Archive for February, 2009

Beloved Rabbits

February 28, 2009

Stella has a few issues. Okay, well maybe more than a few. But one issue she’s never had is coming back–not necessarily immediately when she’s called–but eventually, when she’s good and ready. It’s one of those things I never worry about.

Correction: I never worried about until yesteday.

Nearly every day we hike in open space teaming with rabbits. Rabbits, I’ve come to learn, rank about as high up on the Greyhound scale of desirability as you can go. Especially jack rabbits as they’re huge (think cat times two) and nearly as fast as she is. Curiously, yesterday, I actually saw one that Stella did not. I pointed and called to her but she was busy rolling in something.

But it wasn’t long before that nose got on the scent and, a few minutes later, she was off to the races with Thumper. No problem, I thought. Good, in fact. Because after a rabbit chase she’s pretty much done for the day and I can pack it in and enjoy having an exhausted dog for the next twelve hours.

So I enjoyed the breeze and the view and I waited for her, smug in my knowledge that she’d be back. But at about the five minute mark, the smug cloud over me began to dissipate and I called my friend Mary who was meeting us there with Mia. I let her know that I may no longer have a dog to walk. At the ten minute mark I actually began to wonder, truly, how my life would change without a dog. Would I get another one? How bad, exactly how bad, would I feel without having Stella to kick around?

A guy flying a toy plane who heard me calling for her the past while yelled back to me, “I think she’s over there!”

In the distance, in the opposite direction from where she took off, there stood–barely stood–Stella. She looked completely cooked–more done than I’d ever seen her. Good, I thought. I’m done too–no more walking needed.

And then I looked down. And there I saw two bloody paws. As if symmetry were a mandate, each front paw had a broken nail. And for good luck, the upper pad on the right front paw was pretty much stripped. I offered Stella some water–first to drink and then to douse on her feet.

Mary came with Mia and and we walked around for a bit. Stella continued to work on her breathing (and bleeding.) By the end of the walk the bleeding had stopped.

This morning Stella did this kind of limp-hop up onto the bed. I have learned that sleeping with a sixty five pound bag of bones licking its wounds is about as possible as sleeping with the rythym section of a Dixieland band. So I just decided to give up on sleeping and observe the perpetual licking machine.

At first I felt bad for her. But then, on second thought, I didn’t feel bad at all. I was reminded of one of my favorite poems by Ray Carver called Late Fragment…

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

And very easily comes the Greyhound version:

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To chase rabbits, to feel myself
chasing rabbits on the earth.


Haiku For A Rainy Day

February 16, 2009


It’s raining at last;
dog can hold it for hours
while daffodils drink.

Rainy Days and Sundays

February 15, 2009

Rainy days and Mondays do not get me down. Rainy days actually don’t bother me much at all. In fact, rain on a Sunday makes me feel justified in sitting front of the television during the day—something I rarely do as it just doesn’t feel right. It’s like having a banana split and a cigarette chaser at nine in the morning. Yuck.

The problem though is this: Stella usually gets a long run with me in the park on Sundays. It’s her time to go 8 miles plus whatever extra jaunts she gets herself into. But today it’s raining hard and it’s cold and because she doesn’t belong to a gym like I do, there’s no treadmill workout in store for her. All she’s getting will be the mandatory elimination walks.

So far, Stella has destroyed nothing more than Llewis’ ability to take a long nap. She can’t seem to nap alongside him in bed. She’s just too amped up. I guess it’s like trying to fall asleep next to someone you’re super attracted to. Stella keeps pretending she’s looking away and then she looks at him. Then she can’t stand it anymore and she begins to lick him in the face. Finally, as if Llewis hasn’t gotten the message already, she starts to bark at him and gets into full play position.

This pillow talk generally lasts less than three minutes with Llewis hopping off the bed in search of a corner of the house not occupied by a black and white Greyhound. Dazed and rejected, Stella does what she does when she’s out of anymore interesting options: she comes to me. Maybe I’ve got something she can eat. Or maybe I’ll rub her belly.

Or, maybe, if her skinny dog prayers are truly answered, I’ll suddenly decide that there’s nothing I’d rather do than lace up my sneakers, don seven layers of clothing and go for a ten mile run in the pouring rain with her loveliness at my side.

Dream on, girl. If you want to find me, look for the person sitting in front of the television inhaling a banana split—or two.

Knocked Up: The First In A Maybe Series

February 9, 2009

I suddenly got the urge to try and do this Where Are They Now piece and get some pics up of all of Stella’s littermates as adults.

Okay, so the urge struck a few weeks ago and then I got distracted (the failing economy can be absorbing when you run your own business) but hell, the world can’t stop blogging just because the country’s going broke. I mean, get it into perspective here.

For those who don’t follow this blog, Stella is a Greyhound rescue. But she was rescued as a puppy. This is highly unusual as most Greyhounds are rescued from a track experience which means that they are generally two years old and up. But for the first time in twenty years, Greyhound Friends For Life actually had an entire litter from Califorinia’s central valley come into the rescue. There were nine in total: four cowdoggies, four all black pups and one blue (also known as grey.)

So how did a litter of Greyhound pups come into the hands of Greyhound Friends For Life?

The story I heard was that a family got a female off the tracks in Mexico. Note: soon after I published this entry I received word that this female was never raced but was a courser being trained on cats for an eventual career in coyote hunting.

This family also had a male Greyhound at home for hunting (as far as I’ve heard to date, anyway.) So big surprise, with neither dog fixed, the female got knocked up. Nine pups later, the family was overwhelmed and decided that they were going to drown the litter versus dealing with raising or adopting everyone out. A neighbor got wind of this, scooped the lot of ’em up and eventually they landed in the capable hands of Greyhound Friends For Life.

The first pic in this Where Are They Now series is a photo of the mom, Emma. When I met Emma she was mostly tired: tired of the heat, tired of nursing, tired of her progeny bugging her day and night. And where all pups got scooped nearly instantly, poor mom took slower to adopt out.

But good things come to those who wait and I’ve heard that Emma found herself an amazing forever home with a couple up in the Northwest. She loves them, they love her and she can live life unfettered and pup free.