||[Nov. 27th, 2007|01:13 pm]
I know, on and on about Willow, the Wonder dog, but what about Poor Percy? |
Percy is my first greyhound, my first dog as an adult, and he’ll always hold a special place in my heart. He is one of the handsomest greyhounds I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot. You should have seen him in his prime – his background coat was much more red, he had a fabulous black mask and fabulously muscled. People would stop their cars in the middle of the street and get out to come and have a closer look at him.
Percy almost wasn’t my first greyhound. We had been assigned a dog whose name was Big Red, an 85 pound fawn boy. The way it used to work, the truck full of dogs arrived from Florida and was unloaded at a kennel up in Timonium. All of the dogs would roam around this fenced in area and one by one they’d call your name, find the dog that had been picked out for you and take you inside the kennel to fill out paperwork and make sure that the “cat test” was valid --- letting the dogs that were going to cat-infested homes take a look at the kennel cat to make sure they wouldn’t try to eat it.
They unloaded the dogs and all of these beautiful, albeit, skinny, skinny greyhounds exploded all over this fenced in area. They’d been cooped up in the truck for the past 14 hours, with only a single break, so there was lots of running around and checking things out. But most of them, business taken care of, would gravitate to the soon-to-be-greyhound parents, leaning, snuggling, looking for a hand. Except for this one, beautiful, giant dog. Monstrously tall, with a long, long tail, he was in constant motion, marking every object in sight. Bolting for the gate every time it opened, uninterested in the people waiting to admire him.
Yeah, my dog. I have to admit, gorgeous as he was, I was relieved when he tried to eat the test cat. (Poor fellow went through two homes before he finally found a home with a big fenced in yard and a pack of rambunctious mixed breeds to romp with.)
It did mean, however, watching everyone else go home with their new greyhound...and I went home with an empty collar....sniff.
But three weeks later a truck heading for the New York groups had an empty space and they could drop a dog in Maryland for me. Was I still interested? Are you kidding me? I had an empty collar, an unused dog bed, virgin dog toys...and a bad case of greyhound-interruptus.
So they gave me a date to pick him up -- naturally it was the night of the FMI Christmas Party, which was a "required work function" (is there anything more fun than MANDATED FUN?)...and when my boss tried to imply that this was not really a good enough excuse, I suggested that he could feel free to substitute another excuse that I'd be happy to back up, but I wasn't coming to the damn party.
He was, 24 hours off the track, having endured a long truckride, a neuter and other indignities, still the Percy we know today -- pulling the vet tech down the hallway, tail waggging, just wanting to get up to the next person who would pet him and pay attention.
Admittedly with that fabulous black mask and damn near every bone in his body showing through his skin. (You're thinking, oh, they must have starved him at the track. I know that when Percy gets stressed, Percy doesn't eat...)
Home he came. He had an early shoe fetish that was fairly easily nipped in the bud -- I'd take the remaining shoe, leave it out for him and then holler "NO" when he went near it. And good ol' Percy, he learned "shoe" and "toy" pretty quickly. His fear of the cats was legendary -- Whisper would get on the stairs once we went upstairs, trapping Percy downstairs. Percy would just whine and cry until one of us moved the cat from the stair landing so that Percy could get by.
Why Percy? I spent at least one sleepless night cruising the internet for dog names. What do you name a 75 pound brindle male? I had a whole list of rugged boy names...Dakota, Aspen...but after two days with big ol' wimpy, we had it narrowed down to fussy English schoolboy names and Percy beat Neville.
Oh, he had his issues...but that's for another day...