Quantum Greyhounds

Quantum Bettina the greyhoundI was watching the show Nova on PBS recently. It was a show about quantum physics. One of the possibilities presented by the laws of quantum physics is that there are multiple versions of “you” in the quantum space and each version plays out its role in infinite parallel universes.

Admittedly, the whole realm of quantum physics is way more heavy lifting than I intend to do in this blog. (Read between these lines-I don't understand much about quantum physics.)  However, I couldn’t help but running with this one piece of it. Just imagine…at each point in your life where there could be two or more possible outcomes a quantum branch forms for each possible outcome. A version of you follows each branch in its own separate and parallel universe to live the life that is the consequence of each outcome.  That is a lot of yous, a lot of branches and a lot of universes.

Quantum Blue the greyhoundIt may be that I had a little bit too much time on my hands on the evening of this Nova show. It’s even more possible that there may have been a little wine involved and just maybe an unhealthy level of chocolate fueling my brain. Well after all, Newton had his apple… In any case, if there ARE infinite mes on a quantum level, then there must also be infinite Blues and Bettinas. There are even infinite Girly Girls out there. Somewhere there is a Girly Girl who never got cancer and who is still living with a much happier version of me. There’s also a Girly Girl who was diagnosed with a curable bone infection instead of osteosarcoma.

There is a quantum Girly Girl out there that never even broke her leg in a race but finished her career and retired to a nice life with another version of me. There is a quantum Bettina in another universe who actually raced out a full career as well instead of being retired before her first race. One of those Bettina’s raced at the Rhode Island track which never shut down. Another Bettina raced at tracks in other states where she was shipped after the Rhode Island track shut down in that universe.  There is a small chance that there are some Bettinas out there who are agreeable, pliable and submissive.  Yeah right.  Even quantum physics has its limits.

Quantum Girly Girl the greyhound
There are also infinite quantum Blues out there. One Blue lives in a universe where he doesn’t have a preoccupation with urine. That Blue doesn’t pee on his own feet, on his siblings, on my rug, on my kitchen floor or in his travel crate in a hotel in Plattsburgh. A different quantum Blue is smiling his fool head off with a nice set of pearly white teeth and breath like daisies (also with a much happier me!). Yet another Blue has lovely digestion with no ‘wind’ issues (need I say that this version of me is also VERY happy). That particular Blue doesn’t clear rooms or bring tears to people’s eyes.

All of these Blues, Bettinas and Girly Girls exist right now, going their merry way in their respective parallel universes with the many quantum mes sharing the journeys. Of course quantum physics cuts both ways. In many universes none of us exist anymore. In some universes we never meet each other at all. There is a universe in which I never learned about greyhounds and I’m living a sad life with no hounds in it. Still, the beauty of quantum physics is that in some number of universes I’m sharing my life right now with Blue, Bettina AND Girly Girl. I’m certainly glad that the version of me writing this doesn’t have to pay the food and vet bills for all those quantum hounds!


I Remember When....

Lady Flame and her dad, Drew, on her adoption day  (Photo courtesy of MND Family Blog)
There are so many great things about the adoption of a greyhound.  Some friends of ours brought their first greyhound home on Saturday.  Lady Flame has now begun her transformation from retired racing greyhound to beloved family member.  Lady's new mom, Laurie, has been keeping us apprised of her adventures via email and their blog, Maine Nature Diary Family Blog.  

Girly Girl greyhound adoption day
Girly Girl on her adoption day
The beginning of their lives as a trio very much reminds me of my Saturdays at MGPS when I brought home each of my babies, Girly Girl, Blue and then Bettina.  I think it's universal (at least it is with all the greyhound people I've spoken with), you just never forget your first day with any of the hounds that share your life.  I remember so well the excitement of that morning when you get up and get ready for your appointment at the kennel.  Then you get there and start meeting greyhounds.  As each one comes out you think, "Is this the one?  Is this my baby?"  And sometimes there is a little disappointment when that one wasn't your baby but then the next one comes out.  But finally you meet THE one and it clicks.  You know it, the hound knows it and you open your mouth and make that lifetime commitment.  Then, while the paperwork is being completed, you are beside yourself with excitement to get that leash into your hand for good, but also a little fearful.  What have you gotten into?  Will it work out?  Did I make the right decision?  Still, your heart knows you made the exact right decision.  
Blue greyhound on adoption day
Blue on his adoption day

Lady's parents spent a great deal of time preparing for her arrival.  They did a ton of research on greyhounds in general and on the specific greyhounds at the MGPS.  It helped that they had been dog caretakers before, though greyhounds were a new breed for them.  They read a number of "raising greyhound" type books.  They attended numerous meet and greets as well as the MGPS Open House.  They carefully researched food choices and veterinarians.  They shopped for all the necessities they would need before she arrived.  They even held off on making their adoption appointment so they could get their yard fenced in for their new adoptee. 

I remember that I had conducted a lot of research before adopting Girly Girl.  I read every book on greyhound care that I could put my hands on.  I attended meet and greets.  I got my supplies in order before GG's arrival.  But Laurie and Drew eclipsed my level of preparedness by far.  It makes so much sense to know what you are getting into before you jump in.  If everyone who adopted a greyhound put in half the time that Lady's mom and dad did to learn about the breed before bringing one home, I think there would be a zero percent bounce back rate. 

Bettina greyhound on adoption day
Bettina on her adoption day
 We are so thrilled for Lady Flame.  She doesn't really know it yet, but she picked herself a first rate mom and dad.  Lady is now busy learning about stairs, houses, treats, soft beds, human furniture and all the other things that civilian life brings.  She's in culture shock but she's already on the path to becoming a loving family member.  In the meantime, the greater greyhound family is rejoicing that another hound has found a forever home, cheering Lady's family on and fondly remembering those days when we each brought our needlenose kids home.



Blue greyhound on couch
I just completed a book about senior dogs. Overall, I was disgusted with the book which was written by a group of veterinarians who clearly felt that pet owners were just barely capable of choosing a commercial dog food for their pets, and nothing else. Pet owners, according to these allopathic nightmares, are not even qualified to give their pets fish oil capsules. Apparently we need to schedule veterinary appointments to get “approval” for this decision. Don’t even get me started on their overall opinion of supplements or the fact they felt pet guardians were simply not qualified to make any health decisions for their charges, only veterinarians were qualified and thus we should all listen to and defer to whatever a veterinarian says. I wish I were exaggerating.

Still, this book did make clear to me that you can read a thousand dog books (which I have, and then some), read about a certain subject repeatedly, say, pain for instance (which I have also done) and understand the concept pretty well, yet completely miss it in it’s real world application with your own dog. Which I did.

Right after the 4th of July, Blue woke up one morning crying. This was not typical behavior in him and at intervals when he moved, he would cry out again. Given my past experience, I immediately assumed he had a problem with one of his legs and of course, feared the cancer lightning had struck us twice. I checked all of his legs over multiple times without response from him. I checked every inch of him for skin tears, unexplained lumps or other causes of discomfort. I checked his teeth and gums, then his ears. I must have palpated his stomach a hundred times. I could not find anything wrong and nothing I checked or touched elicited any reaction from Blue.
Blue greyhound behind coffee table
By mid-day, when his discomfort did not seem to be abating at all and he turned down his lunchtime treat (that, to my mind, made it a true emergency), I called our veterinarian and got an appointment for that same afternoon. Blue cried out every time we made a turn. But he was able to jump in and out of the car with no trouble and he ran around the backyard before we left. I was baffled.

We sat together in the waiting room. And then we sat together in the exam room waiting for the doctor to attend to us. While we were in the exam room, I was trying to get Blue to look at me. His head was hanging down and he was looking away from me. I put my hand on the side of his face and steadily began to move his head in my direction. He screamed. I re-examined his teeth and mouth, pressed on his jaw bone and no reaction from Blue.

Dr. Perkins joined us and I explained Blue’s strange behavior. I was still clinging to my concern that he had some sort of problem with one of his legs. Dr. Perkins examined his legs, his joints, and his back end with nothing out of the ordinary. Then I told her I had only caused Blue to cry out once. When I told her about waiting in the exam room, she immediately checked his neck. Sure enough, he was clearly guarding his neck. He would not look to his left, or up at the doctor, even when she tried to lure him with a treat. He would only look to the right very carefully and did not have full range of neck motion.

Blue greyhound in crate
I have read so many chapters on pain in dogs. They tell you exactly what to look for and what areas tend to be injured most frequently in various breeds. My mothers hound Fox had even suffered his own neck injury and gone through a gamut of testing and treatment. I had actually seen how a greyhound with neck pain behaves! I suppose at this point I’ll also mention that I consider myself a reasonably smart person, pretty well experienced with greyhounds at this point and even experienced in dealing with a very sick greyhound and watching what pain was like for her. ALL of this and still I missed what was so extremely obvious the very second Dr. Perkins reached for his neck.

We got medicines and care instructions. They gave him his first dose there in the office and by the time we got home, Blue was clearly more comfortable. We’re nearing the end of his medications and he’s doing much, much better. But I’ve been thinking about his injury. There was no specific incident I can point to that would have caused damage to his neck. But as I replayed events I realized that at least twice in the last year, I had placed my hand on the side of Blue’s face, steadily moved his head towards my face and he had cried out.

Not only had I not noticed he was having a problem with his neck when it became acute, but he had been dealing with some level of pain in his neck for at least a year and I failed to notice it. Each time I thought it was a sore tooth or sore gums even though examination of those parts revealed no reproducible issues. That moment of realization was one of the most humbling things I’ve ever experienced. And now telling you all about it might perhaps be another one of those humbling things.

Why am I telling you this? Perhaps to poke a little fun at myself. Partly to assuage my inner Catholic by confessing my sin. But mostly I’m sharing this as a cautionary tale. May you all profit from my folly. Ouchie!