We've adopted a greyhound from Virginia Greyhound Adoption. His racing name was Atom Adam but Ben and I have shortened that to Adam. He was placed with us after a series of screenings and a home visit with two other greyhounds. They wanted to find a good fit for our dachshund Basil - and that was part of the plan. We needed a friend for Basil, another dog to fit the family dynamic. The dogs in the family should be more than our dogs. They should be each other's dogs.
Ever since Hannah the Labrador died, Basil has been a little too devoted to me. I didn't want that kind of life for him. There had to be more to life than me. He needed a canine companion, and more dimension to his doggy life.
And so we were placed with Adam. Or rather, Adam was placed with us. What an adorable creature! He's small for a male, and a beta male at that. And he likes you to hold his paw. Then when you put it down after shaking, he lifts up his other paw.
He's curious and calming, and there's something very soothing about his presence. Perhaps it is his beauty and thinness, and his big doe like eyes. It's like having a deer in the home. He moves so gracefully. His nature is silent, curious and sweet.
Basil really likes him. We go on walks and they sniff the same things. One is tall the other short. But they're a team.
When Adam goes into the garden and trots around the borders, sometimes he gets the notion to run. And when he does, you better look out. Suddenly he's eating up the ground. Our garden contracts beneath his feet, so that he's reached the door before you've even realized he was half way across the lawn.
Yesterday morning when I let him outside, there was a deer in the yard. They looked at each other for one split second. Then there was a chase! What a picture to start off my day.
Learning the stairs was difficult. As Ben says, Adam is like the man who fell to earth. Everything is new to him. But the stairs were a particular challenge. He stood on them, like a terrified faun, as we lifted one hind leg, then moved a front leg forward, speaking soothingly all along - and as Basil waited at the top of the stairs, wagging his tail encouragingly. It was like teaching someone to dive into the deep end of a swimming pool. I understood him perfectly. Because I still can't dive into the deep end of a swimming pool.
The other morning, as I was taking my customary walk around the neighborhood, I passed my Lebanese friend. Her house is set up like a pre-school - with children's primary colored buckets hanging on her white picket fence - and little playhouses set on the front patio. There's also a dog bowl of water for passing dogs - like mine. That's her way of being part of the neighborhood.
"Oh!" she cried, when she caught sight of Adam. "You have a saluki!"
"A greyhound," I told her.
"Same family," she said. She had once been in the Saudi desert, she told me, during Ramadan - in a place where they trained salukis. All they had in the middle of the desert was Bedouin tents, sand and salukis. "It was one of those pictures you carry in your heart for the rest of your life," she reflected.
I told her I wondered if I might have a thing about legs. Why was it, I asked her, that I had one dog, the dachshund, with very short legs indeed, and another dog, Adam, with extremely long legs? What did that say about me?
"As I told my husband," she said. "When you pick a dog, you must chose very wisely. Because sooner or later, you morph!"
As I continued my walk down Tulip and onto Fisher - I thought about what she had said. It was true that people often looked like their pets. But there was absolutely no way on earth I could ever resemble a greyhound.
Then I thought about the photograph I'd taken the first day we brought Adam home. It was a picture of Elliot holding Adam's leash, and both of them were smiling. Now that I have an empty nest, it was clear I had subconsciously chosen a dog that resembled my sons. I had got a dog who was tall, thin and leggy, with pointy features but a very gentle expression! Yes. That was it. I'd replicated my sons in the addition of this dog.