I love words!! My favorite subject as a Homeschooled kid was always vocabulary!! I loathed math. Reading comprehension was difficult. But I excelled with words!! As though I was born to write!! I enjoy looking newfound words up and expanding my vocabulary!! Seriously. The Thesaurus is like my best friend. Over time, word definitions, it seems, are constantly being altered!! In this ever-changing culture, our dictionaries, too, earn updates. Why is that? How can one word mean something for a certain generation of people, then be entirely different several years later? Just progress, I guess.... It's like the word "mongrel". According to "Dog Facts", my canine reference book which was published way back in 1991, a mutt is conceived when twain mixed breeds mate each other. Mongrels are the product of four dogs or more. But a Beagle/German Shepherd mix such as Rose? These are crossbreeds, not mutts!! Well.... According to countless dog trainers, writers, groomers, and owners, any mixed breed is actually considered a mongrel!! Really!! This applies to St. Bernard/Border Collie crosses, Labrador Retriever/Poodle mixes, and yes, Beagle/German Shepherd crosses like Rose. But that is their opinion.... Right? Just insignificant facts? Mutts are mutts and crossbreeds are crossbreeds, which means that Rose is not a mongrel!! Correct? That is what I thought....Then I looked up the word "mongrel". According to my Webster's New World Dictionary's definition, it means: "an animal or plant, esp. a dog, of mixed breed". What?! Any mixed breed? So the experts were right, after all!! Every one of them!! The shelter where we adopted Rose. Our vet.... She is a mutt!! Plus my crossbreed!! In one!! The chances are high that Rose was a product of an "accidental" mating!! I mean, who in their own right mind would deliberately breed a large German Shepherd with a medium-sized Beagle? I know, I know. For over a year, I have fled that thought. Because, according to my "The Complete Guide to Mutts" reference book, "oops" breedings can have bleak results: "The downside to puppies (Or grown canines!!) from accidents is quite often that the father is unknown and the parents were never screened for genetic diseases such as hip dysplasia or eye diseases. If you choose a puppy (Or grown dog!!) from an accidental breeding, you are taking a risk on the puppy (Or grown canine!!) being genetically unhealthy." Honestly? I was afraid. Of falling head-over-heels in love with a weak, sickly, diseased crossbreed!! Who wants that heartache? So fleeing this concept felt safer somehow? In my mind, it did!! But, thankfully, Rose is an exception. She's strong and in good health!! I have figured out just how my "hound" was conceived: A male Beagle--not neutered--escaped his fence or backyard kennel. He met somebody's female German Shepherd--not spayed--and the two mated. Or vice versa. But I am blaming the male wanderlust Beagle. Reputations will be reputations!! Rose is like a complete different beast to me now!! She's no longer a mystery!! No longer an "unknown"!! But rather, Rose is a certainty!! She's my very own "oops", an unplanned pregnancy of the sorts, which makes her quite unique!! And Rose has earned a new nickname: "Shepherd-Hound"!!