Sunday, January 18, 2015

A GREYHOUND COMES TO TOWN

A first walk in the garden
This morning at 8 am, Ben and I were in Fredericksburg Virginia, picking up a greyhound.  We are fostering her, rather than adopting - a dubious distinction - since we have already fallen in love with her and it's been less than twelve hours.  In theory,  we have three weeks to decide if we want to keep her for good.  We are  'test driving' this greyhound - because she needs to fit into our family dynamic - which includes an elderly dachshund with an enlarged heart and another greyhound, who has been part of the family for three years.

She arrived in a van, accompanied by two other greyhounds. Five others were to arrive in a second vehicle.  I was on the porch at the house in Fredericksburg when they pulled into the driveway, so I hurried along under an umbrella, with several other adopters, to watch the release.

Three greyhounds leaped down from the hatchback. There was a brindle and two black hounds, all wearing muzzles.  "Careful. There's a feisty one here," said the driver.

The coordinator checked their name tags. "This one is L.K's  Cover-Up - tag name Missy.  That's yours, Amanda."  This was my first encounter with the little black greyhound we had been waiting for.  Her proportions seemed so tiny and so delicate. By the way, we've decided we might rename her Izzy. If we keep her, that is. ;)

After the handover of paperwork, pills, specific instructions,  and of course the dog itself,  Ben and I drove back home. It was a very grey winter's morning and pouring with rain. Izzy lay in the back seat panting. When we arrived in Falls Church, I ran inside to get our dogs Basil and Adam and together we  all went for our first walk round the block.

Basil the dachshund was predictably cantankerous. He barked his head off at first, while the two greyhounds slotted into place quite quickly.  But on balance, the walk was calmer and more coordinated than Ben and I had expected.
Basil is mystified. Who are these long legged dogs?

Back at home, we fed her. She had traveled from Florida on an empty stomach and was starving.  We mixed her kibble with rice, as instructed.   But Adam didn't like the idea of Izzy eating without him.  He wanted to have some too. And that presented problems.

After a suitable resting period, we let them into the back garden. They wandered around sniffing the borders of the property, peeing on things, lifting legs or squatting - as the case may be, then going back over each other's spots to re-pee. Maybe that's like re-tweeting.
Here she is - so thin, and so in need of love

At one point Adam and Izzy were down at the far end of the property, sniffing about in what we've come to think of as fox terrain.  Suddenly, as if at some invisible signal, Adam turned and charged back to the house top speed, followed swiftly by Izzy.  It was a beautiful picture  of two racing greyhounds.  Except that Izzy is closer to life at the tracks than is Adam,  and it ended badly.

Adam growled and snapped in the final stretches of the race and as Izzy bounced back in through the kitchen unperturbed, Adam ended up retching in the bushes for several minutes.  In greyhound terms  it was a pretty intense interaction.

Getting to know each other~
Back indoors there was more resting on dog beds. We had purchased a new bed for Izzy.  But Adam insisted on trying it out too.  I'm the boss around here, he wanted to communicate.

She still hasn't figured out how to go up stairs. That will involve a lot of coaxing when the time comes.  But when I went up the stairs myself,  followed by the other two dogs, Izzy watched as if we were going into a time warp.  At least it provided an opportunity for Adam  and Basil to get away from all the intensity of their new companion - to come up to the library and lie beside me and, yes, let's face it - forget about females for a while.

Meanwhile she, poor darling, can also forget about them. Right now she is lying on her bed, while Ben watches the football game.  She is clearly trying to relax. She seems a very calm girl and a sweet one.  In watching her movements, we are aware how far Adam has come since we rescued him from the tracks three years ago.  He is so much more normal by comparison with her.

the dog who fell to earth
She still doesn't know what to expect.  Think of it.  She has never known a life outside the kennels or the tracks.  She has never known a home, a garden, trees, beds or stairs.  She is the alien who fell to earth. And we welcome her.

If you are interested in adopting a greyhound in Virginia, check out Virginia Greyhound Adoptions .

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