Archive for May, 2008

She Flies Aloofthansa

May 23, 2008

People often stop me while I”m walking Stella. The questions and comments, in order of frequency are as follows:

1. Is she really a Greyhound? She doesn’t act like a Greyhound.

2. Is she really a Greyhound? I didn’t know they came in those colors.

3. She’s beautiful.

4. She’s so sweet!

And the responses…

1. I think people are used to seeing Greyhounds with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder.) Stella’s never seen a racetrack in her life. She’s had a well rounded puppyhood. A Greyhound without the racing experience is really just a regular dog. A thin, lightning fast, regular dog.

2. Black and white aren’t colors. I don’t actually say this. But someone told me that if you look at the AKC chart, where they have a photo of every breed, the Greyhound is represented by, surprise, a black and white parti.

3. Yeah, she’s a nice looking dawg. I think she knows it. And while I try and tell her looks aren’t everything I believe she heeds this advise about as much as a teenage girl would.

But the one that gets me is the last one. Number 4. The one where they say she’s so sweet.

Yes. I’m her owner. And yeah, I love her–it’s a job requirement. But I’m also realistic and somewhat observant. And sweet just does not seem to describe this girl. Maybe she’s selectively sweet now and then in order to suck up. Kinda like Eddie Haskell on the Leave It To Beaver re-runs.

Stella is one cool customer. Given this we like to stay that Stella flies Aloofthansa air. And that if she wore clothes, she would never wear her heart on her sleeve.

She spends little time with me during the day when I’m working. She’s staked out the living room where she sleeps. And I’m in my office. There’s a thick wall between us. She’s got a pillow on my office floor but unless Llewis is in my office, I alone am not considered a pack she needs to be part of.

One positive in all this is that she doesn’t appear to suffer from separation anxiety. In fact, I think she’s got a case of separation affinity. Often times, while at the beach, I could swear that she’s taken to a new family. And that if we drove off and left her with the new group she’d possibly never skip a beat.

I sometimes wonder if I’ve got the dog with autism, the dog that can’t relate, the dog that just doesn’t seem to have much emotion in her.

I remember asking Dee about this soon after I got her. I tried doing the smother-her-with-love-and- praise routine and Stella would simply look at me like my hair had caught on fire. She just didn’t get the overflowing emotion. Dee said to give her space. That that’s who she is. And to chill on the cheerleading. Which I did and which I continue to do. If she does something great, I give her a very low key nod and a small smile. Anything more and I risk being disowned by her.

At times it has gotten to me, having this dog that flies Aloofthansa. But then I learned something.We dog sat a few weeks ago for some neighbors. They have a lab. This dog is the anti-Stella. Where Stella thinks long and hard about giving you the time of day, this dog takes about a millisecond to decide he’s fallen in love and you’re his everything. This translates into incessant face licking and following you around the house like a stalker. It gets very old very fast.

Stella doesn’t get old. Playing hard to get has it’s virtues. You hold out for that 360 degree tail wag when she hasn’t seen you all day. Or the little lick you get on your nose when she comes back in the morning after closing some deals. You hold out for the little kiss you get when you’re on the couch feeling crappy. It’s like finally getting that little kiss from the cutest boy or girl in high school–a tiny little aknowledgement that they love you or at least are aware of your existence.  Like diamonds, scarcity breeds value.

So while Ms. Stella knows she has a choice and mostly chooses to fly Aloofthansa we continue to fly stand-by–waiting, knowing, hoping that if we’re patient we’ll get a few licks, wags and even the time of day.




Broken Nails and Puppy Dog Tales

May 1, 2008

Stella has broken two nails in a month. I told Dee and she said that Greyhounds can get SLO (symmetrical lupoid onchodystrophy) also known as phemfigus. It’s an autoimmune disorder that funkifies their nails. Lovely.

Or maybe she just tears around on the beach like a maniac on toenails that have not been clipped since birth, I wondered. Since Greyhounds can get this nail problem, I took her in. Dee was right: don’t mess around with the hound.

Forty five dollars later, it appears to be the latter of the two right now: the vet said her nails looked perfect. Perfect except they were Howard Hughes long and the quicks had grown out.

I was told I need to cut her nails nearly daily to train the quicks back. Oh joy. I was feeling like I had too much time left in my day so I’m glad for this. Truly. Really, I’m glad.

So while at the pet store today buying nail clippers, a frisbee because she’s constantly ripping everyone else’s off at the beach, two fifteen dollar, eight foot long bully sticks and a new kong because although I know it’s somewhere in the house I can’t seem to locate the one she had, I glanced over and saw…

The Cat Section.

And I thought about Llew. How little Llew cost me. How little he required. How he manages to not only entertain himself but feed himself as well by chasing, killing and swallowing his own little baby rats.

I thought back to the blood stains on my zebra rug from Stella’s now broken toe nail. And then back to the Cat Section with a few toys here and there. I thought about the Knox gelatin I needed to buy to strengthen Stella’s nails. And then back to Llew whom I left for three weeks while in South Africa and who had no issues having a friend stop in to feed him once a day no charge. Stella stayed at a dreamy dog bakery and spa for three weeks and $750.

I thought about how P. and I went out to dinner last night and took Stella so that she could sit in the car vs. being crated. When we arrived back, the radio was on (this is for real, folks), the station had been changed and the windshield wipers turned on full blast. Oh, and the gear shift on P’s car had been demolished.

Meanwhile, Llew was at home destroying nothing except maybe the hopes and dreams of a few dozen rats.

So as I glanced at that Cat Section, for a moment I envied my previous dog-free existence. I thought lovingly about my once clean rug and tidy life with more disposable income. I thought about how much I worry about Stella. And how much she is a part of me and I don’t want to see her hurt, injured or sick. I thought about how much I can’t stand that I care so much.

But you see, that’s the problem. You can’t go back. Because worse than any regret I might have getting her, I can’t imagine not having her. Once your heart’s been busted wide open, there’s just no turning back. So as much as I hate to admit it, I’d move heaven and earth for this radio station changing, gear shift eating, nail breaking cow print pup.