Indy and the Great Greyhound Family

Adopting a greyhound is not a singular event. You don’t pick up a dog, take it home and begin life as a pet owner. It’s a little like getting married. You also end up with a whole network of greyhound caretakers, fanatics and rescuers as well as their hounds that become part of your extended family. You add friends all over the world who are connected via the internet and the various social networking outlets, all who share the love of greyhounds with you.

In my greyhound infancy, I actually thought myself quite clever and groundbreaking when I set up Facebook pages for Girly Girl and Blue. That lasted all of 30 minutes until the first 15 or 20 friend requests came in from other greyhounds, whippets and iggies. Since then we’ve friended more sight hounds than I can count as well as tons of other dog breeds and even a few cats (if they had the right attitude-or should I say “cattitude”).

The tightest group I’ve developed within my larger greyhound network is my “Meet and Greet Family”. These are the people and hounds we see every weekend at the various meet and greets in the Mid-Coast Maine area. Everyone goes to everyone else’s event to support each other and, let’s admit it, as an excuse to get together. This group has ended up holding Christmas parties together. We’ve had summer barbecues together. We’ve been to each other’s birthday parties. We’re in touch via email and phone when we’re not together on the weekends.

We as greyhound caretakers adopted our hounds because we love greys. While our own furry babies are like our children, we love those of our extended greyhound family as well. Heck, we love strange greys we meet for the first time. We love photos of greys we see on Facebook and Twitter. I wanted to drive to Georgia to pick up one handsome guy I fell in love with via photos shared on Twitter. That was just last month.

That’s why it hurts so badly when one of the hounds in your extended family becomes seriously hurt or ill. We all worry as if it were our own. Recently one of the hounds in my “Meet and Greet Family” began suffering from some problems with his stomach. He was not eating well. Visits to the vet didn’t seem to turn up anything. Eventually poor Indigo (known to all of us who knew and loved him as “Indy”) was vomiting everything he tried to eat. His mum was beside herself with worry. Events seemed to move so quickly from here. Poor Indy went to the vet where they found a number of masses in his abdomen. The worst was suspected and his mum was faced with the horrible prospect of saying her goodbyes to him before he went in for his exploratory surgery.

The suspected cancer was indeed found and Indy’s mum gave him the last gift that she could give him though it broke her heart. She let him go during the surgery. Though you can never really know the full pain of this loss unless you are the unfortunate soul who has to suffer it, the news of Indy’s passing shook our circle to the core as though the loss had happened to each of us in some way (and in fact it had, in a way). We all looked at our own hounds and thought of them in the same place. We worried about hearing the same diagnosis. If you are a greyhound caretaker, you always live in fear of the dreaded “C” word.

And we felt the loss of our sweet Indy who was a little bit each of ours just as our hounds belong a little bit to the others in our Meet and Greet Family. Indy had the softest fur of any greyhound you have ever met. He was a mellow character who got along with all creatures, four legged and two. He loved peanut butter and got a peanut butter bone every day from which he would wear a little bit on his cheeks as if to save it for later. He was his mum’s only “child” and the apple of her eye.

Our Meet and Greet Family, and the greater greyhound network will all huddle in a little closer to help Indy’s mum and indeed us all to bear the loss of another gentle soul. That is one of the incredibly sad things about life with greyhounds but it is one of the many great things about being part of the Great Greyhound Family.

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