Our Dogs

I’d just like to tell some quick stories about our wonderful dogs, one who is no longer with us. Goblin was a Jack Russell terrier that lived through being poisoned by our neighbor when he was 2 and then survived a full month of being lost in rural Loudoun County when he was 6. He lived to be 17 years old, his last 18 months were spent in a doggy wheelchair as he lost the use of his legs, (most likely because he spent so much time jumping and spinning as a youth.) He never gave up trying – he was always “in charge” of our family as he kept us on his strict waking, eating, walking, playing, sleeping, playing, eating … you get the picture, schedule.
When Goblin was around 14 years old we rescued a Greyhound, a 75 lb. dog, that became instantly subservient to the 14 pound Jack Russell. The Greyhound – “Road Runner” – treated Goblin with the utmost respect and deference for the rest of the little dog’s life, even when Goblin clearly deserved to be put in his place. (He could be downright obnoxious).
After little Goblin departed this life for something we all know has to be better than life in a bed or a wheelchair, Runner, as we call him, found life to be exceedlingly pleasant. No more ridiculous barking, no more being “snapped” back from the door or from a tidbit on the floor. He could enter or exit any room at his leisure without being reprimanded or scolded by a miniature tyrant.
Life was good. Peaceful, serene: lazy walks with the humans, an occasional skunk chase or cat sighting. Nothing to raise the blood pressure or cause anxiety.
Then came the “New Additions”. Of all things (what were the humans thinking?!?) a pair of Jack Russell puppies!! The names given to the two 8 week old girls tell it all: Daffy Duck and Wylie Coyote (in keeping with the Looney Tunes theme). Now the peace and tranquility that Runner had been enjoying for 9 short months had been shattered by two whirling dervishes disguised as dogs. They’re up, they’re down, they’re in, they’re out; they’re above, below and in between. The accepted rules seem to make little difference, nor do they ever seem to apply.
The only upside is that despite the chaotic atmosphere, Runner at last enjoys ultimate seniority and control in this doggy relationship. While the puppies continue to keep the humans hopping, he can enjoy relative peace in his bed of choice, with a few bombardment-like interruptions which he tolerates for a few minutes before absolutely shutting down with a terrifying lion-like roar, a show of terrifying fangs and a snap or two, for effect. Miraculously, no blood has been spilled, and except for the occasional squeak of terror, the puppies remain unscathed and at least temporarily contrite.
When we decided to take 2 puppies (the original plan was of course to take one), we said “how hard can it be?” Well, now that we have our answer, it’s too late to turn back, and after 3 very short months of mayhem, chewed floors, furniture and anything else they can get a hold of, we can’t imagine having done anything differently. I actually think Runner can’t imagine it either, although that’s probably wishful thinking. In any case, so far it’s a happy ending, and I say how empty would our lives be without dogs?
PS Rescue Greyhounds are absolutely wonderful dogs – they are extremely well trained and while they are shy at first, a Greyhound will bloom into a loyal and loving friend. Their lives as racing dogs are full of anxiety and abuse, and so when they discover there is life beyond the track, they are nothing but grateful, patient animals. I highly recommend looking into Greyhound Rescue – the people involved in the effort are skilled at matching families/people with exactly the right dog. Greyhounds do not need lots of space to run around – they are not overly active by nature – what they really want is a soft cushion and a sliver of sunshine to lie in and they are perfectly content. They are happy to share their space with other pets.
The fate of the unadopted Greyhound is certain death – they are typically only raced for 3 or 4 years and then discarded. It is tragic and horrible that these magnificent dogs are so exploited and underappreciated. If you are thinking about adding a dog to your family, please consider a Greyhound.

Judi from VA