Our Life

Boomer's DNA Results

If you own a mixed breed dog and have ever been curious about what breeds he may be, then you definitely have to try out a DNA test!

We’ve always wondered what Boomer has in him because we know he’s a mix of some sort. It’s fun to guess and google random mixes to see if any look similar to him, but we got to a point where we were just dying to know the truth. This was like a fun little science experiment for us! I had a knot in my stomach when I got the email with his results, because I was that excited. Below I share more info about the test, how to make sure you get a good DNA sample, and Boomer’s exciting results!

This is not an ad, I just wanted to share my experience and the specific test I chose based off the research I did beforehand.

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Boomer's History Based off of what i knew

When I got Boomer, he came from a farm where the breeder (I use this word loosely, this was an accidental pregnancy) only owned the mother of the litter. He had no idea who the father was, except he assumed it was one of the neighbor's many Australian Cattle Dogs that roamed the area. So, I was told Boomer was half Labrador Retriever and half Australian Cattle Dog. I noticed the other puppies in the litter had big black and white spots (similar to a Dalmatian) which I found bizarre and not fitting to these two breeds. Plus, Boomer has a longer coat than a Labrador or Cattle Dog, along with a bushier tail than these breeds usually have. So, I always thought the farmer guessed incorrectly - and that the Cattle dog was perhaps an Australian Shepherd instead. Which would then explain the longer coat and bushy tail!

We were both wrong! And you’ll see why later!

 

THe DNA Test We Chose

I did some research online and the best test I found was the Wisdom Panel by Mars. It seemed like the most accurate and well known at-home test on the market. We ordered it off Amazon for about $80. All you have to do is use two swabs to collect saliva samples from your dog and send them back for the DNA testing. Again, this is not an ad at all. Here is the link to the test on Amazon and their website if you'd like to try it out for yourself.

 

Wisdom Panel by Mars - Link here!

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how to take the test (correctly)

A good chunk of the reviews on Amazon complained about inaccurate results. I called the company to ask about this and the rep I spoke with was very helpful. She explained that results coming from multiple pet households can easily produce incorrect DNA results. To make sure your sample is isolated to the pet you are specifically testing for, you have to take a few precautions to make sure the saliva in their mouth doesn’t get contaminated by any other pets.

I took away both of the water bowls in our house at around 9 pm the evening before collecting Boomer’s saliva. I also put away all of their toys and chews, and they got no treats or kibble for the rest of the night. The following morning I took the sample as soon as I woke up. This way, Boomer’s mouth was clear of any food or debris, and he had not been swapping spit with Ruger (to put it simply).

If you allow your pets to share anything that goes into their mouth, you will contaminate the sample and pick up the breeds from those other pets and therefore get inaccurate results. You want the best sample possible, so take your time swabbing. One big tip is to make sure you let the sample dry completely, minimum 10-20 minutes. Boomer drools a lot so I got a very wet (and good) sample, which I had to let dry for almost 2 hours before I could put them back in the package.

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AND THE RESULTS ARE IN!

I was so excited to see if the test was legitimate and what it had to say about Boomer…

He is 37.5% Labrador Retriever, 25% Australian Cattle Dog, 12.5% American Bulldog (I'll explain this result later), 12.5% Border Collie, and 12.5% Golden Retriever.

I couldn't believe the results! Especially the American Bulldog (think Chance from 'Homeward Bound'). American Bulldogs almost look like a (regular) Bulldog with a Pitbull’s body, and I felt confused by this result because he literally looks nothing like one. I imagine his coat would be much shorter if he were American Bulldog combined with the coat of the Australian Cattle Dog. But, once I went through the explanation of each breed from the test results, it mentioned that the American Bulldog gene was the only one that wasn't very prominent in his DNA. So it is much higher up in the lineage and basically has almost been bred out of him, which makes much more sense when considering his looks!

His mother was a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. I saw her myself, and just assumed she was a purebred yellow Lab. I googled mixes that are 3/4 Lab and 1/4 Goldens - and they basically look like a yellow or red Labrador, so I can see why the owner assumed she was purebred. Again, he was a farmer (not a breeder) and did not own registered dogs, so it’s easy to see why he didn’t have full knowledge of her breed lineage. Then I googled what the father probably looked like... He was part Australian Cattle Dog and part Border Collie (with that tiny bit of American Bulldog). And, this mix usually looks like a Cattle Dog with a slightly longer coat! This all makes sense why the owner assumed the puppies were half Lab/Cattle dog at a glance, when in reality their mixes were much more diverse! Without this test, we would have never known any of this. This has cleared up so much for us!

Here is a pie chart of Boomer’s official results:

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Now that we’ve done this for Boomer we’d like to try it on Ruger next! We think Ruger is Border Collie/Lab because we’ve seen dogs that are this exact mix, and they look exactly like him. Only time, or a DNA test, will tell! If you try out a DNA test, let me know your results!

Life in the City

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We have been in Charlotte for a little over a year now! So wild to think about!

We live in a cute apartment in South End, which is one of the neighborhoods directly south of Uptown (or downtown) Charlotte. We have three awesome breweries and the best coffee shop in the world is literally next door. We love to go grab a beer after work or on the weekends and get some dinner from the food trucks. If it's nice out we will even bring Boomer and Ruger with! There is a tiny coffee shop inside one of the breweries and it has changed my life. If you drink good coffee, I promise you will never want to go to Starbucks again. I randomly ordered a latte from the coffee shop one time at like four in the afternoon and I've been hooked ever since. Zach and I will have a little morning date and walk over with the dogs to go get some coffee before work, it's my favorite time together! 

Honestly, one of the most fun parts about living in Charlotte is that we have the NFL Panthers and the NBA Hornets. I think being with Zach has turned me into a much bigger sports fan than I could have ever imagined. I will only admit it this one time... but I love going to all the games! I think having pro sports teams brings a lot more opportunities for fun things to do. Even if you aren't going to the game, a lot of bars and restaurants will have events or different food and drink specials centered around them, and I just love the camaraderie of it all and how loyal people are to their team. Zach and I agree that the next place we move to must have an NFL team!

I think our boys make great city dogs! They get to go to breweries, coffee shops, dog parks, you name it! I love providing them with some variety so they don't get bored. They always get new places to smell and new dogs to meet. Someone once told me that sniffing for a dog is like them reading the morning newspaper. It's their way of catching up and learning about what's going on around them. They've even made some friends at the dog park, including another Lab/Border Collie mix that looks just like Ruger and a little French Bulldog puppy named Tupac haha! 

They are both in great health, which makes me super happy. Especially for Boomer, I was very worried about his arthritic elbow and his allergies. But, we've had him on the Adequan injection for several months and he is doing better then I could have hoped for! He rarely limps now, and if he does it's for maybe half a day, rather than several. And his allergies seem to finally be starting to calm down after being here for a year. For the first 6 months we lived here, we thought they were food-related, but it turns out North Carolina has terrible environmental allergies - for dogs and humans! And Ruger just turned three a couple weeks ago, so he is officially an adult!

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Fall Update!

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Cute outtake!

Cute outtake!

Millie is Zach's family dog!

Millie is Zach's family dog!

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Another cute outtake of my happy Lab!

Another cute outtake of my happy Lab!

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I have been TERRIBLE at keeping up with my blog! I'm sorry! I haven't quit it though (since some people have asked), I just have been so busy settling into our new state/city/apartment. And as you know, I've been thinking about changing my blog so that is still in the works!

It's early October in good ol' North Carolina and it's 76 degrees out. I'm literally sitting on the couch with the patio door wide open and it feels amazing! It's bright and sunny out, couldn't be more perfect. The leaves here haven't changed yet, but I can see some trees are slowly starting to transition. Yay! I'm sad I'll miss the snow and mountains back in Utah, but I'm definitely looking forward to not having to drive on icy roads. 

Now that we're finally living in the city, Zach and I are having so much fun! I'll be honest and say at first we were worried we might have made a mistake moving here since it was a little bit of a stressful summer, but now that we're in the city and in our awesome new place... we are having such a great time! We do hope to move back to Utah in a few years though!

Right now we're in this really cool, walkable part of town called South End. We can hop from brewery/restaurant/wherever else and not have to drive. Last Sunday we walked across the street to the grocery store and had mimosas at the bar (they have one in the store!!), it was actually a really fun time since the Panthers game was on and people looove their football around here. I've been better at taking photos of all of the stuff we've been doing so I'll make sure to post more about our time here!

I'm also very happy to see how Ruger and Boomer are settling in. We got Boomer in the Spring, then shortly after we drove across the country and moved to a new place with new people and new surroundings. Dogs are all about routine, so any changes can be very stressful for them and we went through a ton of change! I think they love it here so far (hopefully), we can take them almost anywhere with us, I love that! Every single restaurant/bar/brewery patio is dog-friendly so we've had a lot of socialization opportunities for the boys. That's another huge relief for me, their behavior had really changed when we first started the moving process. When we first started packing our apartment back in Salt Lake, they were a little stressed and it just snowballed from there. They were becoming a little naughty and I was becoming really frustrated with them, which is the worst thing you can do, but I was also stressed and couldn't help it. But we are all finally getting back to normal and I'm so happy with being in Charlotte so far! 

More updates and posts will be coming soon!

 

Boomer's Birthday

 
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The best photobomb in my opinion.

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The photo below perfectly captures their personalities! Ruger being young and bouncing around, and Boomer being very wise and serious about fetching the frisbee.

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Boomer turned 8 this month! I feel like he's my own child because I've watched him grow up and he has such a big personality so it's like he's a little human. I got my cute pup when he was only 6 weeks old. We drove to Oregon and got him from someone who lived on a big farm in a small town. His mom was a yellow Lab and I believe they said his dad was a Lab/Australian Cattle Dog. His siblings were either mostly black or spotted almost like a Dalmation. I remember driving up the hill to where they kept the puppies, and Boomer's mom came running up this hill almost alongside our car. I didn't realize she was the mother until she met us at the top! It was so green in Oregon and the weather was gloomy that day, my aunt mentioned I should call him Boomer because of the thunder and he's been my Boom boy ever since!

He still has so much energy for technically being a senior dog. He loves to play around and fetch, the only thing that shows his age is a slight limp and stiffness when he's been too active or laying down in one spot for too long. We just bought him some Dasaquin with MSM and ASU to help with this and he's been on it for 3 days. The reviews are AMAZING and I'm excited to see what results he has with it. 

Here is the one we bought from Drs. Foster and Smith: Dasuquin with MSM tablets. It's on sale for $80 for the largest size and dose. It's pricey.. but worth keeping him as young and healthy as possible. He needs to be able to keep up with Ruger, because they have such a big age difference so it's easier (and healthier) to keep Boomer in shape to stay as active as Ruger, than to not exercise Ruger as much and slow him down because of Boomer.

Above are all the photos of the fun time we had for his birthday. Both Ruger and Boomer got to swim and even made a friend with a chocolate Lab along the way!

Casual Romp through the Park

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Just dragging me through the mud!

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This is the same park we went to from the other post... It's easily become our new favorite spot to take the dogs because of how gorgeous (and close by) it is. We'll play fetch with boys in the open field first to get rid of some energy before we head up the little trails. This way they are more behaved on the hike and are less tempted to chase any little critter they see.

I dressed really casual to take them out, this was a couple weeks ago when it had been raining so the park was extremely muddy. Some cute Nikes, a suede baseball hat, and a light cardi seemed just about right for the occasion. I'm calling it "dog park fashion". 

And to share some other exciting news - we taught Ruger to follow Zach on his mountain bike so he's now a trail dog! We took him up to Park City on a Tuesday in the afternoon to an easy trail that wasn't busy. We brought a squeaky tennis ball to help keep his focus since we are trusting him to be off-leash. Boomer and I tagged along and played fetch at the dog park that is right next to the trail entrance. Ruger actually ended up doing really great! He stayed by Zach's side and kept good pace with him and understood he's supposed to be stay with him (I was really worried he's take off, even though he's really mastered being off-leash). I guess the one time he looked at another biker, Zach squeaked the tennis ball and his focus was right back on him. Of course, Zach only took him on a short ride since Ruger will have to build up his stamina and get his paws used to being on the terrain. He's part Border Collie and loves to work and have a job to do, so I'm very excited we found a fun way to exercise him!

Walking through the Forest

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If one finds something interesting to sniff.. then the other runs up and has to sniff it too.

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I loved looking at these trees, it's like they were bent by the wind.

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Boomer loves to play tug with his leash when he's excited, so cute!

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Ruger got stuck on a tree. I had to climb down a steep ledge to untie him. Boomer did absolutely nothing to help.

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I found a gorgeous park by my place and took the pups on a little adventure to go explore it. I've heard of this park before - it's labeled as a "dog park", but it's really just an open field surrounded by short hiking trails with a river running through it. Utah has these beautiful canyons and mountains, but a lot of them aren't dog-friendly because the water from those areas provides the drinking water for the valley. So when I pulled up to this, expecting an actual dog park (you know the ones that are a square patch of dirt with a big boring fence around it), I was beyond excited.

I decided not to edit these photos so you can see how vibrant everything is. All those beautiful shades of green are real and they just got more beautiful as we walked up the trails! I like to leave the leashes on the dogs when we first explore somewhere new. That way, I can hurry and grab a onto a leash and stop them from taking off unexpectedly. The only issue this day, was Ruger got caught on a tree branch! As soon as I clipped the leash off of him, Boomer ran up and started tugging on it thinking it was time to play. He's always had a habit of doing that when he's excited. He will also walk around and carry his own leash when he's ready to go on a walk. I'm thinking maybe it's his own little way of saying he's happy. Love my pups!

 

Welcome to the Family, Boomer!

We got a new pup!

Well, he's not new exactly, because I actually got him as a 6 week old puppy when I lived in Arizona.

I wasn't able to keep him because I lived with my single mom in a small apartment (to be honest, I shouldn't have got him in the first place, but I've always wanted a dog more than anything). So Boomer eventually moved in with a family member who lived down the street, and he stayed there while I moved to Utah and went to college. He lived comfortably in Arizona until that family member had to move and figure out what to do with him. Talk about such a stressful week, I immediately went into hyper mode trying to find a solution on what to do with him.

Zach and I already had Ruger, but I didn't want to leave Boomer with an uncertain future. I felt like I would be abandoning him because he's an older, black dog - which are two factors that lessen his chances of being adopted. We decided to bring him here to Utah to live with us...  and he fits right in! I think both Boomer and Ruger really benefit from each other's company and it's nice that they have similar energy levels. I'm so excited I get to have this reunion with my pup, I've missed him and forgot some of his personality characteristics, so it's an incredible feeling to get to know him all over again!

Here's some photos I took of Boomer when he was about 2-3 years old back in Arizona. He LOVES to swim and play fetch! He'll fetch sticks, oranges (like the one below), basically whatever random object you throw for him.

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Here's my old guy now with his new friend Ruger. They've been getting along so well, it's been such a huge relief for me!

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My sweet, old, drool-ey boy!

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