Mickey the Cheetah

One day in May, I saw my little 6th-grade friend, Avery, as Mickey and I approached the dog park. She was at the dog park with her Dad, Mom, and their retriever mix, Robin. When Mickey and I neared the entrance, Avery ran up to us, barely able to contain her excitement, as I opened the gate to let Mickey and myself in.?
“Anne Marie!” ?she exclaimed. “We’ve been studying cheetahs in science class for two weeks. I am really sure that Mickey is a cheetah mix!” Sharing her revelation was monumental and joyful for Avery. Her conviction and commitment to her theory was irrefutable. At that moment, I turned and looked at my dog with new eyes. Through Avery’s insight, delivered with such passion, I instantaneously believed my dog had to be a cheetah mix. Who could possibly argue with a nine-year-old genius who had completed such extensive research on her topic of expertise?
I took Mickey off his leash and he took off running–just ?like a cheetah, I thought. Avery expanded on her theory, as we walked around the dog park, while Mickey flew around the same geography.?
“I know I’m right, Anne Marie.” Avery spoke with great assurance and authority. “He’s built just like a cheetah with his long legs. And, his body is long, like a cheetah.”?
Mickey sped by. “Look,” she continued. “His sides are tucked in. That’s just like a cheetah. And, when he runs, he sticks his butt up in the air. Cheetahs run like this.”
When a brilliant sixth grade girl, who only knows you and your dog from brief meetings at the dog park, spends weeks thinking about your dog and formulating a scientific theory about his physiology and genetic origins as a cheetah mix, the theory and the girl deserve utmost respect.
Avery, thank you for enlightening me about my cheetah mix, Mickey.

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