Monday, November 23, 2009

Guilty pleasures

My guilty pleasures include anything with bacon, or better yet, EXTRA bacon. And funny pictures of greyhounds with funny captions to boot.

Like these:
My friend Suzanne is a talented photographer and has a knack for catching greyhounds at just the right moment. Like this. And this.

By the way, I've met Breeze in person, so to speak. At first she wanted nothing to do with me or with any hoomin males, but over the past few months she's really overcome her shyness and now has no problem bounding up to me looking for treats and various rubs.

So go visit Suzanne's sites, here and here. Buy stuff. NOW! .

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Walkin' the Dog

Raja and I go for walks. A lot. And as anyone knows, when you walk a greyhound, it's not just a matter of a leash and good shoes. There's all sorts of accessories, and by accessories, I mean stuff you don't want to be bothered with but are going to be mad as hell that you don't have two-thirds of a mile down the road. For example:

  1. An extra roll of poop baggies (VERY ESSENTIAL). You don't know the meaning of the word awkward until His Royal Majesty (or Her Highness) takes a squat in the MIDDLE OF SOMEONE'S DRIVEWAY just as said someone is stepping out of his house to empty the garbage or go to the store, and said someone happens to be about the same size and dimension and temperament as Darth Vader. Yeah, you want those extra baggies.
  2. Minibottles of hand sanitizer. See point 1, above.
  3. Squeaker. In the event your beloved pooch espies a rabbit and decides it's time to engage at Warp Factor Eleventy Billion just at the moment you've bent over to tie your shoe, it's helpful to have a high-pitched squeaky toy as you run frantically after what is now a tiny dot of dust on the horizon. It's not so much to call the dog back as it is to let the search and rescue teams know where you've fallen from exhaustion, pleading with whatever deities to just grant you a merciful death.
  4. Cookies. It's not that I actually feed him anything. But it's a great trick to keep him paying attention to my pocket instead of the garbage can, the car hubcap, the tree over there, or that bush over there, or hey maybe that dead bird in the wash ...
  5. Ipod. For one, it's useful for keeping tempo and a brisk walking pace, but more importantly, it gives you a certain amount of plausible deniability when you keep walking past the moron who insists on asking you any or all of the following:
  • Do you still race him? No, I adopted him so he wouldn't HAVE to race. People like that need to see the photos of the dogs that DIDN'T do well at the track before they ask stupid-ass questions like that. Dog racing = cruel. Not all breeders are heartless and uncaring, but a lot of them are, and the industry is, well, an industry.
  • How many fights has he won? If you can't tell the difference between a greyhound and a pitbull, you probably should be slathered in porkchops and set loose at the nearest racetrack. You'll understand the difference in the two or three seconds left of your incredibly insipid life after the gates go up.
  • Have you ever heard of the Dog Whisperer? Facepalm. Gosh, no. I mean, the pet stores aren't packed to the ceiling with Dog Whisperer books, Dog Whisperer treats, Dog Whisperer videos, Dog Whisperer aquariums ... (actually, he's a good trainer for dogs and his show is pretty cool, but the question is just one big sticky ball of DUH).

Cost of an Ipod? $200-$300, give or take. Not having to give snappy answers to stupid questions and then running like hell to avoid getting the living crap pounded out of you by the local Neanderthal? Priceless.

Now, picture trying to store all this stuff in the tiny wedge of space afforded to you by most blue jeans. Yeah. You're liable to end up with hand sanitizer cookie crumbs all over your iPod, which will then short-circuit and catch fire, melting the squeaker which will happen to be strategically positioned over one's "special area" ...

You get the idea.

So, if you're going to adopt a greyhound, the first thing you need to invest in are several sets of the best invention ever.

CARGO PANTS. Four deep pockets plus two in the back. All with velcro for easy access. Durable fabric, easy to wash, and best of all, available in that beige color that looks just like dirt, which you will acquire by the ton as His Majesty decides to paw at some random patch of dry, dusty riverbed, sending clouds of dust (and spores from some prehistoric and doubtlessly fatal fungus) into the air just to let everyone know that he was RIGHT HERE and there's NOTHING anyone can do about.

Cargo Pants. Can't say enough about 'em. Probably explains why I've had the following song bastardization running through my head the past few days. Sung to the chorus of Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright":

    Don't give me none of those fanny packs
    And regular 501s just won't do
    I need those deep deep pockets
    And some velcro fasteners too ...

    Cargo pants, cargo pants, cargo pants
    Cargo pants, cargo pants, cargo pants
    Cargo pants, cargo pants, cargo pants
    Cargo pants hold all my stuff ...

No, I couldn't think of anything that rhymed with pants, either. That's probably why Elton John's rich and I'm, well, not. So here's the real deal for you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Inaugural Post, Post-Haste

Raja is a five year old brindle male greyhound. I met him at the Arizona Greyhound Rescue kennel (please donate if you can).

As you can see, he's quite a handsome fellow and serves well as a Greyhound ambassador.

Photo courtesy of Suzanne Morrison. 
He was none too pleased about living in a kennel, and when he saw us, he began barking like crazy. He wanted OUT. (As did all the other hounds). The adoption coordinator collared and leashed him, and we walked out to the dog run. The first thing he did was to stick his big cold wet nose in my face and sniff. Sniff sniff sniff sniff.

That's when I knew, although I refused to admit it at the time. I was in the market to foster a dog, not adopt one. I'd just had my cat put to sleep following a bout of kidney failure (hers, not mine) and was kind of looking forward to a fur-free house for awhile.

In point of fact, said cat wasn't really mine, but belonged to my parents. However, she couldn't stand being in a house filled with golden retrievers—all adopted from Rescue a Golden of Arizona (please donate if you can) and was making her point very clear on all the furniture she could find.

The thing is, I had this friend who'd adopted a greyhound, and she encouraged me to think about fostering. And by "encouraged," I mean, "Shamelessly showing off countless photos of her beloved hound doing silly things like sleeping with his teeth bared and hogging the sofa," and "Always answering 'He's fine' whenever I asked how he was doing." You see how I was cleverly and ruthlessly manipulated into doing this.

So after getting my first face-full of doggie-boogies, I realized that he needed a home, and mine was as good as anyone else's. I took him in the car, along with his borrowed martingale collar, muzzle (more for his protection than mine), official "ADOPT ME" bandanna, and a little bit of dog food to tide me over until I got to the pet store. I figured, in a month someone would adopt him, I'd be free of this bit of doggle insanity that had come over me, and Raja would have a good place to live. A couple of tabling sessions at PetSmart and he would be someone's for sure.

I quickly found out that, much like vampires of the non-sparkling variety, once you invite a greyhound into your home, they immediately begin consuming: food, water, attention, patience, and most of all, the comfy bed. AND THEY DON'T EVER LEAVE.

That's not really true. Lots of foster greyhounds get adopted out to loving homes. Fostering is a greyt way (see what I did there?) to transition a greyhound from the crate life to the greyt life (I did it again!).

It's just that after a month of tabling and walking and petting and feeding him, I looked down at him one morning with his nose smooshed into the comforter, wheezing contentedly away, and realized: he wasn't fostered. He was adopted.

And that, more or less, is the story of how I came to be Raja's hoomin. There will be many more details and stories to follow, particularly concerning how Leash is not Tug of War, the Two Sides of the Dog Door Paradox, and of course, the Necessity of Cargo Pants, which is how this blog really got started, but I felt some context was needed first for those of my readers (all five of you, thanks, your checks are in the mail) who don't know about greyhounds.