I did front line rescue work when I started Greyhound Gang. I took in greyhounds, no longer wanted by the racing industry. I pulled off ticks and fleas. I once counted 55 ticks on one dog. I bathed them. They got vaccinated, spayed or neutered, dentaled. Any other medical condition was taken care of. I housetrained them, and taught them acceptable behaviors for a pet. One of the ways I raised money to pay for the medical work, was to write about some of the dogs needed some special care. I called them Greyt Angels, and human angels sent a check monthly in return for pictures and stories. Blue was one of those hounds.
Blue has been with me since April 1998. He was rescued from a cage at Colorado State University where he was slated to be used as a practice surgery dog. His owner had given him to the University, after racing for 3 years. Blue had been one of the trainer’s favorites. His trainer had been lied to and told that he had been ‘petted’ out. I was a small piece of an underground railroad that got greyhounds, slated for terminal surgery out of CSU, and to me to adopt out to loving homes.
Blue was the first gray greyhound I’d ever seen. And he was oh-so-handsome. I wanted to have him around to look at, and to see if he would be a keeper for the Gang. My requirements for a personal dog are tough ones, though.
- The dog has to like to travel, as I do a lot of car traveling.
- The dog has to be friendly and an ambassador for greyhound adoption.
- The dog has to listen really really well, as there are times when I need my dogs to do what I say when I say it – off and on leash.
- The dog has to be very mild-mannered, and go with the flow as I have many things going on all the time
- The dog needs to get along with lots of other dogs, as I have many dogs coming through my property.
- Blue passed some of these needs, but not all of them.
Blue isn’t the best traveler in the car. Matter of fact in the beginning he’d really stress himself out, and get the big D whenever we traveled. He’s much better now, but he doesn’t like to lie down. He likes to have his head out the window and he talks far too much for the entire drive. He’d really rather get a treat and stay home, then go in the car.
Blue is very friendly, but he is a bit hyper for a greyhound. By hyper I mean: Blue will retrieve forever, just like a Lab. He likes nothing more than to have a toy in his mouth. When I come home I say ‘Blue, toy,’ as he gets really hyper when he sees me and a bit mouthy too. He runs over and picks up a toy, and then talks to me with the toy in this mouth. When I try to teach dogs to play with stuffed animals and toys, I have to lock Blue inside, because he will not let anyone else have a play toy. They are all his-all the time!
He is usually very busy. He goes in and out the dog door continually, actually preferring to be outside, especially for part of the night. He gets up whenever I get up, even a year and a half later.
He whines a lot. He is always talking to me about something. I find it endearing, but at times it can be annoying too.
When you pet Blue, he acts more like a regular dog than a greyhound. He grunts and groans, and moves into you, but with force, not gentleness. He’s the kind of dog a guy would like because you can manhandle him and he doesn’t mind, like most greyhounds.
Blue actually listens very well. He is very eager to please, and he is very attentive to people. He spent many years trying to please people, and I believe that translates into his desperate need to be loved. However, Blue is the epitome of the centuries of breeding to chase. Blue will chase until he dies. Blue will go after anything that moves-ANYTHING! Other breeds of dogs, cats, little dogs, cups, toys, birds-it moves and he goes after it.
Blue is not mild. He’s sweet, he’s loving, he’s mannered, but he’s not mild. See above.
Blue does get along very well with other greyhounds. He is not a dominant male. He lives for the chase, not to be in charge. You cannot trust Blue with a strange dog of another breed. Big, little, hairy, hairless-if it’s a new look, he needs to put his mouth on it.
So Blue is still here. Seeing all that goes on, and watching all the dogs come and go. Next month, I’ll recount some of Blue’s adventures with the Gang.
Blue always manages to crack me up. He is such a personality, but I swear he is part Lab.
Every time I come home from somewhere, he is there talking at me-barking, rooing, whining, wiggling. He also always greets me with something in his mouth. And he continues to talk while he has something in his mouth.
So here is this gorgeous big blue boy, with an orange football (his favorite-he’s such a boy) stuffed in his mouth, and he’s wiggling and wagging, and trying to talk at the same time. So you hear these low throaty, almost growly sounds from his throat. Just cracks me up-every time.
He loves to play with toys. He has such an oral fixation. Something always has to be in his mouth. I can’t play toys with other dogs because Blue has to have all the toys. He just can’t stand to see anyone else with a toy, and will push all other dogs out of the way to get to HIS toys. Cracks me up. I try to throw him a toy and then throw a toy fast for another dog, but Blue is there-getting them both.
I may have given you some of this history, but I’ll repeat myself. Blue was turned into CSU to be used as a terminal surgery patient for a few reasons. He was no longer making money winning races, because he had two dropped muscles. A dropped muscle can occur when a dog is raced too hard. Blue doesn’t do anything ‘soft.’ Blue can’t engage his hindquarters the way other dogs do because of the dropped muscles. When he runs-and run he still does-his back legs perform a sort of pump action. But he still can move out furiously. With him, it’s mind over matter.
In addition, he has some spinal damage to his neck, which has yet to manifest itself into something bad. But I’ve had 3 dogs die at nine with injuries from their track years, and my judgement is that Blue’s injuries will start to affect him more as the years go by.
I’ve brought him to the chiropractor for neck adjustments, and they really seem to help. Part of the problem is that he always has something in his mouth, and is always diving for a toy, and so wrenching his neck again. Additionally, Blue has a limp in his front right. We thought initially it was a shoulder, but we now believe it is an arthritic toe. Again, a toe that was dislocated and healed with more calcium deposits and so hurts him at times. Blue is on glucosamine and chondroitin and MSM and these help manage the pain. Other than amputation, which we feel is not an option at this time, Blue will live with this injury too.
To digress a bit
I test all my greyhounds off leash. I have an area that is somewhat secure, but unfenced. I tested Blue over a year ago, and he listened really well. Then he flushed a rabbit, and that was the end of him listening to me. From that point on, whenever we went for a walk the ONLY thing on his mind was rabbit. And it was just no fun, for him or me. So he has not been off leash now for over a year.
I was walking him, Beauty, Winslow, and Kaibab in my open area last month. Blue was on leash, the other 3 were not. Poor Blue. I had him on a harness, and he was straining at the end of two leashes. He just wanted to go. The other dogs were having so much fun, and I felt so bad.
So I put all the other dogs on leash, and I took Blue off. Within a minute he’d flushed a rabbit, within 10 seconds of flushing the rabbit, he’d started to scream. He’d hurt himself. I saw all this. I was only about 50 yards away, but nothing I was screaming was going to stop him. He kept screaming and running after the rabbit over a rise. The dogs and I ran after him. He was nowhere to be seen. We ran to my car about 1/4 mile away, screaming his name the whole time. I threw all the dogs in the car, and then I just started bushwhacking in four-wheel drive-yelling his name out the windows.
As minutes passed I became more and more upset, as I imagined him down somewhere, unable to get up and get to me. I also couldn’t understand why I couldn’t see him anywhere, as the terrain was pretty flat. But there was no movement anywhere. I drove around and around on top of sagebrush and stumps, and then I got stuck next to a ravine. As I turned the car around to get out of this predicament, there was Blue, limping on three legs toward the car, on the other side of the ravine. I jumped out and ran to him. He was breathing hard, and his back leg’s toes were all curled under. I immediately thought neurological damage and the tears well up. I pick up the 85-lb. boy and carry him to my car.
I get him in the back, though he refuses to lie down. And cries whenever we go over a bump and he has to put weight on his foot. I rush him to the vet’s house and wake up the vet at 8 am in the morning. He, too, is concerned about the turning of the toes, and tells me to take him to the clinic. They check out Blue, and the diagnosis is a fractured hock.
Blue is put in a cast for 6 weeks. I breathe a sigh of relief, as a broken hock is nowhere near as bad as neurological damage. So for 6 weeks, Blue has run around the yard chasing imaginary rabbits, and a couple of real ones, on three legs. Nothing stops Blue.
Today, 6 weeks later, the cast came off. It took over a half an hour to saw off the cast. Blue was a gentleman the whole time. The leg and hock areas were looking good, and then we got down to the foot. Whewee-it was putrid. The rubbing from the cast on his toes caused brown, wet, gooey stuff to cover his whole foot. In addition to the smell and the grossness of the brown stuff, there were two very red, bloody openings on the top of his two toes. We washed everything off, with assurances from the vet that all is not so bad. So daily we soak the foot, and try to get all the gunk off. He’s a big baby too. Did I tell you that? He will cry and cry over something, and then go running off like nothing is wrong. The toes are all swollen and look bad, but hopefully the anti-inflammatory and the antibiotics will help. Again, even this doesn’t stop Blue. I’ve wrapped the hock in lots of strips of a sheet, and then a big elastic bandage. This is so when he does do something stupid-like run fast, which he has already done, though currently he does it on three legs-there will be less chance that he will re-injure the hock.
And so Blue’s saga goes on. Running and chasing, and being True Blue.
Blue is the chase. He just can’t help himself. He has to be first, fastest and have all the toys. I can’t even play fetch with other dogs, unless I have one hand securely on Blue’s collar. Otherwise he totally intimidates the other dogs into giving him all the toys. No toys for anyone else. No fetch for anyone else. No chase for anyone else.
My Guard Dog
Blue’s personality continues to emerge. Just the other day he exhibited behavior I’ve never seen. A friend was walking down the driveway and Blue just started running at him, and barking ferociously. Loud and mean enough that I ran outside to see what was happening. I got there just in time to see my friend reach to pet Blue, and for Blue to take a nip at his jacket-and tear it! My friend looks at me in horror-‘he tried to bite me’, he screams at me. I grab Blue and yell at him, and Blue, now into his very sensitive mode, ducks and runs away from me, head down. No damage to my friend, but a small tear in the jacket. After we talked, and he left, I went to find Blue. He was on his dog bed, and when I approached he ducked his head, roved his eyes from side to side, and acted like I was going to hit him. I have never hit him, but obviously someone else had. I sat next to him, reassuring him that I still loved him, but tried to make him understand that his behavior was unacceptable. He really couldn’t explain to me why he acted that way. I thought that maybe because he has been here for over a year and a half, he thinks he needs to guard the place. Or that my friend reminded him of someone a long time ago. Very interesting piece of his personality.
My Lovey Dovey Boy
Blue has never really been that insistent about me loving on him. But with this injury, he has really started to ask for a lot of affection. I’ll be on the computer, and he’ll come and push his nose under my hand, and say, ‘Stop what you are doing and pet me.’ He really seems to be paying more attention to me now. He follows me around more lately, and when I’m watching TV he wants me to be petting him. He’s never slept in the bed with me in a year and a half, and he slept in my bed two nights in a row. And he is a big heavy boy, and he doesn’t move.
And his talking. I swear Blue is trying to speak English. He has the most amazing amount of growl sounds I have ever heard. They are deep in his throat, and almost melodious. And he can make this noise with his orange football in his mouth too. Nothing stops Blue from talking lately-a regular Chatty Cathy. Still can’t get him to put weight on that foot. We’ve done x-rays, and everything looks OK. So I just keep massaging and making him put weight on it-and hope all turns out OK. I don’t think Blue will be going anywhere fast. And that’s OK.
I think I like it here.
Blue is so, well… Blue.
Today I took him for a walk with the other dogs. He’s always in a harness when we walk, because he has to pull. And he has to be at the end of the leash, or leashes, as I usually tie two of them together. He always does this. There is no equivocation for Blue. He must try to always be in the lead, in the front. When he walks he never takes time to pee. He is too busy. Too busy looking for rabbits, or things that move in the day. This male dog never stops to lift his leg. He has dedicated himself to one thing and one thing only, the chase.
On the lookout
His hock is healed, but in Blue’s mind it still is not. He still hesitates to put down his back foot. When I say, ‘Blue, put your foot down,’ he will. He is a very obedient boy, and desperately wants to please me at all times.
So this walk goes like this:
‘Blue, put your foot down.’ ‘Good boy, Blue.’ ‘Blue, put your foot down.’ ‘Good boy, Blue.’ ‘Blue, please put your foot down.’ ‘Winslow, please come back here, that’s too far.’ ‘Put your foot down, Blue.’ ‘Good boy.’ ‘Beauty, you’re the best girl.’ ‘Winslow (in a much louder voice now), get back here, PLEASE.’
Does this sound like a fun walk, or what?
Blue loves to stretch
But Blue is definitely starting to feel like his old self. We played football forever yesterday. That orange, beat-up, plastic football is just his favorite. Maybe he’s some famous running back come back to this life as Blue. I can throw it, and he’s right on it. Over and over again. My arm is getting pretty amazing. Just another talent to add to the unique resume of mine.
It amazes me how sensitive he is though. In the car today, Buster took exception to Blue stepping on him. I couldn’t see any damage done to Blue, though he was howling. That evening, I realized that Blue was not in the living room with everyone else-a sure sign that something was upsetting him. Sure enough, there he was in my bedroom, sulking and feeling, well, Blue. He had a slight bruise on his side where Buster must have made contact without breaking the skin. When I went to touch it, Blue just started crying. At first, I was concerned, thinking something else must be the matter. But no, it is just a bruise, and Blue is feeling oh so sad.
It’s taken him almost 2.5 months to start to put weight on the foot. He has himself totally convinced he is a three-legged dog. And unless I’m there telling him it isn’t so, the back leg is up. He’ll put it down when walking really slowly, which is not the normal gait for Blue. But when he kicks in gear, he’s still doing it on three legs. Never without a toy…
Everyday, I pick up the good back leg, and force him to put weight on the broken hock one. There’s no physical pain with me doing this, just Blue’s psychic pain. And so my days with Blue go on, as I continually repeat my new mantra, ‘Blue, put the foot down. Good boy.’
I was away this weekend in Las Vegas doing greyhound stuff-like Meet & Greets, where I hope to find more adopters; like home visits where I cat tested Buster, not cat safe; like the GPA greyhound picnic, where I spent too much money and had tons of fun seeing all the beautiful rescued greyhounds. When I pulled in at 8 p.m. Sunday night, Blue was the most ecstatic I’d ever seen him. I think I mentioned that he grabs his orange football in his mouth when he sees me, and prances and growls his hello, and dances and shakes his head and body-and just acts all over goofy-saying with ever fiber of his being, ‘I am so glad that you are home.’
He then proceeded to stick right next to me and not leave my side all evening. He was right behind my chair when I was downloading my 75 emails. I didn’t even notice him there he was so quiet, but when I rolled back my chair, there he was-screaming because I’d rolled into him. I did mention what a big baby he is. He makes a very big deal over his hurts, he really is such a typical male.
‘Typical male’? Hrumph!
He followed me into the bathroom, into the kitchen, into the bedroom. And also made it very clear that he was sleeping in the bed with me tonight. Usually he could care less. He never sleeps in the bed, or really follows me this closely. I found this so endearing. I couldn’t really believe it. We all went for a walk this morning, and even Blue insisted on going. I put his harness on, and he jumped right up in the car, whining and moving, and generally making a pain of himself, as he refuses to just be cool and calm in the car. He has to be a basket case, that’s Blue.
The rest of the boys-Winslow, Buster, and Smiles-were all cruising around trying to scare up a rabbit. Blue was at the end of his leash, pulling me along, as we recited his mantra-‘Blue, put your foot down. Good boy. Blue, put your foot down.’ Luckily for me we didn’t flush any rabbits, and the walk was nearing the end, as the car was in sight. There were two big ravens in the field to our side. I said to Buster, ‘Buster, go get those crows. Pretend they’re rabbits. Go ahead, Buster, go get those crows, I know you want to run.’ And Buster took off after them, as then did Smiles and belatedly Winslow-who gave me a look saying, ‘Look what you did, you know he can’t catch them.’ Poor Blue was straining at the end of his leash, trying his damndest to go with the boys. I felt bad, but that’s what got him his broken hock last time, me feeling sorry for him.
It was something, though, to see those boys chasing those crows. Especially 8-year-old Buster, who cranked it up and ran like the he could catch them. The crows seemed to enjoy it too, as they let the dogs get close, and never really took off far or high. Just glided a bit above the ground, and then came around for more fun and games.
Walks, in the company of my greyhounds, are the best part of my day.
Blue appears to have had an epiphany. He is really acting attached to me. I think it’s because lately I’ve had to leave the house more, and he is realizing how much he likes having me around. He now sleeps in the computer room when I am on the computer. When I get up to go anywhere, he follows me, if not with his body, then with his eyes. He’s sleeping every night in the bedroom. Not on the bed, because Smiles and Buster have really taken that over, but on the dog bed, next to the bed. He even waits for me to stir in the mornings (instead of getting me up) before he’s doing his happy dance and wiggling and waggling and letting me know it is time to get up and get dressed and go out.
He still refuses to put his full weight on that foot. He really is a big baby. When I tell him to he will, but he won’t otherwise. He hops around-very fast-on three legs.
I think the dogs hid all my nail clippers. I have 4 sets and I can’t find one. I had to order more. At night when we’re watching TV, I see those nails, and I want my nail clippers, and I could swear they are all grinning about it.
Today I had wood delivered, and Blue was right there, trying to get hit with the logs as they came off the truck. I told him to go inside and vacuum if he wanted to be useful. Instead he picked up his football, and made me throw it for him. I really do have a lovely arm from throwing that football for Blue!
Gave Blue a bath today. He needed it. I do it about twice a year. Blue had been at the vet and under anesthesia and on the operating table months ago, and I hadn’t been able to bathe him until he would put some weight on his foot. He did what I told him too, but he wasn’t happy about it. I was happy about all the dirt that came off of him!
On Our Walks
Blue chooses to not walk quietly next to me. He strains to the end of the leash, which is attached to a teal harness. Which matches his teal collar. He is always moving forward, always going, always looking. Blue can’t even take time to pee. He’s got things to look for and hope he can chase. Today, during our walk, Beauty found an eight-inch piece of dead animal skin with hair attached. Blue was riveted to it. It was all I could do to pull him away. I threw it to the side of the road, and we continued our walk. As we came past that spot, Blue pulled me, almost off my feet, and emerged victorious with the dead skin in his mouth. I had to pry his jaws off it, and he continually turned around to try to see it and get to it as we went back to the car.
I can make assumptions from this, and will . Basically these actions are so true to who Blue is and continues to be. He has to put his mouth on animals. His training and breeding had to be the key to this desire in him. He’ll still put his mouth on live animals of other breeds when they come visit. And they don’t have to be moving. He has never gotten involved in a greyhound fracas, and I don’t believe he has any desire to be part of any other fracas. There is nothing alpha about Blue. But there is a lot that is instinct and prey-drive about Blue. If it looks like prey, then he has to have it. He was so intent on this dead piece of skin. When I was telling him to drop it, I could tell from his eyes he wanted to obey me-but his centuries of breeding and instinct wouldn’t let him. He is so true, Blue.
Cute Toy Story
The Greyhound Gang got this very big Christmas stocking from their babysitters, Carla and Chris. It had over 10 toys in it. Some plastic, some cloth, all with squeakers. I laid them all out on the floor, and Blue ran right over and grabbed the football-shaped one in his mouth and claimed it for his. He just loves footballs. He is such a boy!
The Canine Steve Young
Blue is such a guy. And such a person. If he were a man, he’d be Steve Young.
I mean look at him with this football. He is crazy about his football. He has to have it with him at all times, preferably in his mouth. If it’s not in his mouth, he has it next to him. He always knows where it is too. I say, ‘Blue, go get your football.’ And he runs off, looking for that football and bringing it back. I imagine that Steve Young sleeps with his football too. And Blue just doesn’t have it lying quietly in his mouth. He prances when he has his football. His entire blue body, quivers and tremors and wiggles and waggles saying ‘Look at me, I am so cool with this football in my mouth. I am the football guy.’ He’ll even do this low growl thing as he wiggles and waggles with this huge, torn, orange, plastic football in his mouth. He is talking about it, as he struts, ‘I’m the man, the man with the football.’ I swear the same presence Steve has on the football field, Blue has in my back yard. Two football kind of guys.
‘I’m the man, the man with the football.’ Then there is this medical thing they both have. Blue has injuries that should force him to stop running, to stop trying to be the best, to be the man. But nothing will ever stop him. His body could be breaking down, but his heart never will. He doesn’t know the word ‘quit.’ He only knows the word ‘go.’ And go he will until he dies, with the football by his side. Steve has still refused to say quit too. Hope springs eternal, even when reality says very different things.
And then there’s the sensitive side to this macho dog. Blue is built. I mean he is a solid, complete muscled, stocky kind of guy. Blue is macho…at least outwardly. He acts tough, as he’ll bark at strangers, and appear to be threatening. He’ll also not stop when hurt if he’s caught up in the chase.
But then there is this sensitive side to Blue. The side that is constantly whining and asking for attention. The side that pushes the nose under your hand, and begs you to pet him. The side that when he does have an injury (after he’s through with the chase) will sit there and worry about it, and whine about it-and generally make things worse. I think he and Arnold are similar in their macho, yet sensitive flip sides.
So Blue-my Steve Young/Arnold clone in hound form. What’s not to love?
A big part of my life with the dogs is our walks. They look forward to them, and so do I. We try to do one a day, usually for a couple of miles. I have a few spots, all with some hazards for greyhounds, but it’s hard to find a non-hazardous place for greyhounds to walk. Cactus, twigs, rocks, barbed wire, rabbits, rattlesnakes, ditches-you name it-there are many hazards to greyhounds. However, in as controlled a situation as I can get, I let these guys off leash. And their personalities emerge.
The biggest couch potato ever. He lies around at the house, and doesn’t get up unless I am making peanut butter treats, or am going in the car. But when we are out on a walk, in the middle of nowhere, he is in his glory. He is yards ahead of us, ears pricked, looking everywhere for that telltale movement. He gets so far ahead, I often have to call him back to me. He’ll stop, give me an exasperated look, watch me take a step or two nearer to him, and then turn and keep going. He’s saying, ‘Ok, you got closer, you can see me – I got things to see!’
He’s the old man in everything but his heart. His back end is all messed up but that doesn’t stop him from moving and shaking. He’s right up there keeping time with Winslow. You can tell that this boy made time in his younger years. At least when I yell Buster’s name, he has the decency to turn around and run back to me-sweetheart that he is. And Buster can really turn it on too. The couple of times I’ve tried to leave him home, he dashes out that dog door and beats my car out the gate. Buster is really the man about town when he is out and about. He has purpose in every movement. HE is going to be in charge and going to do it all. And his body is not going to stop him.
He is so adolescent, and so happy with everything. He will run with Winslow and Buster, and then turn right around and run full bore to me. Then he walks by my side for a while, and then he’s off again with the boys. His loyalties torn. ‘Be with me, and get lots of love…’ ‘Be with them and be one of the boys…’ It’s just too cute-and he can really take off, even with the leg deformed like that. He is a trickster though, as he loves to see things that aren’t there, and get Buster and Winslow all worked up running after him-after nothing.
My baby girl. She just stays by my side. Leaping and hopping and being Beauty. She watches the boys run, but looks at me and says, ‘they’ll be back those silly boys.’
My Blue pulls at the end of his leash, which is attached to his harness. He still wants to go after everything he imagines is out there. But I fell for that once, and he ended up with a fractured hock. So Blue stays on leash, and dreams. Today Smiles decided he needed to chase a raven. And the raven decided that it wanted to be chased, and led Smiles and Buster and Winslow up and down the sage-studded red dirt. Swooping just low enough so they could see him, and teasing them into thinking they might even catch him. Wild nature met untamed hearts and the beat of freedom from wings and paws was palpable.
Today was a good day, in the company of my greyhounds.
Another Blue Day
Here is what Blue is doing lately.
Silly boy, he got bit in the face by my babysitter’s dog. It’s hard to find people in Kanab to come stay at your home and watch and love on your dogs. I just met this lovely young girl who works at Best Friends and who seems to want to watch my dogs. However, she does bring her own dog with her, and he is a big furry boy named Mac with some macho tendencies.
Anyhow, my guys wanted to chase him too much, and though I had Smiles muzzled, he started to chase Mac, and Mac started to run to escape, and Blue joined in-and Mac bit Blue on the face. Poor baby. He was so hurt by that. But he valiantly let me clean it up, it’s not too bad, it just mars his gorgeous features for a few weeks.
He, of course, had to sleep in the bed with me that night.
Blue also is not putting weight down on the foot again. I don’t know why he is doing that. He just gets it in his head he shouldn’t put any weight down on that foot. Makes me crazy. He is such a neurotic boy. He and the rest of the dogs have again conspired to not let me do their toenails without a fight. They used to just let me cut them, now we have to tussle, and pull and push, and chase and sneak up on them to get those toenails done!
It snowed here finally, and stayed put on the ground. Blue loves snows. He was bred and raced in Colorado, and he likes it cold. He goes out and throws his toys around, and leaves his paw prints all over the pristine white ground. Then he rushes in through the dog door, and pushes his cold wet nose under my hands as I’m typing on the computer. ‘Me, me, me,’ he says. ‘I’m having a blast running around outside, you must get dressed and come see.’
So I do and we play and the world is a white wonderland, and I’m surrounded by my wonders of dogs.
I knew the day would come, knew it should come, but I was never sure the day would really come.
It feels like I just broke up with a boyfriend. There is this very big hole in my heart and in my home. But as with most endings, there is a part of me that knows this is the right thing to do.
Blue left today with his new family. They are so happy. I am so sad. The house is so empty.
I spent the morning in mourning, petting Blue. I’m sure he was wondering why he got such special attention. With all the dogs here, sometimes it’s hard to give them all real individual quality time. So I sat with my back against the wall, and Blue’s head in my lap, rubbing his neck and loving on him.
It’s been a long road to get Blue a home. He’s been so special, and so needy, and well, just so Blue.
I think I kept denying to myself for the whole week that I had offered Blue to these strangers. I met them at a Las Vegas Meet and Greet one Saturday. And the next Saturday, they were driving the 3.5 hours to Kanab to get Blue.
His last night, at 10:30 p.m., I decided he did need a bath. He had been asleep, and the next thing he knew we were in the tub together. He is so good about it. He never protests. Just does what I ask him. Years of training to do whatever was asked of him, whether it was to try and win a race, or to die.
I’m gathering all his stuff together for his new home. It’s a lot of stuff. The glucosamine and chondroitin. The raised bowls. The harness. The muzzle. The packet of information. And his toys. I look at all the toys, and wonder which ones I should let Blue take with him. They are all his, after all. The orange, half destroyed football is a must. The green rabbit. The brown rabbit one of his greyt angels sent him. He has a rabbit and football thing, after all.
I can’t help but cry, when I know I should be happy. These are really nice people, and Blue will do his best to please them. I think most of the tears shed are for me, not him. He’ll do just fine. And eventually, so will I. Blue is such a presence. His size, his personality, his talking. The house will truly seem empty. I won’t be tripping over him, he won’t be pushing his nose under my arm for me to pet him, he won’t be running all over the yard. When you’ve had such a presence as Blue in your life for 2 years, it’s really hard to let go. And letting go is also not one of my better traits – but I keep practicing.
His new adopters
This is how sweet Kathy is. She went out and bought a bunch of stuff for Blue. One of the things was an insert for the electrical plugs, in case he decided to lick them, she didn’t want him to get electrocuted. Made me cry. Still does. Isn’t that the sweetest thing?
Kathy and James left Vegas at 5 a.m. They got no sleep, they just wanted to come and get Blue. They made a bed in the back of their small car, with crates on the floor so he’d have more space to lie down. When they left with him, he jumped right into the car when I asked him too, and even laid down. He is so trusting of humans. He always feels he should do what they tell him.
I keep looking at the clock, wondering if they are home yet. Wondering how Blue is feeling. Wondering if his presence will ever really be gone. Knowing that he will be forever…Blue.