Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Bridge

I'm sure you are familiar with the old question “if one of your friends jumps off a bridge will you?”. Usually asked by a parent once a child has done something inconceivably stupid with one of their friends. At least that seemed to be the case when the question was posed to me. The implication being; not thinking for yourself will lead to an after school special being made about your spectacularly inept decisions all wrapped up with the Very Big Lesson to be learned by the end of the show.

While watching the dogs at their play date this past week, the image of my mother asking me this same question flashed through my mind while pondering the implications of the mud bath extravaganza. One dog took notice and the rest jumped with him. I thought of stopping the party before it got started, before the keg, pizza and wings were ordered, before even the phone calls were made and invitations sent out. I knew where it was going. But in the end, I was the enabler, in part because they were having such fun and part (selfishly) because I wanted the photos. Truth be told.

The beginning; so far it is just a speck of an idea; hmmm water + dirt = fun...

Ike, the light brindle, starts the party...

Ike, now the dark brindle...

Willow diving headlong off the bridge...

Dru jumping in after her...

Tandem jump...

Little respite...

Willow testing to see if she has reached the molten mantle yet...

KC enjoying the fruits of everyone else's labor...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Her First Photo Credit

Well, as promised…photos by my niece, Alexandra. The first is my favorite.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Soap, Suds and Wet Dog Smell

I spent a good portion of Sunday June 14th at the Arizona Greyhound Rescue (AGR) bi-annual fundraising dog wash – raising cash for the poochies, word has it almost $3,000 was raised. That’s a lot of dog washing. It was my job to capture the event on film (or disk as it were). My niece, who had spent the evening at my house for one of our movie nights, accompanied me. She was given her own camera and set loose on the dogs and owners. Though she brushed a cactus and ended spending most of the day picking cactus spines out of her shirt and skin (the tiny ones so that really sucked), was hot and bored after a few hours, still managed to captured a number of great images. Some of which I will post next time.

Since I was working I did not bring my 3 girls down to the event, though after the mud puddle rolling they did the day before, they could have used a wash. So anyway…I got to spend 4 hours hanging out with more dogs than I could count, it was heaven. There were mostly greyhounds, but a large number of other dogs were in the mix as well. It is weird to see so many dogs together and not hear any (or much) barking. So this post is here so I can put up a number of photos from the wash. That’s it. Not much else to say.

Friday, June 12, 2009


My foster dog, Lulu (a.k.a. Dru), has been with me one week today. When I met her for the first time 3 weeks ago at the AGR kennel I was shooting photos of the dogs available for adoption/foster. I try with all that I have not to go to the kennel. It is just a dangerous place for me. (You remember the Atari game Pitfall? I’m the little guy working to get out of the jungle and the dogs and leashes are the snakes and tarpits trying to suck me into their world.) Me at the kennel is akin to letting my niece loose in the mall with a no limit gift card; she’s coming home with something.

I had tagged along with Phyllis, a friend with a much stronger constitution than myself. She volunteers at the kennel twice a month and only has one greyhound. I am, so far, 5 for 6. That’s right: 5 dogs in 6 visits. Now to be fair...3 of the dogs have gone on to their adoptive homes, 1 is Willow, my adoptive hound, (I went out the first time with the intent of finding a dog) and lastly, Dru, is my current foster. Those tallies don’t include Breeze, my other adopted dog. She was a special case and we are going to talk about her quite a bit in later posts. She’s one of the primary reasons I’ve started this blog.

Anyway, I told Phyllis I was not allowed to foster or adopt another dog and that she could not transport one home in her car for me. Dru, was the second dog I met. Playful, loving, fantastic personality, all apparent in the 3 minute walk we took around the turn-out area. I mentioned to Phyllis I wanted to take Dru home, to which she responded appropriately…’No. You may not foster or adopt and I will not transport a dog home in my car today’. So we went home dogless but not photoless (see below).

I then continued to think about Dru for the following 2 weeks and last week when I learned she was still down at the kennel I requested to foster her. She has fit into the household amazingly well, though she has been a quite reserved; fairly typical as she gets used to new surroundings, new rules, new schedules and the freedom to roam a house.

Well this morning she burst out of her shell like the Alien out of the guy’s chest: unstoppable, looking for trouble, and all over the place. She led the other 2 dogs on a merry game of chase throughout the house and outside; creating a track beginning at the back bedroom door, proceeding outside around the perimeter of the yard, continuing in through the other back door, then traipsing through kitchen, dining, living, bedroom and outside again for full crazy dog sprints. She pulled most every toy out of the toy box and tossed them around, sliding on wood floors and pouncing on dog beds. She then found my shoes, socks, and anything eye level and below as her next victims; something she had yet to do.

Those of you with greyhounds won’t find this behavior all too unusual as you are accustomed to short bursts of activity from your hounds. This activity, however, went on for about 30 minutes and it was after the hour trip to the dog park and walking path. I spent a good portion of the morning watching her and laughing with her as she started to realized her new found freedom as a retiree.

Dru playing with her new squeaky toy

Note: I am no way affiliated with AGR (Arizona Greyhound Rescue) except as an occasional volunteer for events/fundraisers and as a photographer volunteer to do photos of the dogs.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The Cult of the Greyhound worshiped at the site of the grave of St. Guinefort, a 13th century greyhound whose gravesite was believed to have miraculous curing properties. The story goes something like this: Guinefort was left at home to watch over the Lord of the manor’s infant son while the Lord was out hunting. Upon his return, the Lord found the nursery in disarray, the baby gone and Guinefort covered in blood. Assuming the worst, the Lord killed the greyhound, only to find his infant son under the upset bassinette and the shredded remains of a snake nearby. Rather than killing the baby as the Lord had originally thought, the dog had protected the child from attack. Dismayed at the unwarranted death of such a loyal pet, the family put the hound's body in a well and covered it with rocks. They planted trees around the well, creating a shrine. When local townspeople heard the story of the noble greyhound that protected and saved the infant, they began coming to the site to pray for miracles to help heal their own children. Though not officially recognized by the Catholic Church, Guinefort became a saint to infants. The Cult of the Greyhound lasted through the 1930, to the consternation of the Catholic Church.

I’ve said on numerous occasions being a greyhound owner is sort of like being in a cult. A weird bond forms between greyhound owners, I guess due to the peculiarities of sharing your life with this spectacular breed. Imagine my surprise when I found out there really was a Cult of the Greyhound. I personally have not gone so far as to construct a shrine to my dogs and haven’t regaled them to saint status. Though, my Mom would argue that the whole house is a shrine just based on the number of dog beds covering the floors in each room and squeaky toy relics strewn about. I am thinking of looking up the requirements for sainthood.

The 3 princesses on their seats of power with relics in close proximity, just waiting for offerings; preferably snacky treat tributes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Step One

I woke up this morning early, as usual, for I am a slave to my dogs. It is important to walk the girls before temperatures rise to the point where, as they say, eggs will fry on the sidewalk. (though we tried that as kids and they really didn’t fry; however, they did cook a bit.) Anyway, back to the dogs…I have 3 greyhounds, 2 adopted and 1 foster, and they don’t like to do much in the heat of day but recline on their dog beds being cooled by fans and fed peeled, well they don't eat grapes, so doggie snacks. The typical day is up around 5 and down to the park early. Except this morning, we’re skipping the trip because my foster is limping. Since I’ve had her only 3 days, I feel it is best not to leave her home alone while I take the other two out. They ran yesterday and skipping a day today will produce only a small revolt, I’m guessing akin to the Boston Tea Party. They do love their morning outings.

So as I write this, my first blog post ever, after being greeted awake by the girls.

Breeze has jumped up on the bed with me and is sleeping with head draped across my legs.

Willow gave the drive-by acknowledgement and returned the living room and

Dru, the foster, has lifted her head enough to see me from her post at the foot of my bed where she has been most of the night.

All just waiting for me to get up and put on my tennis shoes so they can spring into action.

I am one in a large group of people who have found the joys in adopting a retired racing greyhound. That is what this blog is about….greyhounds. All about them, because I have come to realize it is all about the dogs; finding them homes, teaching them what a sliding glass door is and how to play with a squeaky toy, and all the joy, trials, laughter and love in between.

Until next time.