As our new puppy grows I am amazed at how her features are changing. When she arrived, she was skin and bones and full of life. Selina has turned our world upside down. Her bursts of puppy energy, the first time she laughed, and her determination to catch snakes and lizards keeps me on my toes. Every time I think I have our routine down, she throws a curve ball at me.

The energy and chaos Selina has brought has been good for me and my boys. My boys have become lazy, comfortable old men of 7 1/2 and 8. They were accustomed to lounging, soft beds and dad bods. They loved their lazy life of luxury, and to be fair deserved it. But I missed the laughter, the mischief and the curiosity.

As she grows it amazes me how people see what they want to see. We know her mother was a pointer lab mix, we have no idea who her dad is. Raffy, my baby, is a lab golden retriever mix. Stark, my husband’s baby, is a terrier mix. Raffy spends his days babysitting Selina, patiently playing with her, watching over her as she naps, and doing his best to help me. I appreciate his help, and the love and kindness he is showing Selina. No matter how hard she bites him, teething has been a nightmare, he just shakes it off. Selina has given Raffy back his skip, the gleam in his eye. I see so much of him in her. Perhaps, more of his spirit and character than physical attributes.

Stark on the other hand, is best described as a scrappy fighter who grew up on the streets in the Bronx. Thinking he weighs all of 500 pounds, he is lucky if he tips the scales at 45 pounds dripping wet. His bark is shrill, like a Chihuahua’s, as he bravely warns people, from the comfort of our couch, to stay off our yard. He reminds me of a retired person who is bothered by everything but has to know every salacious bit of gossip. I see very little of him in Selina. While he is loud, brass, and gossipy, she is quiet, timid and shy. My husband sees Stark in Selina, insisting she will be just like him when she grows up.

To be fair, Selina will be Selina. She may borrow characteristics or traits from the boys, but she will always be herself. I am fascinated how we choose to see what we want to see in others. We choose to see similarities in others because we want to see a physical bond. Humans are pack animals, and as such, we are attracted to those with similar personalities and traits to us. We long to belong, to be a part of a group, and will gladly change portions of ourselves so we “match”.

Perhaps the longing to see similarities is a survival instinct. We want to belong so badly, we will our physical nature to change. Or perhaps we want to see ourselves in others so badly, that we imagine the similarities. At 4 months old, Selina is still developing her physical traits and her characteristics. My husband and I are simply projecting fond memories onto her. I know she will be the dog we need her to be, and she is meant to be. Whatever that looks like, Selina will be perfect. Secretly, I hope she inherits Raffy’s gentle spirit and heart.

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Sara Orellana-Paape lives in Lawton.