In a few short weeks, much to my friends' amusement, a black Labrador puppy is arriving into our family. I say to their amusement because for many years now, I had sworn not to give in to the rest of the family's demands for a dog. From watching my friends' experiences, it is clear that once the novelty has worn off, I am probably going to be the one doing all the work involved in having said dog! Well, we do now live more in the country than we used to and since I am trying to write "properly", I am at home a lot. So I figure that at least our new furry friend will get me up and out regularly!
Much to my amazement though, the breeder of the litter of puppies has sent me an amazing family tree for them! I can't quite get over it actually. As one keen on genealogy, who knows how difficult it is to come by information for human ancestors, it is really unbelievable to have a tree straight back to great great grandparents for a dog! [Maybe I am now completely showing off my lack of dog prowess and "doggy people" know all about these things and think nothing of them...]
If I put the names on the tree into the Kennel Club website, I will apparently get all sorts of extra details about each dog. Everything from their hip genetics to their prize winning activities. And the "kennel names" are so impressive.
One of my first thoughts was "wouldn't it be amazing to have this sort of online resource for humans?" Of course it would take the fun out of the detective work but how can we be so efficient for dogs and not for humans? Obviously dogs live for a lot less time in human years so great great grandparents for a dog does not take us back a huge span of time.
But just imagine if this resource was available to humans! We would have one place to go for births, deaths, marriages and everything in between. Or would we...
The Kennel Club deals with pedigrees for dogs. We call it a family tree but it is actually a pedigree for breeders to be able to match their dogs with the best possible partners. What would this mean for humans? Wouldn't this actually be a form of Nazi genetics or ethnic cleansing if such a database existed for humans?
If I apply such principles to my own family tree, I presume that a racist use of "pedigree" could or would exclude my Anglo Indian family from a "pure" tree for either Indians or white English. We are mongrels!
So maybe it is best to leave the genetic breeding family tree for dogs and for us to continue to have the fun of the hunt for our own histories. Now if you will excuse me, I need to return to Pets At Home to buy the endless list of items required by puppies - pedigree or mongrel!