02 Jan Life with a Greyhound: One Year On
Life with a greyhound; one year on looks something like this.
Happy one year anniversary Peggy. It’s been a wild ride for us, so I can’t imagine how it’s felt for you. I feel like when we started out we were really expecting a normal dog (no offence, I just thought you’d be more dog like).
Instead, we’ve ended up with a racing horse cross cat. You’re too tall for your own good, aren’t aware of your own size or mindful of the length of your nose. Whenever you bounce into the kitchen, you’ve taken to bumping around, always managing to catch your nose on the table before settling on Jacks arm. I find this particularly endearing.
Although you’re not aware of your size, you are aware of your routine. When the Greyhound Trust told us you liked your regimen, they weren’t lying. Any changes to the usual order of things would see you in a grump for the next couple of days, nose pointed upwards, showing the whites of your eyes. We gradually learned the way of things, to take you out early before we start work and to try to keep a routine as best we can, although things do always end up slipping a little.
Walking for Britain
But the one thing that remains different to ever other greyhound we meet is your love of walking. We were told that you would need two 20 minute walks a day, and sleep for the remainder. The latter is partially true; you do love to sleep all day.
But you know the sound of the door opening, and the slightest jangle of the keys. Although you might have just been out for the longest walk minutes before, you just love joining us for a long walk around Kirkwall. Recently, you’ve found particular joy in walking down the Kirkwall high street, lit up with the warm glow of Christmas lights and other dog walkers.
The perfect day
I’m not sure about you, but our favourite day out was in Hoy. We set off from Stromness, taking the foot passenger ferry Moaness. From there we walked to Rackwick along the old post road, stopping at the beach for lunch and a roam around in the breaking waves. Later, we took the road back to Moaness, stopping off in the cafe for tea and cake.
We were told you’d never walk that far, never mind all day. And I was half expecting to have to carry you the whole five miles home. But you loved it. Fab ran with you most of the way, stopping each time he saw water so you could have a drink. You didn’t want to stop for a rest and even enjoyed the ferry ride home.
The worst of times
Alternatively, some of the worst days have been when we realised how bad you really were. We met with lots of other greyhounds, and no one had had the same experience as us. I’ve never known a dog so nervous and mistrusting. The first couple of weeks you stayed in your bed by the radiator, eyeing us cautiously. As the weeks passed, you got to know us a little more, realising that we weren’t going anywhere. Time and patience were the only option, and I know we’re still not there yet. It’s going to take a little while longer for you to settle completely, and learning that that’s ok has been the greatest lesson out of all of them.
The best of times
But perhaps my favourite moment of all has been the past year, gathered up as a handful of moments. You’ve become used to whole new way of life, learning to trust us and even enjoying our company. You’ve got used to walking together, popping your tiny head between us as we walk.
I’m looking forward to this year as you relax into your retirement and our next adventures together.