Prototype of a Midlife Dog

When Cathy adopted me, she had trouble seeing me as the magnificent Canine Urban Princess (CUPPIE) I am. She was so accustomed to her First Dog, Keesha, a keeshond-chow mix with fuzzy hair, pointy ears and huge paws.

She actually referred to me as a “homely little mutt.”

Then I started getting compliments from people who saw my photos. Mary Lynn of The Writers Center said, “She’s beautiful! Look at those eyes.” Cathy knew the Lynns when she lived in Silver City, New Mexico. They taught her a lot about writing. They seem nice, for cat people.

And total strangers said, “What a cute dog.” Or even, “She’s gorgeous.”

Cathy’s attention perked up when several different people said, “Now there’s a dog who looks like a real dog.”


Cathy has always been fascinated by social psychology, so she remembered prototype theory. When we think of categories, we tend to identify prototypes associated with that category. A robin is the protoypethe dog for “bird.” The more an object looks like a robin, the more we’ll categorize it as a bird.

And the more a dog looks like me, the more it’s a dog, right? Hmm…what about those furry little mops who entertain me at the dog park? Or those Great Danes who look a lot like horses?

One thing’s for sure: Nobody would ever confuse me with a cat.

And I’ll take my compliments where I can get them.