photos and posts many of his favorites on his webpage. You should check them out. They are super cool and they remind a person of how the world looks when you are three feet tall and three years old. They remind me of my own memories of trying to find my mom in stores by how her legs and shoes looked and of not being able to see over the kitchen counter and of having to sit on phone books to reach the dining room table. Look for yourself here.

Lucy also took this picture of Josie. And this picture of a grumpy mama trying to reconcile herself to the fact that a family dog is not in the cards right now.

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