|Percy, Part Doofus, er Deux
||[Nov. 28th, 2007|10:31 am]
Percy, with his lovable, snugglable, happy to see you even if he’s never met you nature, has been responsible for dozens of greyhound adoptions. Willow’s the eye candy – her striking coat pattern brings people over. While the person is trying to get Willow’s attention, Percy sneaks in for the kill. Not shy, he’ll shove his head right under any free hand. If you don’t get the hint, he’ll give you a nudge to get you started. Then he moves in for the lean. He has fallen over, at times, when the object of his affection has moved away suddenly. |
A track adoption person has suggested that Percy may have been a kennel favorite before he started racing competitively. Sometimes the breeder or kennel operator will take a dog home with them, let them hang out in the office. This might explain how Percy was agile on stairs and knew how to “sit” on command when he arrived – two things that greyhounds often struggle with. Surely he was carried around a lot as a puppy – that would explain his almost pathological need to be touched or held.
Because Percy has issues. Thunderphobia…pretty common in dogs. Afraid of ceiling fans? Afraid of stainless steel bowls clanging together? Garden hoses? Brooms? Old men in baseball caps? He was even afraid of the heating and air conditioning – when the system would come on, Percy would race out of the room and run either upstairs or downstairs to get away from it. (We have a separate system on each floor – luckily, or he would have had no place to go. Although maybe it wouldn’t have taken him 5 years to get over it…)
Percy has got a lot to worry about. Given his clinginess, you’re probably not shocked that he also has: Separation anxiety…oh, yeah. Percy has it bad. He was okay for a week or two, oddly enough, and then it set in. I came home to a crate half destroyed – bars bent in all directions, paint chewed off, the liner chewed up….and a canine tooth laying on the floor. A vet I no longer use prescribed anti-anxiety meds and FAILED to tell me that they’d take a while to take effect. And suggested that we leave him out of the crate, but locked in the bedroom. Which is why there are no corners on any of my bedroom furniture, for the greyhound’s cat-like nature is fully expressed when it comes to always being on the wrong side of a door. Several sets of miniblinds (my personal theory, which as been borne out dealing with a few other adopters struggling with SA is that the dog needs to be able to make sure that you are not in the house – open all doors – and that you are not right outside – open all blinds – before he/she can even think about relaxing), two doorknobs and a bunch of moulding later, the meds kicked in, and while not happy, Percy could finally DEAL. And the arrival of Willow, a year and a half later, certainly helped.
Unlike Willow, who raced her little butt off, 2-3 times a week for over 2 years, winning quite often, Percy raced 5 times and they said ENOUGH. He was dead last 4 out of 5 and caused an accident in almost every race. Percy just didn’t get the whole “kill the bunny” concept. (PETAphiles, be cool, the lure is often a big while fluffy bone. Which explains Willow’s snatch and grab behavior with small white poodles and Bichons.) He’d get out front and then turn around to play with the other dogs – who, of course, were actually taking the race seriously, and ran right into him or swerved to avoid him. Because Percy is nothing if not a first-class Doofus.
The first time we tried him on the lure for HM Hounds…well, it was embarrassing. Jen’s dogs went tear-assing after the lure. Willow, barking and lunging at the end of her leash. Percy, looking around, like “what’s going on?” We decided to try him solo first, with me at the end of the course so that when he was through with the lure, he’d come straight to me. The lure takes off, Percy’s let go, he takes off…and runs PAST the lure, straight to me. Sigh. Let’s try that again. This time, the lure goes, and he leisurely trots in my direction, completely oblivious to the point of the game, stopping to sniff at goose poop along the way.
Finally we decide that maybe he needs a clearer example – so we race him against one of the girls. Ah-ha! Percy won’t chase the lure, but he WILL chase girls. Or his Mom. His debut at NCRF and I stay at the tent with Willow and he goes off with the rest of the gang for the show. When it’s his turn to run, he bypasses the lure and proceeds to run all around the fairgrounds until he finally found me. I heard rumors of a loose greyhound and then suddenly he pops up over the horizon, ears up, muzzle still on, spots me and comes racing back to the tent.
Finally, after a season or two, for no apparent reason, the lightbulb flicks on – and he actually rears up, woofs, and tears after the lure, past his girl partner and slams into that lure so hard that he tears up his nose on the muzzle.
Now he’s near 12, and he’s got an old toe injury that gives him trouble now and then, so we rarely race him on the straightaway, but instead use him for the “training” portion of the show – when we tie the lure to a long pole and swing it around in circles. But really, now he can concentrate on what he does best – ambassadog and general lovehound at the greyhound tent.