Saturday, January 28, 2006

You asked...I hope I delivered

I took a few pictures of my 'needlenose', looking like the princess she is, in her royal purple coat. Although, I know of no princesses that can clear a room with flatulence like Julieta. She lives up to the greyhound reputation of being gas passers. Go ahead, laugh. She gives new meaning to the words "Silent, but deadly". I have the dubious pleasure of sharing sleeping quarters with this wind breaking wonder. I've been woken from sleep by the stench on two occasions. It's as bad as when the skunks pass by my open bedroom window on a summers eve.

She was in a playful mood Friday night, laying on the couch. She throws her head back with mouth wide open, a low groan emanating from her throat. I take the bait and start vigorously rubbing her belly. Bad idea. I was sitting directly behind her and actually felt the couch vibrate with the loud FFFFFFttttTT! Her head and ears immediately pricked up and looked at me, as if I had made the strange noise.

Why is it her audible farts don't smell?

I totally digress though. I didn't intend to write a post about doggie flatulence. It's really the only complaint I have about my noble lady (Yes, even ladies fart). It's not even a real complaint, it's a small quirk of this lovable soul that I have the pleasure of sharing my life with.

She makes me laugh every single day and has brought so much joy to my life. I know she loves me too. She demonstrates this, by doing a happy dance & humping my leg enthusiastically when I arrive home from work. My son was a little freaked out by this. At first, he protested "But, SHE"S A GIRL!". Now, he just shakes his head and says we have a gay dog.

Her favorite sleeping spot is on the couch, of course. She can curl up into a small ball or stretch out and take over the whole thing. She loves to squeeze behind my legs and rest her head on my hip, when I lay on the couch to watch TV. It's become an unconscious habit to constantly pet & scratch her ears in this position. She enjoys it so much, she gets upset and antsy if I sit in the recliner instead of on the couch. She will bug me by standing, staring and whining at me until I move to the couch to "cuddle". I think this behavior is the result of spending her entire life in a crate next to other greyhounds without being able to touch.

She is one of the most intelligent breed of dogs I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I have taught her how to "speak" (it took an hour to teach her). She will, reluctantly, get off the couch when told. She's learning how to "whine" (a low roooooooing without barking). If I spent more time on training, I am sure she would be sitting, laying down & probably a few other tricks by now. We'll get to that eventually.

She conveys her desires by responding to verbal questions. When she starts giving signals that she has to go out, I ask if she has to "go potty". She with respond with a loud bark. Mention the word "walk" and she'll start poking me with her nose. It's almost as bad as having a 3 year old child around. We've actually started spelling words when we don't want her to know what we are talking about. Seriously, I ask my son on Saturday mornings if he wants to take the dog for a W-A-L-K, so she doesn't get her hopes up if he says no. Bring out the leash and she bounces like a hot rod with hydraulics. Take out the car keys, there she is poking me again, with that sharper than you'd think it was snout. Ask her if she wants to go for a ride in the car, she practically turns herself inside out.

She loves to go for walks and gets very busy sniffing "Pee-mail". She's even responded a few times, which is unusual for a female dog. She's great on the leash, she'll only tug when she's found some irresistible odor. She'll "freeze" and whimper, if she hears a barking dog on our intended course. I chalk it up to her gentle non-confrontational nature, my son thinks she's a wimp. A few encouraging words and she'll cautiously continue her walk.

She doesn't really shed or have a "dog" smell. She almost collapsed the last time I gave her a bath. She became so relaxed in the warm water, her legs actually started giving out.

Fresh snow makes her bound like a gazelle. She loves to burrow her nose in it and run circles around me, only stopping to occasionally crouch in a "you can't get me" pose before taking off in a blur.

She'll fetch and drop toys at my feet when playing in the yard. Fuzzy squeak toys and meat filled rawhides are her favorites. She'll burrow through her toybox looking for a particular stuffed animal or a soggy rawhide.

My parents even commented on how well behaved and unobtrusive she was when we were there for Christmas. She lay on her bed that we brought & set in an out-of-the-way corner, only checking occasionally to make sure we hadn't left without her. She tried lying beside me in the living room. She retreated only because of the scary new robotic vacuum cleaner (Roomba) that kept "chasing" her.

At this point, you are probably rolling your eyes at my enamored gushing. Don't deny it. I bet your eyes are glazing over, just like mine do when you hear new parents describing their infants first poop. I bet you are thinking, "It's just a dog for heavens sake!" But, I'd have to disagree on that point with you.

Greyhounds are bred with one purpose: to race. They are usually bred and raised on farms. Sometime between 4 and 18 months, the potential racers are generally placed in individual kennels where they spend the majority of their time. The rest are destroyed. Potentials are only let out to exercise, train, race, or relieve themselves. They are accustomed to human handling for feeding, training and basic care, and usually receive nothing beyond straightforward and utilitarian contact. Accusations of abuse run rampant throughout the industry. Once they no longer prove fruitful racers, they are retired. Retired racers that are not adopted are destroyed.

I may be venting from my soapbox here, but anyone interested in what kind of life greyhounds are born into can find all the information they need on the internet.

It absolutely amazes me that a dog can some out of such, a so called life, so intact, so eager to please, so willing to love, so gentle. They are elegant, gentle, loving animals who make wonderful companions. Though they are coming from a track into a home, they are amazing dogs and quickly and happily adapt. The more time and patience you give to them, the quicker they learn and give you their allegiance. That cannot be said of many other breeds of dogs. The old saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" doesn't apply to the intelligent greyhound. They don't need years of therapy to get over their upbringing or harbor resentments towards their "parents" mistakes.

In fact, Julieta has demonstrated may puppy-like behaviors: her playfulness, attachment, ability to learn new behaviors/tricks, and eagerness to please. But, I didn't have the drawbacks of potty training or chewing on inappropriate objects. She has been the best of both worlds.

To me, a dog that has led such an initially loveless life deserves all the attention and love I can give. Perhaps, it's just her way of showing how appreciative she is to finally have a loving home or maybe it's just breeding. Whatever it is, she's the best dog I have ever had the pleasure of sharing space with. I feel,I have received so much more than I have given.

If anyone reading this has been thinking about getting a dog, please consider adopting a greyhound. I now completely understand why greyhound adoptees usually end up with more than one! If I had the room, time, and the means, I would too.

That said, I am sure you can completely understand my willingness & pride in creating handmade clothing for my pet. Hence, my previous picture posts. Greyhounds have little fat and insufficient coats to keep warm in cold weather. Julieta likes the "non" designer label of a warm coat a lot more than my son ever would. Hell, he'd be embarrassed wearing anything "handmade".

So, maybe Julieta seemingly appreciates my effort and that's why I am more than willing to sew girlie girl clothing for her. Maybe, it's because I feel she was so deprived early in life. Maybe, it's because I know she won't grow into an ungrateful, backtalking teenager. Maybe, I'm trying to make up for my perceived inadequacy as a mother. Maybe, I get a small thrill out of the jealousy my son shows at the attention the dog gets and hope he will appreciate Mom and all she does for him, at least a little bit. Maybe, I'm just another one of those wingnuts that treats a pet like a child and likes to dress them up. Maybe, I just want my blog readers to ask me for pictures of my hysterically dressed pet.

Maybe, I just love my dog and want her to be happy. Of course, only at the expense of her being fashionable & utterly adorable.

Now, where is that pattern for fur trimmed booties that make her look like a hooker?


Chunks said...

OMG Sharfa! What a beautiful post! She is lucky to have you and you are lucky to have found her! I would take one in an instant if I didn't have my hands full with dweedle dum and dweedle dee! (Plus a greyhound would likely freeze to death here! I would have to make it a snowsuit!)

Sharfa said...

Chunks - Thank you, then I did my job of conveying my love of Julieta with a bit of humor. I wouldn't give up her lovable soul for all the tea in china.

KFarmer said...

S- From one happy dog lover to another-wonderful post and pictures.

Perhaps you could sew yourself a little something so you two could match? Me and mine have the same color of hair.The family resemblance is undeniable :) What would we do without our little girls?

Again, lovely words and great pictures. It warmed my heart.

Revan said...

I think it is great that you adopted your dog.... I did the same with my own...

and I so know what you mean by passing gas with dogs... OMG my Murph dog has horrible gas... You almost pass out when he does it!!

Thimbelle said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Julietta!

She looks gorgeous in purple, BTW! Just the color for her! :)

It is so wonderful to know that such a loving and noble animal has found someone as special as you are to share her life with! :)