Sunday, December 18, 2011


I've been a just little sad (understatement) this weekend when I log into blogger and am reminded of what happened with the Houston Pittie Pack. (If you haven't been over yet, please stop by and leave a few words and the chip-in account links can be found in yesterday's post) At the same time I am ridiculously proud of how quickly the blogging community shared the word, chipped in to help and that I am a small part of that community. I had fanciful thoughts on how Bloggville would be a great place to live and briefly wondered how could I buy a house there....

Anyway. I decided today that I needed to smile. And nothing gets me grinning more than watching greyhounds play. For you non-greyhound folks it may be common place to see your dogs play. Greyhounds are a bit different. First, most don't play for extended periods of time. A 5 minute romp with a toy is quite long. Second, most weren't taught to play with toys or they forgot how. When they come to live with you, watching them learn they can play with that squeaks is one of the greatest joys. At least, that is my experience.

Willow was my first greyhound and gothca' day was a wonderful day that changed my life. It was also unexpected. I had been up to the kennel and rather than just choosing a dog, going home and waiting for the paperwork and permissions to go through as I had expected, they sent her home with me. Woot! Greyhound in my car!

Oh, but wait. No dog beds, bowls, food, toys in the house! Yikes!

I stopped at the store on the way home, leaving my niece in the car with my new girl and explicit instructions to come up with a name for her. BBs Sassy, her racing name (abbreviated to Sassy for her kennel name), was just not going to work. 15 minutes later I was back in the car with everything a dog could ever want or need and my niece had come up with a name .

"I have a name." Proudly said.
"Oooo, what is it? Because I couldn't think of anything." Not so proudly said.
"Buffy." I was (still am) a huge Buffy fan and got my niece hooked as well. Heh heh heh.
"Mmmmm. I love it, it's on the right track, but I just can't call her Buffy."
"It's OK, I have a second choice." More proudly said. Always with a backup plan, that one. She paused. "Willow."
"Perfect!" I looked at Willow stretched out in the back of the car, at her very lean frame (she was at racing weight) and thought it couldn't be better.

When we had settled in at the house I couldn't wait for her to do all the dog things dogs do. Especially play with toys and fetch. (I know, I know, I was a bit green.) She was laying in the living room when I tossed the first squeaks at her. She barely raised an eyebrow as it sailed over her head to land unaccosted behind her.

Hmmmmm. She must not like that toy. (See 'green', just a few sentences above.)

I got up, grabbed a different toy, headed back to my spot, showed it to her and threw again. This time she raised her head enough to look from me to the toy and back to me like I was nuts.

Must not like that one either.

This time, I waved it in front of her face, furiously made it squeak and tossed it high in the air.

She didn't even blink.

OKaayyyy. Next toy, present, toss, fetch. Repeat. Nothing.

2 days later, through no lack of trying on my part, she would still have nothing to do with them.

Realization dawned. My girl didn't like playing with toys and she certainly wasn't going to fetch.

Annnndddd.... crushing disappointment.

I gave all the dog toys to my sister.

A few weeks later Willow went to my sister's house for an overnight. The shredded remains of her dog toys were a bafflement to her; until my sister's dog, Bailey, picked one up and ran around the house with it. The light slowly dawned. That's what those things are for! Not for the humans to play with. She came home with a carcass and a whole new appreciation for squeaks.

I went back to the store.

Playing with squeaks is now one of her favorite things to do, aside from eating snackies. When I get home she greets me at the door, then runs to the toy box, grabs a squeaks and promptly begins to play. She doesn't de-stuff them like some dogs, so I still have those very first squeaks in the toy box and she burrows down to pull them out every once in a while. Though it is infrequent, she likes the screaming monkeys best.

When Breeze and Dru came to live with us, Willow taught them to play with squeaks as well. It is fairly rare when Breeze plays. She has to be really comfortable to let down her guard and have fun. Today at playdate she picked up a toy and played for about 20 seconds. All humans stopped conversation and just watched, grins splitting faces.

Dru, on the other hand, loves to grab a squeaks and kill it. Her recent favorite is a Santa with a water bottle as the body. She is still having a bit of a hard time running with the pack, though it has been a year since the collisions. She is glued to my side most of the time we are at play date. So we stay until everyone else goes home so she can have an open field. I load Willow and Breeze in the car and get out the Santa toy. Dru spends the next 5 - 10 minutes playing and running circles by herself.

Here's a Dru toy playing montage from a few weeks ago. Hopefully, it will make you smile as it did me.

The end.


Angela J. said...

There is nothing like the day your greyhound plays for the first time; even if it's just for a minute.

GOOSE said...

The photos made me smile and bark.

What Remains Now said...

Now that's playing!

TexCyn said...

It does your heart good! Have you ever used or heard of a lunge whip? It's a horse thing to get the horses attention - they come with things like tassels or feathers on the end of them & they dogs really love them. It's fun for both dogs & people.

Sue said...

Love the photos.

Dru, I am not sure if Santa will bring you any pressies after what you did to the stuffie:)

Bassetmomma said...

Definitely made me smile. Willow is the perfect name for her!

Coco - The Princess said...

My sisters and i would like to send you my sincere gratitude for helping support the HPP.

Tail Wiggles & Puppy Kisses,
Your new Friends - Coco The Princess, Lady Godiva & Truffle too

houndstooth said...

Ha ha ha ha! Our first Greyhound, Treat, only had an interest in her Kong for five months. When we added our second Greyhound, Hawk, came with the instinct for playing with toys. He'd toss them and pounce, running around and shaking them. Treat finally figured out a use for toys. She loved the game of chase, and if she picked up a toy and ran with it, Hawk was sure to play! Other than that, she just had NO interest in them. The difference between the two of them still cracks me up!

Our Shepherds LOVE those bottle toys! Where on Earth did you find a Santa one?!

gyeong said...

We were lucky to have Parker, our beagle lab mix, before we got greyhounds. So he showed them the tricks of the trade. Including how to bark. They taught him out to roo.

Doris said...

Doris would love to join this game!

Suzanne said...

@TexCyn. We do have a lunge whip. I've tied a squeaks to the end. It is a huge favorite. The only thing is, that when I am operating it, I can't shoot photos. Haven't quite figured that out yet. :)