Thursday, March 31, 2011

Always My First

Yesterday, I posted a pair of shots from Drive's early days with us, including the first picture I ever took of him, on his very first day. I've found myself looking at those pictures quite a bit, thinking about the day we met, and reflecting on the animal I brought home.

Drive will always be "my first greyhound." I've spoken so much about what he means to me now, the times when I find solace in his presence, the secret moments we share, the jokes we tell each other, the lift he gives my spirit every time he grins at me.

It took a while. Something that many owners of retired racers can confess to is how long it can take a greyhound to adjust to being in a home environment. Not true of all of them, certainly, but it was true of Drive. He was never in a foster home, so my solitary front step was the first one he ever saw and it terrified him.

He was cautious and reserved around us for months, and he was insane when left alone. Separation anxiety. In many of my pictures you can see a windowsill that was gnawed off. It was done in terror the first time we left him alone in the house for a couple of hours. After that incident, we bought a crate, just like at the kennels, and shut him in when he had to be home alone. We had to wean him from it over the course of five or six months.

I see, in a picture from July of 2005, how thin and bedraggled he looked. It's clear to my "mommy vision," at least. As listed on Greyhound Data, his racing weight was around 78 pounds. He weighed less than that when he came home to me. His coat was rubbed off in places and he had hot spots that tortured him. I have more than a few pictures of him with large naked patches on his sides where he'd chewed his hair off.

I don't know what Drive's life was like before he came to me. I don't want to know; it's behind him forever. As of April 9, he will have been my dog, my gift to myself, for 6 years. What's the right way to celebrate that? What's the right way to tell someone "Thank you for saving me a hundred times just by being there?"

As much as I joke about it being "his job," I never forget that he is Dog. It's not his job. It's his nature. It's his purpose. It's his meaning.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Checking on the Progress of Spring

(Note: It snowed an inch and a half the next day; survey results declared invalid.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

They're Buddies! Right?!

"Ugh. Is he still there?"

When we adopted Drive almost six years ago, it wasn't our plan to rush out and get him a "friend" or companion pet or start a menagerie. The whole plan was to get a friend for me, and that worked out in spades.

But it was only about seven months after that when someone posted Lanie's picture on a website and I said, out loud and without knowing why, "I need that dog."

I still don't know why. I can tell you what I saw in the picture and how it moved me, but it was a picture of her after she'd been rescued and freshly groomed. It was all in her expression. Something about her. Who knows?

When we brought her home -- oh, there's a story -- I knew there would be an adjustment period. I figured the dogs would take a couple weeks to get to know each other and then they'd settled down and start being My Dogs as a team. Together, working to be cute and keep me smiling.

I hadn't counted on Lanie being more insane than I am by orders of magnitude. I hadn't counted on Drive being more interested in me, his new Mother-Goddess, than in any old mere dog. I could not have foreseen that not one damn thing Lanie did in her first couple of years with us was cute or that she would remain determined not to attach. Yes sir, I recognize abandonment issues when I see them.

Now? Last week I heard Lanie give the almighty "Greyhound Scream of Death" no less than eight times. (Google it, if you're unfamiliar with the term. It's a riot.) And every time I would turn around or streak into the room where she was and find some scene of carnage and injury.

Like this:

So when people see cute pictures of the dogs snuggling and ask about them, I just have to laugh. "How long did it take? Oh, a while." A while, give or take about four years, before they'd share a piece of furniture. ;)

Hello and welcome to any new friends that have found us through the blog hop!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why isn't my neck longer?!

This is the face of a dog trying to use The Force to levitate a dropped french fry into his mouth.

His desperation did not go unanswered, although it was his teen-aged human who took pity on him and came to his aid. He remains unable to bring food to his mouth using only his mind.

For this, we are all grateful.