I’ll admit I am not really much of a dog person. I had a dog when I was a kid I considered my very best friend, but other than that I’ve never felt a strong urge to join the “my dogs are my kids” crowd. I mean, I’ve always liked dogs- but other people’s dogs, and even then only other people’s well behaved dogs. However, when I would think about having a dog I would always think of having a greyhound – OR a big beautiful Harlequin Great Dane – but greyhounds have always pulled at my heart.
I’m sure my fondness of greyhounds stems from my early childhood memories. My father raised greyhounds for racing. Now this is not something I am proudly announcing, not at all. From an early age I was well aware of the purpose and fate of these creatures and I think that is why I’ve always had a fondness for them and knew someday I would have a greyhound of my very own to love and care for. Throughout the years I have done a lot of research on this breed. I wanted to be sure about what I might possibly be getting myself into. I did’t want to try to simply fulfill a childhood whim of saving every poor pooch from a harsh fate only to discover they were unruly, aggressive, untrainable thugs who might try to kill me in my sleep. In my research I discovered the typical greyhound is a pretty faithful, loving, intelligent and gentle beast. Best of all they have even been described by some as very “cat – like” dogs. Ha, well I am very much a cat person, and I was relieved they weren’t known as being the high strung, ill tempered, difficult animals I had always been led to believe they were.
So, here I sit at my computer while Yuma and Twix lay curled up like little kittens on the sofa. I love these dogs. I find myself touched by their sweet dispositions, gentleness and their attitude of appreciation (that must be the dog part, definitely not the cat part). When I think about what they came from just a short time ago, I am not only deeply touched by their greytful personalities, I am also totally amazed at their intelligence and resilience.
( I must interject here that I am in no way trying to imply all greyhounds are treated poorly or inhumanely, I am well aware there are ethical and kind trainers out there; my observations are based solely on my early childhood memories – and THAT was a long time ago )
I don’t believe there are many dogs from any breed with the ability to adapt so well. These dogs basically spend their formative “years” in kennels. Sure they have human interaction and interaction with other dogs as well, but they certainly do not have “homes” or “families”. They aren’t conditioned, trained or in any other way accustomed to living their lives as a family pet with rules and expectations put on them as to how to properly behave in a home environment. Many of these dogs live in kennel environments for several years before settling into retirement as someones companion.
We all know what can happen to a dog who is poorly socialized as a puppy or is not given the proper training. If a puppy is “rescued” early enough some of its bad habits can be reversed and it can grow into a perfectly well adjusted family pet for the most part. But I wonder how well they would adapt if they weren’t family socialized for years.
OK, OK, this is not a “my dog is better than your dog” post, I am just so very impressed and touched by how these dogs learn so fast and adapt so well. I will admit, both of our dogs had great foster homes where they were taught the basic house rules and I haven’t really tried to teach either of them new “tricks”, but considering Twix – our two year old female – is fresh off the tracks and is experiencing new sensations and temptations everyday, yet is easily guided into doing the right thing – well that is just downright impressive!
I am convinced their ability to adapt so well comes from their deep appreciation and gratitude. Perhaps the memory of their austere puppyhood forever lingers in their minds which makes them so much more greytful for a quite, soft place to rest their weary bodies. They are truly thankful for a chance to play a short game of ball or take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood only to be relinquished to a warm home with soft carpeting under their feet and a nice comfy sofa to stretch out on. Hmmmmm, am I anthropomorphising a bit too much here? Possibly, but it would be nice if the damn cat could show a little appreciation!