“If we get a dog, what kind do you think we should get?”
It seemed like a simple enough question twelve years ago when my husband asked it. But of course, it wasn’t.
I have loved dogs since I was a kid, walking a neighbour’s collie mix nearly every day, and playing with another neighbour’s two Basset Hounds, Jasmine and Velvet (you know, of Hush Puppy fame) every chance I could get. I was the kid that stopped at every house with a dog to pet them as I walked to and from school. So I thought it would be easy figuring out what kind of dog made sense for us.
We agreed we didn’t want the work of a puppy, so that narrowed it down. We wanted something athletic but that didn’t require attention every minute of every day, so that filter was on. We were considering something on the large size, but not huge. Standard Poodle! Wait, those need to get their hair done more often than I do, maybe we think about low-maintenance grooming. And maybe we think about adopting rather than purchasing.
Greyhound. Yes! That fits!
And wouldn’t you know, when we Googled the breed, a Greyhound adoption agency about 30 minutes west of our home. That’s how the lovely four year old dark brindle Mica found her way to us after a decent racing career in New Hampshire. Neither my husband nor I had ever owned a dog before, but we had plenty of help from the adoption agency as well as seasoned dog owners in the family, and – wait for it – a Dummies book. Turns out, there were plenty of other Greyhound owners in our area who could offer support, and we joined a group that met every weekend at a fenced in ball field so the hounds could do what they do best.
The sight of Mica running in full flight left me in awe. The thought of her still does.
A couple of years later, while looking at the adoptables on the agency’s website (which we’d bookmarked, of course), we saw a seven year old tuxedo boy (black with a white chest and black “bow tie”) who’d been at the kennel for some time. We went for a visit with Mica, and came home with Arrow. We “chipped”, in what the retired racing Greyhound circles call adopting a second or third – as in, “they’re like chips – you can’t have just one!”
Both dogs got along very well, playing and snoozing and walking together like they’d been separated at birth. Except for the one time I ever heard Mica bark…turns out Arrow was rearranging the living room furniture by dragging a sofa into the middle of the room (side note: this is not typical Greyhound behaviour).
Over the winter of 2011 – 2012, we unfortunately lost both of them; first Mica to osteosarcoma, and Arrow shortly thereafter with a number of debilitating conditions made worse by accelerating dementia. We were heartsick and so very sad about losing them, and also happy for all the hilarious memories and the ways they brought us together as a team.
Those gentle, kooky creatures that made us laugh so much left a huge void when they left us. Their loss broke our hearts. And eventually, our hearts broke open…wide enough that by the spring of 2012, we took a trip back out to the adoption agency with adopting another hound in mind. We took a sweet red brindle girl out for a walk, and though she was a little shy, she seemed perfect for our re-entry into the world of having a Greyhound.
When we went back to sign the paperwork, I handed the leash to my husband and told him I wanted to take one last look in the run, where boys were on the left and girls were on the right…and I locked eyes with a big dark brindle boy with an entirely black face who was quietly staring at me. I knew I had to at least let him out to see how he was with our girl; my husband unclipped her leash, and he flew out of his kennel down the run into the paddock where they raced around together like old friends.
Gracing our home from then have been Kashka and Sniper, couch surfers, dog bed lovers, walk and park enthusiasts, and general all around ambassadors for the breed and for pet adoption.
And when I tell you that, of all the thousands of places these Greyhounds are in Canada and the US, that Mica’s grandfather was Sniper’s great grandfather, you could try to tell me she had nothing to do with him finding his way to that agency and then into our home.
But you’ll never convince me that this particular match wasn’t made possible by one – or both! – of our angel hounds.
Thank you Marty for sharing your Greyhound adoption story!
Marty is a communications professional by day, and juggles the roles of sister, wife, daughter, and friend the rest of the time. She enjoys a good book, a good walk with the hounds, a good cup of Forever Nuts and laughing like crazy. One of her core beliefs is that sarcasm is intellect on the offensive.