It has most certainly been a while since I have come onto TG though I am glad to be back. I have been doing a lot of hard digging into my identity as of late and have been reflecting a lot on how I feel in the present as opposed to how I've felt in the past. This post is to serve as the theory of my identity that I have now formulated and is welcome to any feedback
My identity stems as far back as early childhood as that is where I believe my identity begins. I was raised around a Labrador Retriever since infancy and have always shared a deep connection to that dog in specific as well as the breed in general. I would look up to my dog for how to act or behave at school, and would on the regular simulate behavior that the dog showcased such as eating / laying on the floor or being a socially outgoing person.
I regularly mimicked this dog's behavior to the point where it began reflecting in my own baseline personality, meaning that qualities of the breed's temperament began to show itself in my personality. I was very socially outgoing as a child, needed constant exercise (though I was also diagnosed ADHD), always had the urge to please people, developed a hard work ethic and showed an interest in the water. I also showcased friendly behavior towards strangers and my peers, something that is noteworthy in the Labrador's temperament as well.
It wasn't until a bit later in childhood, around 7-8 years old, did I begin getting bullied physically and verbally by people at my school for the way I behaved (keep in mind I was also acting like a dinosaur on the regular at recess, though I now know that this is because it was out of love for the species). People found me weird and different, so as a result I went through a lot of bullying. I believe that in this moment in my life I formed an unconscious coping identity as a Labrador Retriever to help cope with the bullying going on ontop of having already imprinted upon this pet dog.
This identity I believe myself to have showcases itself on a regular basis. I still very heavily relate to the personality and temperament of the Labrador Retriever (as well as the Golden Retriever) as well as the urges and instincts of them (the hard work ethic, the attraction to water, the urge to please). I believe that the other aspects of who I am today stem from the bullying as a child, as if I weren't bullied I don't believe I would have developed an anxiety disorder or be so reclusive from society as I am today. Don't get me wrong, I still have the instinct to be social and so forth though this is held back by the fear of being judged for who I am (an insecurity that stems from bullying as a child).
I am not claiming that ALL of my personality is entirely Labrador Retriever, but there are certainly major aspects of it that are Labrador like such as the hard work ethic, social tendency, attraction to water and urge to please. My anxiety, fear of judgement and so forth I see as archived into their own category of my personality that stems from bullying, just as I see the Labrador behavior archived into its own category as an identity if that makes sense.
Overall, I can definitely now say that if I weren't around my childhood dog I don't believe I'd be the person who I am today, thus why I am questioning the identity heavily. I still feel such an intense euphoric sense around Labradors and a sense of finally fitting in around them, and that they understand me at my core being. I am still open to the idea of this not being a theriotype, though as of now I do believe it to be a theriotype.