Wordless Wednesday-Happy Holidays!

Blue and Bettina wish you Happy Holidays!


Is It...(Gulp)...NEW?

Blue greyhound and the pillow
Pillow has reached "yesterday's news" status.
When Mumma throws this away, Blue will
hold it against me.
We have an odd dynamic in our house with respect to “new” things.  A new thing is defined as anything that has not existed in the house or car since the beginning of greyhound time.   When we’re out and about, it is apparently expected that we will frequently encounter new things and thus, in that context it is OK.  If it happens in the safe zone (house or car) luckily for us there seems to be an established protocol for dealing with such horrors.

When a new thing arrives in the safe zone, let’s say for example, a dog bed, it is an object of great concern.  One might get close enough to it for a quick sniff and then remove oneself to a safe distance to ponder the smell.  If passing by said new object, one gives it a wide berth.  You never know if the new object might reach out and bite you.  Better safe than sorry as the old adage goes.

After a period of time observing the new thing and with careful consultation amongst the canine residents of the safe zone, someone is elected to investigate more closely.  The electee then gets a little closer to the new thing, and, in the case of our example dog bed, would step on it and jump right back off.  Electee reports back to group as a whole. 

Crandall greyhound as TSA agent
TSA (Crandall), an inherent cowboy.
Sometimes a canine goes cowboy and without consultation or election, throws themselves on the hand grenade and gives the new thing a thorough going over.  The cowboy might actually lie down on our example bed and finding it comfortable and to their liking, may even opt to remain on the bed.

Assuming the electee is not eaten, then the rest of the group will consider it safe enough to also investigate the new thing more thoroughly.  After this, the new thing experiences a metamorphosis from scary new object, to coveted object.  There follows a running battle to be the one who gets to use the new thing.  With our example dog bed, that means a free for all to be the one to lie on the new bed.

There are, as always, exceptions to any rule.  Some dogs are inherent cowboys.  Grammy’s hound Crandall is this sort.  He never met a new thing he didn’t want to stick his head in and see what’s going on.  We call him TSA because he insists on inspecting every bag he ever encounters.

Some dogs are Rain Men.  For them it’s always boxers and not briefs.  Nothing new is acceptable.  If you bring in a new thing, it remains suspect for all time.  Grammy’s hound Fox, and to some extent Blue are examples of this. 

After a period of time (the length of which is a complete mystery to Mumma), the new thing goes from coveted object, to yesterday’s news.  Then no one really cares about it and if someone happens to use it, no one gives it a passing thought.  That is until you remove it and replace it with something else new.  Then it becomes enshrined in memory as that shining golden, most favoritist thing that Mumma took away, ruining lives in the process.  


My Best Boy






Happy 10th Birthday My Best Boy


The Politics of Marrow Bones

Don’t let anyone tell you that dogs cannot tell time or that they do not know what day of the week it is.  In our house, Thursdays are marrow bone days.  Generally marrow bones are dispensed at 10:30a.  Marrow bone day is the highlight of Bettina’s week.  She dances around the house on Thursday mornings and every time I make a move to get up from my desk she scrambles to ensure she is right at my side.  Most often she is disappointed because I am going to the bathroom or the kitchen to get a drink of water.  Other days of the week, she may accompany me when I get up, but not with the same stalker élan. 

When the marrow bones are finally handed out, the kids take their places in the living room.  Bettina is always to my right, facing the rear of the house and Blue is always to my left facing the front of the house.  Blue gets his bone first since he has seniority.  The bones come straight from our freezer so the kids spend the first 10 minutes or so gingerly licking at them and trying to avoid freezing their tongues.  As the bones begin to thaw, they get down to work. 

Blue greyhound on marrow bone day
What marrow bone on the bed mumma?
At around the 15 minute mark, Blue picks up his bone and moves it further away from Bettina and faces away from her.  Then at the 20-25 minute mark, he determines that is not enough of a demilitarized zone for him and so brings the bone back to the office where I am.  He works on it for a little while lying on the rug back there.  Meanwhile Bettina has been steadily gnawing her bone in her original location.

When we hit the 30 minute mark, Blue figures he’s no longer on my radar and he moves with his bone from the rug to one of the beds in the office.  Mumma’s rule is that they don’t take the bones on the beds, but I pretend not to see Blue when he does this.  I figure at 70ish human years, he’s earned the right to a little comfort.

Shortly after that Bettina arrives on the scene having ravaged her marrow bone.  She begins her campaign of intimidation immediately.  She lies down on the rug making sure that some part of her is touching the bed that Blue has chosen.  Blue will counter this maneuver by turning himself on the bed so as not to be able to see her.  Bettina may move to the other bed and stare at him from there or, if possible, reposition herself so Blue
Bettina and Blue doing the marrow bone dance
Soooooo close.   I will try using The Force.
is facing her again. 

Blue takes his sweet time with his bone.  He enjoys gnawing on it slowly.  But he’s not very thorough.  Usually when he’s done, he’s left some bits on the inside and outside.  Bettina knows this and she makes sure to be his shadow until he leaves the bone.  Blue will chew on the bone for awhile as she stares him down.  Then he tucks the bone in between his front legs and lays down for a nap. 

This makes Bettina insane.  She won’t risk invading his space to the extent it would require to get in close enough to get that bone.  She stares at him for the next hour or so hoping to make him move with the power of her mind.  Blue takes a nice long nap at which point he may resume gnawing on his bone. 

Blue and Bettina-I can't see you
I don't see you.
Eventually he loses interest and gets up to do something else at which point Bettina, who has been coiled like a spring since she came back in the office, swoops in and grabs Blue’s abandoned bone.  There are days she’ll bring her bone back to the office and then also get Blue’s bone.  She’ll lay on her bed with both bones between her front legs and do her best to chew them both simultaneously while in a prone position. 

I have seen Bettina stay focused on Blue’s bone for more than an hour while Blue alternately gnawed and napped.  She eventually wears him down though and he moves out to the living room to avoid the everlasting hairy eyeball.  If, by chance, Bettina doesn’t bring her bone back to the office when she comes, Blue will appropriate it.  His heart isn’t in it though and he generally gives it a few pathetic gnaws and leaves it where he found it. 

By mid-day a détente has been reached.  Blue doesn’t touch either bone again and Bettina will occasionally throughout the week give one bone or the other a love chomp.  Come the next Thursday, new battle lines are drawn and negotiations begin anew.


Break Out Your Best Sweatpants Folks It's Thanksgiving!

Ah Thanksgiving.  We’ll all be busting out our best pair of sweat pants and stuffing our faces.  We have dinner with Grammy and there is always some turkey (this year ground turkey burgers) for the four legged kids.  It’s also a tradition for us to watch the National Kennel Club Dog Show.  We hope you enjoy the day doing the things you like best with the people and furry kids you like best.

Since it’s also a time of year to reflect and be thankful for the many good things in our lives, here are some of the things I am most thankful for:

Bettina greyhound knows how to use a bed
I am thankful to wake up each morning with Bettina’s head on the pillow next to mine and her nose firmly wedged under my neck.

I am thankful that the strange bump on Blue’s inner thigh did not turn out to be what I feared it might be.

I am thankful that my soon to be 10 year old boy is in good health.

I am thankful that my washing machine works so I can wash all the house coats that Blue has accidentally peed on this fall when he was aiming for something else.

I am thankful that Bettina has only managed to put 1 hole in the LL Bean bed in the office despite her constant assault on it with teeth and nails.

I am thankful that Blue has started letting me sleep in an extra 30 minutes on the weekends.

I am thankful that we have not added too many scars to Bettina’s paper thin skin this year.

I am thankful that it has been so long since someone peed inside I can’t even remember when that was.

I am thankful that I can give the kids a good quality food, treats, marrow bones and other goodies.
Blue greyhound in his man cave

I am thankful that Bettina is sassy and full of it.

I am thankful that Blue never met a stranger and charms everyone who ever meets him.

I am thankful for a job that is so incredibly pet friendly.

We are all thankful for Camp Grammy’s!

I am thankful that I had Girly Girl in my life, even if for a short while.

We are all thankful for finding a wonderful vet (Yay Dr. Amy) at the Topsham Veterinary Wellness Center (so close to home!).

We are also all thankful for the fact that you guys take the time to read our stories and are so wonderful, amusing and supportive with your comments.

So Happy Thanksgiving from Mumma, Blue and Bettina!


What Goes On Behind the Brown Door…

We got a call a couple Sunday evenings ago asking if Bettina could come and donate some blood.  The Emergency Vet sounded a little desperate for someone to bleed into a bag for them so I figured why not.  I fed the kids dinner, settled Blue into his crate, turned on the webcam and headed out with Bettina in tow.

We got to the emergency vets and the parking lot was full up.  That is a bad sign with respect to getting in and out in a timely manner.  I squeezed into the last parking space available and we went in.  All of their exam rooms were full up and there were a couple people waiting out in the lobby on the hard wooden bench for their turn to be seen.  While we were there 3 more people came in. 

Bettina Greyhound is stoned
So stoned she forgot she had a biscuit
in her mouth.
We took our place on the bench from hell.  It was about 45 minutes before they took Bettina in.  The vet tech told me they were going to type and cross match her.  They typically do this just before they take her blood so I handed her over and considered myself lucky that we only had to wait 45 minutes considering the queue of injured pets to be seen.

After I had sat out in the lobby for about an hour I started hearing a moaning howl followed by some indignant whining.  I would know Bettina’s voice anywhere.  I asked the front desk lady if that were Bettina making all that noise and she told me it wasn’t.  As I sat there, the noise continued and got louder.  The howls got more strident and more frequent.  I looked at the lady at the front desk and she went out back to check.  She came back out with a sheepish look on her face and said she had been mistaken, that it was indeed Bettina. 

Bettina doesn’t love getting sedated but I had never heard her complain so much about a blood donation.  As I sat there and listened to her heart breaking howls I began to imagine all sorts of terrible things going wrong with this donation.  I started to feel like a terrible mumma handing over my sweet baby to undergo what sounded like 8th circle of hell type torture.  I kept looking at the lady at the front desk.  She was smiling weakly at me.

I began weighing the pros and cons of blood donation and considering whether the good deed was worth the pain that Bettina seemed to be going through.  Why would I voluntarily force my poor dog to do this.  She didn’t really have a choice.  I was mentally preparing what I would say to the blood donation coordinator on Monday when I called her to let her know I just couldn’t put my dog through that again.

In the meantime, Bettina was howling and whining louder and louder.  I reached a point where I was considering just going in there, putting a stop to whatever they were doing and taking her out of there immediately.  Each howl was stabbing at my heart.  I felt terrible.  My eyes started to tear up until finally I looked at the lady at the front desk and said, “I think it would help if I went back there and sat with her.” 
Bettina Greyhound and her pressure bandage
Stoned or not, Bettina never met a biscuit she didn't like

I was determined to get her through this and we would never go back again.  The lady at the front desk went out back and she was gone for a bit.  This made me even more nervous.  I was debating just busting through the door to the back room and liberating my hound super-hero style.  Just as I was preparing to get up from the bench, out came the lady.  “Oh they’re going to start the blood donation now, she should be done in 30 minutes.”

Miss Thing had not been crying because she was in pain, or had discomfort during her donation.  She was not being tortured under sedation.  She was raising a god awful ruckus because they had needed to put her in one of the kennels in the very back while they handled the rush.  She was very indignant at having been left by herself in a crate.  And she was telling us ALL about it.  A few minutes after the front desk lady told me her donation was about to begin, her highness shut her pie hole and was silent for the rest of the donation.

In about 30 minutes they brought her out to me, a little woozy and sporting a lovely pressure bandage around her neck.  The vet told me that they actually had a patient in house who was getting a Bettina transfusion at that moment.  That was the first time we’d actually been there on site when her blood was needed.  I sheepishly took her leash in hand, wished the transfused pup a speedy recovery and told them we’d see them next time.


Five Little Known Facts About Greyhounds

In the interests of public education I thought I would share with you some little known facts about greyhounds. 

Fact 1:  Greyhounds have no stomachs.  Yes it’s true.  Greyhounds have black holes where stomachs would be on ordinary dogs.  Don’t believe me?  Feed a greyhound until it’s full.  It will never happen.  It also explains why most greyhounds simply open their mouths and their food disappears.  I assume that the event horizon beyond which there is no turning back from the massive gravity of a black hole is right at the end of
Girly Girl Greyhound
Sometimes, if you catch the light just right, you can see and photograph
the black hole as seen here with Girly Girl.  Luckily, I did manage to avoid
the even horizon.
their tongues. (That’s a bonus fact for you.)

Fact 2: All greyhounds carry some human genetic material.  Again, totally true.  It is believed that somewhere in the distant past, greyhound DNA somehow mixed with the DNA of the Van Winkle family.  This family was made famous by one of its patriarchs, Rip Van Winkle known to have slept for decades straight.  This trait was passed down to his progeny and also became a key characteristic of the breed we know and love today. 

Fact 3: Greyhounds are responsible for the marketing phenomena known as “product placement” in modern TV, Film and Literature.  Greyhounds were the first to organize a great lobbying and marketing firm with eventual success in placing the greyhound name in the most popular book of all time, the Bible.  They created a stir when they were able to lock down the only canine mention in the whole book.  You’ll see Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Dre’s Beats Speakers or Audi’s in the movies but greyhounds did it first and they did it best.  

Subsequently they scored a second coup when in the early 80’s they rallied one of the largest nations on the planet to their cause and became the most well known breed with its own rescue organization surpassing all other breed rescues with respect to public relations savvy. (Oh boy, another bonus fact!)

Fact 4: Greyhounds have an innate ability for macramé.  Put any greyhound at the end of a reasonably long string (such as a leash) and he or she will automatically begin weaving that string into a lovely piece of macramé.  If two or more greyhounds are together they will braid and knot their strings into complex creations.  If it is a single greyhound they will incorporate items from their environment into their designs such as your legs, sign poles, trees, bushes etc. 
Greyhounds Begin a Macrame Project
Here is a good example of greyhounds Lady Flame, Jester, Blue and Skye
in the beginning stages of their creative macrame process

Fact 5: Greyhounds have near-complete command of The Force.  With little more than a look greyhounds can move most animate objects and bend them to their will.  Want to go out?  Want a treat?  Want a walk or a ride?  They use The Force and humans are powerless to resist.  Use of The Force has been handed down through the ages from mother to litter.  There isn’t a greyhound that ever existed who didn’t work his or her way into a soft cushy place, good food, fancy collars, painted masterpieces and all the luxuries they could imagine through use of The Force.  Wonder why greyhounds have been the breed of nobility?  Wonder no more.  The fact that greyhounds even know what The Force is could be an indicator of interstellar origins for this breed.  Did the first greyhound arrive on a meteor?  Maybe!


It Might Just Be You...

Mumma was reading another in a long string of articles about the curse of the color black in canine rescue.  It all boils down to this: if you’re a larger dog and your coat color is black, you’re just about doomed.  If you’re a smaller dog and your coat color is black, you are slightly less doomed than the larger dog, but still pretty doomed. 

It’s insidious and probably goes back to our earliest superstitions.  Black has always been associated with bad things.  Witches, devils, darkness, evil, the bad guy in the Western movies.  Black animals have been considered familiars for all the nasty things that go bump in the night.  We laugh about it but way deep down it has a hold on us.  All the black dogs and cats waiting for adoption in the shelters can attest to this.

I’m sure you’re shaking your head, no that’s not me.  I am fine with black dogs and cats.  But ask yourself this, have you ever owned a black animal?  The majority of us will have to answer no.  It’s not that you go to the shelter or the breeder or wherever and say, I hate black dogs, I’m not going to adopt one (though some
My Bettina Bat Girl Black Dog Greyhound
may actually say this to themselves).  You go to the shelter and the light colored dogs all look prettier than the black dogs.  They look friendlier or friskier.  We’re predisposed to overlook the black dogs without even realizing it.

There are people out there who are doing everything they can to find homes for the chromatically challenged.  One lady has started a website called Black Pearl Dogs.  It highlights all that is amazing and good about these dogs.  Trying to cut through the clutter of brain stem evolution and maybe get you to consider the great dogs underneath that coat color.  Please check this website out and share it with your friends.

Next time you’re at the shelter please stop and take some time with a black coated dog.  Even if he doesn’t seem as “pretty” as the other dogs.  You’ll find out that they’re all as special and unique, as lively, frisky, loving and snuggly as all the other dogs.  And they’re more in need than the other dogs since they are more likely to be euthanized or languish for years in the shelter system without your help.  We can attest first hand that life with a chromatically challenged dog is wonderful.  We know from our experiences with our own Bat Girl.  Besides that, black goes with everything and everything looks good on a black dog. 

Happy Halloween!  


In Celebration of Our GG

This year Grammy asked me if she could also write a post in honor of Girly Girl.   And really who better than the Grammy she loved only slightly less than she loved me to share with you all the best parts of Girly Girl.

Girly Girl left us far too early but in her short tenure with us she taught us so much.  She was sent to my daughter to show her there is indeed unconditional love; also that everyone makes mistakes, even if done out of love.  She showed her how to enjoy the moment, look at the world from two feet off the ground.  How to enjoy what you have instead of what you want and how what you want is not always what you need. 

Not all lessons were learned in total but they opened the door.  How ‘regret’ and ‘guilt’ are tremendous wastes of energy with little return value.

How exterior appearances mean little when it comes to true love and the small can be mighty.
Blue, Grammy and Girly Girl
One of Mumma's favorite photos of all time.  Blue, Grammy and Girly Girl

Her eyes were chocolate and simmering with warmth, and melted the hardest heart.  But she didn’t give her love out lightly.  She was particular and only knew two depths of affection; the deepest love and respectful indifference.

She taught us what true strength was.  The quiet, determined, accepting strength  that is so hard to acquire.  She would have continued to live on if given the option, blood coming from her nose, pain racking her body, she would have lived on.  But the final lesson was the toughest ~ to know when to let go.

Sleep softly our darling princess.

~ Her Grammy


Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

Three years.  Three years today since Girly Girl tore open the heart I had given her to hold for me.  I had plans to try and write something this year that was more upbeat and focused more on the gifts she gave me instead of the intense grief that I still feel even now.  But unfortunately for us all, 3 years does not seem to have been enough time to form a scab or scar tissue.  It’s still way too raw. 

Instead I will leave you with a poem that has always made me think of my girl and the first line of which inspired one of her nicknames:
The Tiger
by William Blake

TIGER, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,

And water'd heaven with their tears,

Did He smile His work to see?

Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

My tiger tiger burning bright

I miss you tiger.



It is Bettina Greyhounds 5th Birthday Today
Today is Bettina's 5th Birthday

Blue and Bettina get birthday treats
I'll take mine rare please

Blue Greyhound Nose Licking Good
Nose licking good!

Bettina Greyhound What Hat?

Blue and Bettina Greyhound on Bettina's 5th Birthday
Thanks for the marrow bone, I mean presents Mumma!


Why It’s a Bad Idea to Keep a 15 Year Old ‘Cat Mat’

Blue, Bettina and I attended a canine event in Gardiner, Maine.  It’s an annual event and typically we man the Maine Greyhound Placement Service booth but this year we decided to attend as part of the general public.  We met our friends Billy, Shannon, Trouble and Sugaree and spent the morning wandering around, meeting, greeting, visiting and chatting with all the dog folks out and about.

The scene of the Cat Mat crime
Looks perfectly harmless, right?
As we worked our way towards the exit of the park, we came upon a booth for a mobile veterinarian.  This group is there every year.  We stopped to chat with the vet manning the table.  It wasn’t long before both the vet and I noticed Bettina.  While Blue was people and dog watching, Bettina was laser focused on the vet’s table.  She was trying to work her way around a big box on the ground at the end of the table to get closer.  Despite dogs and people swirling all around her, she seemed oblivious to this bounty.

The vet had some papers and some information about canine weight loss on the table.  Bettina was desperate to get to the other side of this table and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why.  Soon she was barking her fool head off.  I thought at first, she was barking at the vet.  But she was not.  After several rounds of barking she tried to jump up on the table.  I pulled her back several times and scolded her.  She was not dissuaded.

The human vet and the human mumma are most definitely not sight hounds.  So we can be forgiven for the fact that it wasn’t until her second or third attempt to gain the summit of the table that we figured out what was so important to her.  I had not noticed it before, but the vet had 3-4 pieces of fur sitting at the back of the table.  They looked like cat hides and at first I was a little horrified thinking he had skinned some cats and saved their skins.  

It wasn’t as gruesome as that but nearly so.  In fact, they were ‘cat mats.’  This is a term I had never heard of before but apparently if a long haired cat goes un-groomed and gets too matted, the only solution is to shave the poor thing down.  What gets shaved off is a cat rug the size of the feline in question. 

I felt a little sad for any cats that ended up in this condition.  On the table was evidence of at least 4 cats who had ended up that way.  What was puzzling to me, however, is why anyone would want to save such a thing.  Maybe you save ONE as a cautionary tale to other cat owners.  But saving four of them?  That’s a collection.  That indicates a hobby.  These ‘cat mats’ weren’t in the shape of the Virgin Mary or anything.  There wasn’t anything special about them that I could see.

It went from strange to truly bizarre when the vet informed me that at least one of them was 15 years old.
Bettina, just before "the incident"
  Someone saved a giant mat of cat fur for more than a decade!  As I was pondering this, the vet took the rattiest of the four mats and held it out at Bettina level. 

Ole Lightning Fussypants did not look a crazy gift vet in the mouth.  She grabbed that nasty piece of fur so quickly that neither the vet nor I actually saw it happen.  The next thing we knew, she was shaking that ancient cat hair for all she was worth.  It must have smelled very cattish because she seemed convinced it could and should be killed.

I did have to agree with her on that one point, it should have been killed.  But the vet was of another opinion.  He started yelling that I should not let her rip it and other things I wasn’t paying attention to as I wrestled Bettina for her prize.  She was so in the cat killing zone that she just chomped on that fur fast and hard, paying no attention to my fingers that had been jammed into her mouth in an effort to pry her jaws open. 

I was eventually successful in prying open her mouth and grabbing the soggy, nasty old cat fur back, but not before she flattened several fingers between her molars.  I threw the thing back at the vet and he spent a little time petting and primping it before he replaced it with the other three. 

He gave me a wry smile and said, “Huh.  She’s high prey.” 

I took a moment to formulate my response as I massaged some blood back into my crushed fingers.  I decided that the response that would get me in the least amount of trouble was, “Yes.  Yes she is.” 

“I guess I shouldn’t have held that out for her to sniff.” 

Again I took a moment to mentally edit my response in the interests of politeness.  “No.  No you shouldn’t have.”


UMOs in Area K9 (Long Live Science)

Here at YIKMDLF we just LOOOOOOOVE scientists.  It never ceases to amaze us about what sorts of studies get conducted.  We’d dearly like to know who funds most of these studies and get their phone number.  We have a few studies of our own we’d like to conduct.

The latest piece of mind-boggling research that we discovered involves looking at how dogs react to an unidentified moving object.  Sounds vaguely scientific right?  This study took some dogs and put them together in a room with a remote controlled car.  To make it more scientific they set up two different scenarios.  One where the remote controlled car was unaltered and another where the remote controlled car had eyes drawn on to the windshield.  Why would they put eyes on the remote controlled car?  The car without eyes was called the mechanical unidentified moving object (UMO) and the car with the eyes was called the social unidentified moving object (UMO). 

Honestly we think this study shows us far more about the inner workings of the scientists but, being humble civilians without any big funding behind us, who are we to say?  The scientists brought the dogs in the room and drove the cars around in a fixed pattern, or interactively based on what the dog did.  The earth shattering results of this brilliant use of tax payer dollars?  The dogs looked at the social UMO more than the mechanical UMO.  And the conclusion?  Dogs probably watched the cars because they were novel.  Oh yeah, and because they were moving.

Blue greyhound stares down his prey
Blue prefers his objects stationary.
We are not scientific Luddites, but here is another example of something that any dog owner could have filled them in on had we only been asked.  Then they could have spent all those scientific dollars on researching a cure for osteosarcoma say.  

This experiment conducted in our living room would result as follows:

Bettina sees the car and finds it fascinating because it is moving.  She proceeds forward  to investigate it but the second it turns towards her, she starts scrabbling backwards to get away from it.  The car and Bettina then engage in a dance of approach and retreat until Bettina figures out from a distance that it can’t be eaten and loses interest.  The addition of a pair of eyes to the windshield of the UMO would not affect the outcome.

Blue sees the car and immediately becomes wary.  When it begins to move, he moves on to downright scared.  He begins leaning hard into the nearest human hoping for protection.  If the car makes any move whatsoever in his direction, he panics and blindly runs in a direction that is away from the car.  This continues until someone takes pity on the poor beast and lets him out of the room.  The addition of a pair of eyes to the windshield of the UMO in this instance serve to increase Blue’s horror level.  

Our conclusion drawn from this thought experiment?  That pet owners need to form a coalition.  We’ll make it easy for the scientists to find us.  They deposit their research dollars into our account to be distributed to various good canine causes of our choosing, and we tell them the results from our real life experience for any experiment they can dream up.  No animals harmed (physically or psychologically), no scientists harmed (physically or psychologically) and maybe a cure for canine cancer.


To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

It’s no news flash that dogs dream.  Greyhounds most certainly do.  Given the similarity in all racing greyhounds’ upbringing and track experience, it’s not surprising that the nature of their dreams is also similar in many ways.  Blue has always been a prolific dreamer.  I have written before about his racing dreams.  When he first came to live with me, he had racing dreams once or twice a day.  Now in his dotage his racing dreams have slowed down a bit.  But I always know when he’s heard the call to post because he starts dream wagging his tail and then he’s running for all he’s worth, breathing like a true champion athlete.  The pace of the run slows and then stops.  I know if he won the race (or at least enjoyed it) by whether or not his tail wags at the end. 

Blue greyhound-who me?
Blue has several other types of dreams in his repertoire.  I have named them based on observation, so scientists and haters of anthropomorphism don’t flame me.  He has barking dreams, growling dreams and The Wolf Howl Dream. 

Blue’s barking dreams, as best I can tell, are happy affairs.  In consciousness, Blue rarely makes much noise.  He can be incited to roo on occasion.  He has taken to whining since Bettina joined us and showed him how much fun that can be.  And I have watched him bark his fool head off at a greyhound race he was not taking part in and at a few lure coursing and straight racing events. 

But in his dreams, Blue barks up a veritable storm. He takes in a huge breath of air and then barks with his mouth closed.  It’s almost the sound equivalent of skipping rocks.  The first bark is the loudest followed by a series of 3-4 more barks which get consistently smaller and lower in volume.  He can sleep bark for a dogs age.  Sometimes it degenerates into Blue blowing air out his mouth and flapping his jowly cheeks.  It's like when your shades roll up unexpectedly.  Often it is accompanied with some tail wagging. 

His growling dreams are far more sinister.  My peace loving, never hurt a fly, goofy big lug becomes something terribly fierce and scary to behold.  In these dreams, he starts by growling with a closed mouth but it isn’t long before he progresses to snarling, showing all his teeth and gnashing them.  His growls rumble out of him from deep inside.  My sweet loving boy becomes a vicious wild beast.  I wonder at such times whether this is just the opportunity to step outside his normal self and get his ferocious on or whether he’s facing some horrendous thing in his dream and is trying to protect himself.  Grammy tells me this dream should be considered proof that he once growled at her.  I remain a skeptic.

Blue greyhound-I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about!
Blue’s last dream is the one that chills my blood though.  I have named this one The Wolf Howl Dream (and yes, it gets capital letters).  But for a few eye and ear movements, you probably wouldn’t even know he was dreaming this one.  At the end though, he lets out a long, low howl.  It is so mournful and evokes such feelings of loss and sadness that your heart breaks just hearing it.  Instantly visions of a lone wolf in deep snowy backwoods country come to mind.  It has always made me think of death and thus, I don’t like it.  What scares me most is that this dream was extremely rare when he was younger.  Maybe once or twice a year.  In the last year, its frequency has increased to monthly and in February, he had 2 such dreams. 

He always wakes himself up with that howl and he looks around bewildered.  I’m never sure if he’s bewildered to find himself back in our living room or if he’s bewildered by who/what made that noise.  Was my poor boy channeling the ancestral wolf in every dog?  Was he facing a vision of his own demise that seems to be getting closer and closer?  Or was he mourning the loss of something very dear to him?  Something that seems to haunt him more as he grows older.  Mumma will never really know.  With each Wolf Howl Dream I make sure he is fully awake and I rush to comfort him which is really more mumma trying to comfort herself and shake off the specter of my silly boy grown old too soon.


Is It Insanity or Is It a Date?

A dream is a psychosis, with all the absurdities, delusions and illusions of a psychosis
                                                                                                        ~Sigmund Freud

We have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions
                                                                                                              ~Carl Jung

A dream that is not interpreted is like a letter that is unread

I had a dream not too long ago.  It involved Girly Girl.  My dreams involving Girly Girl have a different quality from my normal dreams and I can count the number of them since her passing on one hand.  I am of the firm belief that these are infrequent visits from my sweet girl.  Some of you may roll your eyes and I’m OK with that. 

Girly Girl usually stops in to say hi, let me know she still loves me and that she misses me.  She doesn’t “say” this to me but when she was with me in the physical world, she once gave me a greeting that made it so incredibly clear that she loved me and missed me it became the gold standard.  It was after her cancer
Girly Girl and Blue Greyhound
diagnosis and close to her passing.  I had to travel for a week for work so she stayed with Grammy.  I think we both knew that time was short and any time away from each other was so painful.  When I went to pick her up after that trip, she nearly crawled into my skin in her attempts to get as close to me as possible.  Girly Girl, who wasn’t a licker, greeted me like an excited puppy trying to lick my face all over.  She stayed melded to me for some time. 

I’ve never had a greeting like that before and now I only receive it when she drops in on my dreams.   I think she knew how much that particular greeting meant to me so she uses it now to make sure I am clear on her message. 

This dream was different.  It was the first dream in which she did not pop in and give me our greeting and then pop back out.  Instead I was approached by a person who told me that Girly Girl had “come back.”  I didn’t know what that meant and I said that couldn’t be possible as she was dead.  The person insisted that she was back and I needed to come.  Since I would give a whole lot for that to actually be true, I went with this person. 

They brought me to a place where a small group of people were in the company of a spindly, petite white female greyhound with black ticking and larger brindle patches.  I told them that this was definitely not Girly Girl.  But the group kept insisting that this was Girly Girl.  I approached her and she was very spooky.  She did her best to avoid being touched.  The group helped hold her still and I checked her ear tattoo.  The birth date ear said 716A.  It was at this point I woke up.

Girly Girl and Blue Greyhound in the new Element
At first, I found the dream just odd.  As a few days passed I was sitting in my mother’s living room discussing the dream with her.  I replayed the dream and then out of nowhere I said to my mother, I think this might mean that Girly Girl is coming back and when she does, she’ll be in the guise of this new hound. 

If the tattoo is any indication, she will be born in July of 2016 so she was apparently giving me plenty of advanced warning.  I figure that the earliest she’ll be able to find her way to me will be in 2017 assuming she fails out of a life as a racing greyhound and goes straight into adoption.  Grammy thinks it’s possible that she’s timing the return to be just after Blue’s passing.   He will be 14 in 2017.

I know it sounds crazy.  And honestly I’m trying to convince her to stay put where she’s whole and pain free.  Coming back could expose her to any number of terrible experiences.  Her last go-round wasn’t particularly fabulous.  She broke her hock and it wasn’t treated.  Then she got only a few years in retirement with a new to greyhounds owner who needed a big lesson in patience.  Shortly thereafter she got cancer, had to go through an amputation only to finally succumb to ever growing tumors in her lungs.  Why she’d want to expose herself to that possibility again is beyond me.  I miss her like crazy but I can wait and meet her on that side if it means she runs free. 

So nut job?  Maybe.  Creating something I need to believe from a simple dream?  Also possible.   In this case, only time will tell.  Just to be safe I have Auntie Carol checking all the ear tattoos of the new arrivals that match my description.   I invite you all to check back in here in 2017 or 2018 to see how this story ends!


5 Sounds That Make My Dogs Come Running

In July I read a post on the blog My Brown Newfies with this title.  Boy if you own a greyhound and you're ever feeling annoyed by the amount of hair your hound sheds or how much space they take up, skip on over to this blog and read about two of the most lovable Newfies in the blogosphere and rejoice that your dogs don't eat as much as these guys do!  The post was very funny and started me thinking about the sounds that make my dogs come running.  At the end of the post she invited us to share so I thought, I will.  With all of you!

So here are the top 5 sounds that make my dogs come running to investigate (In no particular order):

1.  My Closet Door-They usually hear this sound in the morning and that is how they know for sure I have
Bettina greyhound enjoys the last atom of cottage cheese
finally stopped hitting snooze on the alarm clock, gotten out of bed and am preparing myself to face the day.  That also means that very shortly after the sound of the closet door, they will be getting breakfast.

2.  My Shower Curtain-I work at home.  So it isn’t always of paramount importance that I look pretty or smell nice.  Sometimes I don’t shower for a day or two if I’m feeling very lazy.  But I always shower before leaving the house.  Being the inveterate gamblers that Blue and Bettina are, they come running as soon as they hear the shower curtain open on the good chance it means I’ll be leaving the house.  I am under constant surveillance from that moment until they have finally determined that, yes I am leaving and I am taking them or no, I’m not leaving after all and I look pretty well ensconced on that couch.

3.  Keys-I would suspect this one is on everyone’s list.  For the obvious reason.

Blue the greyhound stares down his marrow bone
4.   Fridge Door-Also probably on everyone’s list.  For those same obvious reasons.  For my kids it could mean string cheese, or yogurt, or a marrow bone, or a frozen peanut butter bone, or ….

5.  The Child Gate Guarding the Entrance to the Basement-This can often times mean that I’m going downstairs to pick out one of their fancy collars, or some other accessory of torture in which to dress them up.  Why would they care about that?  Because the payoff for accepting this treatment is that we are going out and they are likely to see other people, other greyhounds, or both.  At the very least it means I have gone out of their sight and that is never acceptable.  They generally stand at the top of the stairs behind the gate and whine.  If I leave the gate unhooked, Bettina will stick her head through the gap and stare down into the abyss until it belches me back up.

My kids also get pretty excited about any visitor at the door, the noise the dump trucks make when they pass the house and any move I might make in the vicinity of their food bowls.  What makes your kids come running?