The Queen is Dead. Long Live the Queen.

From time to time I still write a piece about my heart dog Girly Girl. Losing her to osteosarcoma was incredibly painful and I think about her every day since she left me. Sometimes the pain of that loss is closer to the surface than others. This past weekend was one of those times. 
Maisey greyhound at MGPS Open House 2012
Maisey at MGPS' Annual Open House

Maine Greyhound Placement Service held its annual open house. Girly Girl was my first hound and I remember the day she picked me when I paid a visit there like it all happened just yesterday. Part of the open house weekend is about remembering and honoring all our hounds that crossed the bridge. So I guess it isn’t surprising that that wound felt like it had been ripped open yet again.

But the annual open house is also a time when I can count on seeing Maisey. Maisey is a beautiful brindle girl who was known as Nita’s Daisy during her racing days. Maisey has adopted a wonderful family who loves her quite a lot. Maisey also happens to be a near twin to my sweet Girly Girl. It’s not chance that they have such a strong resemblance. Girly Girl was known as Nita’s Girlygirl when she was racing. They came from the same breeder. Girly Girl was born in February of 2003 and Maisey was born in May of 2003. Amazingly they didn’t share the same mother or father but they do share the same grandfather and great-grandfather. They are the spitting image of their great-grandfather HB’s Commander.

Maisey and Girly Girl both raced out of the same kennel in Birmingham Alabama. Both ladies were good racers and both retired from racing in 2006 (April for Girly Girl, December for Maisey) due to a hock fracture of the same leg. I am not sure if they ever raced each other, but they did meet in retirement at various meet and greets here in Maine.

Maisey has a personality and temperament strikingly similar to Girly Girl’s as well. Both hounds are/were reserved. Not really shy, just private. Maisey does not fawn on people and she chooses very carefully who she will love. The list is not long. The rest of us, she tolerates. Girly Girl was exactly the same. Maisey’s family and I noticed at our very first meeting how alike the girls were and we have a special bond thanks to these sisters from another mother.
Blue and Girly Girl greyhound in backyard
Girly Girl with Blue

But most importantly for me is that Maisey is still here. I would give just about anything to have Girly Girl back. But I know that can never happen. Still, I get to see what my girl would have looked like and been like as she aged by spending time with Maisey. I can see that my girl would have been the most spectacular old lady, just as Maisey is becoming. While I am not on Maisey’s short list of people she loves (wouldn’t that have been too perfect), she does allow me be in her presence and that is enough. While Maisey still exists, it feels like a little piece of my girl still has a toe hold in this world. Long live the Queen.


Porcine Prejudices

Greyhounds are inherently breedist. They are raised with other greyhounds. They race with other greyhounds. They live in the kennels with other greyhounds. They rarely see other breeds of dogs until they retire to their forever homes. So they prefer the company of other greyhounds. If you don’t believe me, get a greyhound and walk him or her into a room where one or more other greyhounds are already congregated. A small hint, keep a good tight hold on the leash.

Bettina greyhound and pig watering can
Bettina and Blue are no different in this regard. Bettina shows some mild interest in other dogs and Blue shows almost none. But when they see or even hear another greyhound, it’s like finding a long lost brother or sister. Bettina also takes an unhealthy interest in other species. Mostly those that are categorized in the “good to chase and eat” category. But I was astonished the other day to discover that she has a hatred of pigs.

I was planting seedlings and seeds in the garden. It had been a dry week and the rain forecast was iffy. So I dug out my watering can from the garage to give the newly planted items a good soaking. My watering can is a cute little pig made from metal, and the water pours out of his snout. I thought it quite whimsical and charming when I bought it years ago. Bettina, not so much.

After I watered the garden, I put Mr. Piggy on my front steps. When he’s not functional, he’s art! I went inside and settled down with a good book. Bettina wandered over to the front door which, this time of year, remains open. The kids can look out the storm door to see what is going on in the neighborhood. Next thing I know, Bettina is whining and crying. She is on alert with her tail out straight behind her. Soon she has worked herself into a barking fit and she’s clawing at the door.

We have 3 cows across the street from us. While they are of mild interest to Blue and Bettina and provide a few minutes of interesting viewing daily, Bettina has never given them more than a passing thought before. Her strong reaction is usually reserved for things edible… cats, ferrets, rodents and cheddar cheese. So I jumped off the couch and ran to the front door expecting to see something in one of those categories in our front yard. But the scene was calm and peaceful. There was no one, human or animal in sight. Even the cows were on the far side of their field. I told her she was being silly and shooed her away from the door. I sat back on the couch to read. Moments later, she began her wind up and soon was barking furiously at the door. I checked again and still, nothing amiss outside. I moved her back away from the door and set up the safety gate.

Bettina greyhound at front door
Bettina stood leaning into the gate, peering out the front door whining and barking. What on earth? I checked once again as she was quite upset but everything was as it had been. Except, it occurred to me, that the piggy watering can was new to the scene. She couldn’t be barking at an inanimate piece of metal, could she? What a silly question. I let her at the door again and stood behind her while she worked herself into another frenzy. I followed her gaze and sure enough she was highly offended by poor Mr. Piggy.

Bettina is many things. She is fussy. She is stubborn. She is very funny. She is vocal. She is competitive. But I guess one thing she is not is smart. I opened the door and pulled Mr. Piggy inside. She inspected every inch of that watering can including stuffing her schnozz as far into the can as possible. I don’t speak her language fluently, but it certainly appeared she had worked out that this was a thing and not a creature. So I placed Mr. Piggy back out on the steps.

No sooner had I closed the door than Bettina was back on alert and soon barking, clawing and jumping at the door in an ill conceived effort to drive Mr. Piggy the watering can away. So when you can’t beat them, ignore them and go back to reading on the couch. Bettina barked her ridiculous little head off until even she finally got bored and wandered away. I admit to being a bit taken aback by her disdain for things of a pork nature. I knew she was, by her nature, a breedist, but I never knew she was an anti-swineite.