Won’t You Be My Number Two?

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P. and I arrived in Auburn one half hour after the open house began. Hot, humid and a three hour drive from civilization, we thought we’d be the only two.

The place was mobbed.  It was as if everyone thought Greyhounds just sprung from their mothers’ heads and were born full grown. Few, aside from the breeders at the tracks, ever get to see the babies. Having learned of the open house, those who loved their retired racers (and there were plenty of them) came from near and far to witness the puppy sized versions of their beloved hounds.

We were told that no adoptions would take place at the open house so it should be just a kick back, get to know you kind of a day. I felt good about this—it made me feel relaxed. We could just take things slowly.

When we went through gate we saw profiles of each puppy on the fence: three were already adopted.

Great. It was mobbed, a third of the dogs were gone and now, I said to P., take a look at the profiles of the ones left.

Big Trooper is the leader of the pack.

Irene is a loving, sweet girl.

Xena likes to have fun!

I instantly grew suspicious of these descriptions like I would a too rosy description of a piece of real estate. Sweet girl meant needy girl. Playful and fun loving meant destructive and noisy. And it took no genuis to figure out  the what rhymes with Big Trooper.

As people continued to stream in, I wanted to cut to the chase. So I asked the manager of the facility if she could pick out the top three easy going pups. Specifically I was interested in ones that could hang with a cat that would never stop hating him or her.  

She instantly pointed to two black pups and a black and white one.  “One, two and three” she said as she pointed, “in that order.”

We spent time with One, Two and Three but they all seemed the same to me. They were all cute and squirmy and when they weren’t playing they looked like fat little corpses laid out on a field of grass.

Having said that, we did begin to zero in on the cow print girl: Number Two. More than anything, we observed. We watched how she interacted with people and her siblings. We also kept a close eye on Number One—we began to think she could work too.

P. has amazing eyes. He could spot a fly taking a crap from a mile away. We figure he must have been a sight hound in a previous life. So it was P. who saw The Enemy coming. He called it dead on just as he squinted at the sun reflecting off her hand in the far distance.

You see just as we were beginning to discuss how Number Two might match the décor in my living room, The Enemy entered. P. said she was trouble, that she was up to no good. And that we should be afraid. He was right. The Enemy ran towards Number Two and then just scooped her up—just like that and said, “Mine.” I wondered if this is how it’s done—if Greyhound pups are like gold and I should have done that myself. Had I been a fool?  Should I have just grabbed the first pup I saw and said “mine” before anyone else could?

The Enemy held Number Two up in the air and then back down in her arms. “Mine” she said again. If you’re wondering what age The Enemy was, let’s say she was no spring chicken. To add insult to injury she had bling dripping from every digit given to her from what, we figured was her eighth or ninth husband. 

Paniced, I did what any dog virgin with no experience would do: I headed to one of the coordinators for the day and asked: “Exactly what’s the deal here?”

The coordinator, who truly was sweet–and not in a fake real estate euphemistic way—saw the fear in my eyes and said she would note that I was interested in Number Two.

Phew.

The day progressed. More people piled in. And turns out The Enemy was a pretty nice lady.

“Please adopt her” she said, “Because if you won’t, I’ll have to.” She loved Number Two but was not at the stage in life where a puppy would really fit in.

Turns out, 99% of the people that showed up fit this category.

We stayed longer than most. And as the day finally wound down, we narrowed it down to Two—and to One. We couldn’t decide. Number One or Number Two…we were mulling when I heard: “Yes, we’ll take her.”

I spun my head around and before I knew it, Number One was gone. Like that. A couple had come in and decided, instantly, to take Number One.

The choice was made, and the cow print girl, by default, was ours. That is, if we still wanted her. The coordinator looked up at me, “I have you down for Number Two, do you want to adopt her?”

I went and looked at her description: A very photogenic little girl, she has a tiny spot interrupting her white blaze. She is, of all the puppies, one we would call Miss Congeniality.”

Miss Congeniality. I tried to think of what they were really trying to say. Is she overly friendly? Does she try too hard?  As I continued to strain my brain, P. nudged me and then pointed out to the field.

 

And there, in the patch of grass, all by herself,  I saw Miss Congeniality, her little black and white cow print body stretched out in the sun, sleeping. If this wasn’t the best house on the block, I didn’t know what was.

 

“We’ll take her.” I said

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