Dandy and Bebe, Chase

During my 56 year life I have loved and lost many, many wonderful dog companions, from a little mutt named Kuji when I was a boy to the two wonderful rescued greyhounds I share my life with today.
These two greyhounds, Parker and Shady are not my first greyhounds. They are, in fact, my third and fourth. Greyhounds are such wonderful pets. Because of how they earn their living, people assume they are hyperkinetic and run all the time. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a breed, greyhounds are the sweetest and most laid back dogs you can have.
Our first greyhound was named Bebe. She was an older dog when we adopted her, and because she was older, she was not quickly adopted and had been in foster care for quite some time. We knew nothing about Bebe’s earlier life other than the fact that she was picked up by an over-the-road trucker in Fort Worth, who took her on a trip across the country and back and upon his return to Texas, contacted Greyhounds Unlimited in the Dallas area, telling them that a dog this sweet needed to have a forever home.
We had known other people who had been adopted by greyhounds and they told such wonderful stories that we, my 12 year old son Ben and I, decided to attend an adoption event. We looked at all the beautiful athletes available and had great difficulty choosing. When I kept going back to Bebe, Ben was a little apprehensive. “Dad, she’s so old” he said. “Yes,” I replied “but maybe Bebe needs us more than these younger dogs.”
Ben agreed and we brought Bebe home. From Day 1 she was the sweetest, gentlest animal you can imagine. She had the most soulful and loving eyes I have seen in a dog before or since.
After Bebe had lived with us a year or so, I decided that she needed a canine companion. We contacted Greyhounds Unlimited again and adopted Dandy.
Now, Dandy was much, much younger than Bebe. She came to us pretty much straight from the track, meaning that she had only known life as a racer.
However, she was instantly housebroken and proved to be a wonderful “tonic” for our aging Bebe. They were fast friends, and Dandy deferred to Bebe in almost every way.
However, and this is the crux of the story, there was one element of life at the Joneses that Bebe withstood, but that Dandy would have no part of. You see, there had been another addition to the family. In 1999, we were blessed with another son, Chase. At first we were concerned that these big, athletic dogs would be unintentionally rough with Chase, but this is how it played out.
Before Chase could even walk, he wanted to play with the dogs. He would crawl across the carpet to a sleeping Bebe and “explore” her every way he could. He would pull back her gums and stick his chubby little fingers in her mouth…he would pull back her eyelids to see if she was awake…her ears were subjected to probing fingers…Chase would even fall asleep on the floor using Bebe’s midsection as a pillow. And throughout this ordeal, Bebe never uttered so much as a sigh. She just took all that abuse and looked at me with those soulful eyes as if to say, “He is safe with me. I won’t let him hurt me, and I will never, ever hurt him.”
Dandy, on the other hand, would have absolutely none of it! When Chase crawled or even looked in Dandy’s direction, Dandy “hightailed it” to another part of the house or even out the dog door. Chase could not get within 10 feet of Dandy. Ever.
Bebe was, by this time, an old dog, and when the cancer came, all we could do was make her comfortable for as long as we could. And when she was clearly miserable in her pain, we made the heartbreaking decision to send her ahead of us across the Rainbow Bridge.
We lived next to a lake and Ben and I buried her under a big elm tree. We even took Dandy with us to the burial so that she might understand that her friend was gone.
Needless to say, the household, including Dandy, was heartbroken by the loss of our friend.
Then, about a week after burying Bebe, I walked into the living room and saw an incredible thing: Dandy was lying on the carpet and the toddler Chase was “exploring” her precisely the way he used to play with Bebe, pulling her ears, pulling back her gums to see her teeth…everything he used to do with Bebe.
Now, remember that this was anathema to Dandy just a week earlier…she literally ran from Chase. Yet, here she was, lying on her side, letting Chase do all the things he used to do to her old friend.
I guess Dandy simply realized that the mantle had been passed, and now that Bebe was gone, he had a job to do.
To this day, it remains the most incredible dog behavior I have ever witnessed.
I miss both Dandy and Bebe terribly to this day, but my life is full with Chase (now 9) and his two greyhounds.

Kevin from TX