I am a creature of habit.
My morning routine is quiet and focused, providing me a comforting, meditative start to each day.
My sole companions in this private time are our two large, lovable boxers.
They love our routine as much as I do. If I happen to sleep a bit late they “gently” rub their eighty plus pound bodies against our bedroom door to wake me.
As the time for our W.A.L.K. arrives, they stare at me intently, waiting for me to make my move and signal that it is time to go. Then they eagerly run—half sliding—across the wooden floors, to the entry closet by the front door where their leashes are kept.
I quickly slip on my shoes, just as eager to get outside and on the trail. I nod to regular runners as they stride past us and deeply breathe in the fresh air. I admire an older woman with fluffy white hair slowly walking her large fluffy white sheepdog and smile to myself at how alike they look.
On the cross-walk we meet a petite couture’d young woman quickly pushing a designer baby stroller. My pups are just as surprised as I am to see a tiny Yorkshire terrier wearing a jeweled collar and matching bow as the sole passenger. I have to cover my mouth to keep from laughing out loud and pull my pups away from their frozen stare.
I start to really look at other people out walking their dogs, making note of what I think makes them look similar. Notable attributes included energy levels, hair color and style, facial shape, eye shape and color, body type, weight, height and gender. We approach a couple we see every weekend and exchange hellos when the gentleman adds, “How nice to see three beautiful smiles on this beautiful morning.” I laugh and say thank you, as we make our turn and continue on our way back home.
I can not help but wonder if he was just being nice or if I really look like my dogs to other people too?
I look down at my two scruffy, overweight canines—slobber dripping from their tongues and jowls as they look back up at me with bright eyes, happily panting through snaggled-tooth grins. I slowly shake my head no. I don’t think so! Oh please no!
I hurry home, so intrigued by this phenomenon that I have to find out if there is anything to this or if it’s just all in my head. I find numerous look-a-like images on the Internet and this link with 20 examples of dog and owner couples is my favorite.
I discover numerous studies had been conducted around the world over the last ten years on this subject, indicating that your choice in pet reveals a great deal about your personality and lifestyle.
Here’s what I found about how two completely different species can look so much alike:
Most people research breeds when they are considering getting a dog to determine which breeds’ dominant characteristics are compatible with their own or best fits in with the family. Therefore, the breed (or breed mix) will have similar characteristics to what the owner sees in the mirror each day.
As a rule, we are attracted to the familiar. Like creating a regular morning routine, eating at the same restaurants, and listening to music from our younger days, we find comfort in what is familiar. Seeing general features of a dog’s face, which resembles the faces of those we know and love, creates a loving response from within us.
Looking into someone’s eyes can create a powerful connection. According to an interesting study done by Sadahiko Nakajima a psychologist at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan, the eyes were extremely important in recognizing the similarity of humans and their dogs.
“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” ~ Martin Buber
Research also shows that similarities can even extend to personality traits. Dogs can exhibit similar behaviors to their family members, whether that was part of the original connection or was developed after living with a family for all or most of its life.
So yes, I guess I do look like my dogs.
We were looking for a fun-loving energetic puppy when we discovered the boxer was a great fit for our family’s lifestyle years ago. When I look at their block heads, strong jaw lines, dark brown eyes and big smiles I cannot help but laugh at the familiarity. But as much as our two dogs look identical to each other, their personalities are complete opposites!
They are an interesting mix of our family’s individual personalities, providing endless entertainment and joy for all who interact with them.
I believe that our furry friends not only look and act like us, but help us become better versions of ourselves with their unquestionable trust and unconditional love.
The relationship with our dog is a special bond. They become a loving member of the family, a life-long companion, and deserving of the title Man’s Best Friend…and doppelgänger.
“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Author: Tammy Novak
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Images: author’s own
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