All things are possible with coffee and a dog.Unknown.
Imagine, going to your city’s summer County Fair and seeing a breed of dog you’ve only ever seen as a logo for a bus line. It’s never crossed your mind that they’re a special breed with a unique history and a challenging modern story. You’ve never considered owning one until you witness a group of these sight-hounds standing as calm as can be in the middle of chaos–as their owners promote the organization that rescued and rehabilitated these beloved four-legged family members.
I never had a dog growing up. It was forbidden. I wasn’t even allowed to bring home the hermit crab I won at my elementary school’s harvest fair. So when I finished college, and was on my own, it almost felt like an act of rebellion to walk the kennels of my local Humane Society with adoption on my mind.
A two-year old Border Collie/Australian Shepherd was the first dog to enter my life. I remember the adoption councilor opening her file and warning of some special needs–but something in your heart just tells you when you’ve found your new best friend.
It wasn’t easy at first. We both had a lot to learn about each other. But she lived until a wise seventeen years of age and overcame so much with patience, time, consistency, and tons of love. When she passed, it broke my heart in a way that only dog owners can understand. She was called Daisy at the kennel, but renamed Anastasia, which was quickly shortened to Annie.
A year passed, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to adopt again but the Greyhounds at the County Fair had left an impression. Older and wiser after caring for Annie, I recognized I knew nothing about this large breed and signed up to be a volunteer at the Greyhound Adoption Center in El Cajon, California to learn and be better prepared.
There, I interacted with other owners and had the opportunity to ask my questions. I was nervous at first, for Annie had been barely fifty pounds with short legs. There were days walking the larger, 70 pound-plus nothing-but-muscle older boys that I wondered who was walking who–but it was so easy to fall in love with these gentle giants with mammoth-sized personalities.
The process for adoption was strict and it took time. But eventually, the invitation was given to meet three possible matches. A black greyhound named Amy was suggested as one of them and I wasn’t too keen about the idea. While volunteering, I knew her to be one of the most vocal dogs there. Concerned, I brought this up and was told not to judge her based on that. The dogs are under a lot of stress at the kennel and relax once at home and in a routine.
Well, she demonstrated that she was a smart cookie. It was as though she knew what was up that day and knew how to play her cards. She wanted out of the kennel and into a home. The other two possible matches paled in comparison. Amy came home and was renamed Vienna.
A Greyhound couldn’t be more different than a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd and again, it’s been a learning experience for both of us–but she is an amazing dog and I can’t speak highly enough about the breed and of the supportive and active Greyhound rescue community you’re immediately apart of.
This Dog Mom believes that she got the best in the pack. Roll your eyes as you read this if you must, but being introverted, Vienna has me on a leash and has been socializing me these last four years. I’ve seen her lead me away from the other dogs and parents while on dog walks in a public setting, to go bring love and smiles to those with disabilities and to the elderly or to the shy who are curious but nervous about approaching with their questions. She gently leans up against them all, asking to be petted and is a remarkable “ambasadog” for her breed. And I don’t mind being her wing man in this cause.
A Greyhound can reach speeds of up to 45mph in only three strides–but at home, they’re mostly couch potatoes, sleeping eighteen hours a day. Like me, they have short bursts of energy to do what is needed of them, followed by the need for a nap in a comfy bed. Vienna has been tested as having a low-prey drive, making it possible to have a cat buddy. The cat, who was four-months old at the time they were introduced to one another, fell in love with her the moment he laid eyes on her. It’s pretty clear he thinks this long-legged friend was brought home for him. Now, any time Vienna is away for any reason…he’s an unhappy camper. It is a unique and beautiful friendship.
Being with Vienna is one of life’s little, quiet endeavours that I love in my life, and I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Greyhounds as I continue to write about her story, and her breed. I’ve also found out that she has an interest in writing a blog post or two. If you follow along, eventually you’ll be reading about the world from her perspective. These posts will be entertaining and enlightening, I’m sure!
To my two-legged readers and their four-legged family members, I wish you days of comfort and happiness. Enjoy your week!