It’s true what they say about pigs, if they’re not getting up to something, they’re thinking about getting up to something.
Same with greyhounds. And Angelas.
We’ve written a book! Yes! Admittedly it isn’t a long one, but it’s a book with chapters and pages and everything. In it I have written all the things I have learned about life from Sean the Greyhound. You’d think it couldn’t be much considering he didn’t even know his name when we picked him up, but you might be surprised and impressed that he’s a pretty wise old owl.
I’ll post a bit of it so you can get a taster. However, if you fancy getting the book for yourself – most of the royalties will go to Greyhound Rescue West of England and other greyhound charities.
Sean’s been with us since March. He’s almost unrecognisable from the dog we picked up in Spring (partly because I have hoovered up most of his hair…)
I wished I’d made a note of the milestones he reached, from the first day.
Day 1 got us a junior level of stair mastery. Today we’re amazed at how quickly he’ll shoot to the top of the stairs and turn right (kind of like Zoolander, but more brown and white fur than ‘blue steel’! – Can’t seem to turn left though…) After two weeks we detected a slight twitch in the tail. After about 6 weeks we got a proper wag! Today not only do we get treated to a proper wag, but the tail is almost above horizontal and can smart a bit, if one stands in the wrong place!
Whereas initially Sean would flinch around flapping polythene, noisy cars and motorbikes, at the weekend he was able to go to the Balloon Fiesta and watch helicopters landing and taking off very close by. (Wasn’t massively keen on the Typhoon’s antics, though!)
Recently Sean’s been making some quite literal leaps and bounds. To start with, Sean seemed pretty ‘switched off’ with everything, didn’t know anything, and didn’t really do anything. He now is learning to understand English, and ‘walk’ usually prompts a response of leaping and making funny noises, shaking his head (‘You DON’T want to go for a walk?!) and almost-bows. These are becoming more pronounced every day. Sean was pretty passive in the beginning, quite happy to go for a long walk, but didn’t really get excited. Now he’s into everything – all must be sniffed, judged, and if necessary, weed on as well. As Sean would say ‘I like to leave things more fragrantly than I found them.’ Good one, Sean.
Greyhounds aren’t supposed to bark. Sean doesn’t know he’s a greyhound – so he doesn’t let that limit his vocal talents. We went to watch the Tour De France, and while staying with some very nice friends, he took woofing lessons from their beagle. Hmmm. Not sure that’s a good skill to have. He usually saves it for special occasions, like when he’s been on his own for a couple of hours and we’re a bit slow getting out of the car.
For the last few days he’s learned how to RIP THINGS UP. This is a favourite pastime. The toys we bought him when he arrived had been lying around his room forgotten until recently, and now they’re in the bin because there’s not much left of them. There’s also not much left of the recycling bin either, but that’s a different story. Sean’s favourite toy has always been the Kong ball because it has food in it. He’ll happily push it around until he’s got all the little biscuits out – and then promptly take the rest of the day off. This is more durable, and will not need replacing for a while.
During the hot weather Sean has enjoyed kicking back with an ice pop. He’s also started to strip off, and is shedding lots of hair EVERYWHERE. Although if the internet’s correct, that’s all fine, and he’s just losing his ‘kennel coat’. Whatever that is.
Sean loves food, and will do anything for it. He makes it quite clear that we are second-best to the kitchen. He learned to sit pretty quickly; and has also learned that if he sits and looks cute he’ll get unscheduled treats, and therefore tries it on most of the time. His favourite is dog-cheese. (That’s burger cheese that doesn’t unsettle his stomach – not cheese made out of dogs). He also likes a game of ‘bread hoop-la’. We through bits of bread and he tries (and frequently fails) to catch it in his mouth. We think he’s not so hot on this because he has a wonky eye (kind of like Jason Byrne’s ‘special eye’ – you might need to YouTube it!) and perhaps he doesn’t have depth of vision. Still, it entertains us, and as I explain to Sean several times a day – we have him to provide for us a steady stream of entertainment.
I can’t let Sean off the lead because when he’s not on the lead he goes completely deaf and can hear and understand no English. Like his name. That means we have to improvise. Sometimes when he’s excited, he’ll run up and down stairs. In athletics, that’s known as high intensity interval training (HIIT) – to everyone else, it’s getting puffed out in short bursts. We also go for a ‘nutter run’. That is, he decides he’s full of beans and need to run some off so we run with him on the lead. He looks OK, because he’s taking a leisurely canter; I look like a nutter because I’m trying to keep up.
When Sean’s not on the lead, his recognition of his name is excellent. As is his recognition of crackly bags – even if they’re upstairs. The fridge door opening provokes an immediate response and the jingling of collar tags can be heard in the distance as Sean comes to investigate. Sean has never been in the kitchen. He stands just outside; his special task is kitchen surveillance. This must be undertaken when ever any two-legs is in there. One never knows what might be the result. That is why as a wise dog, one must check.
Sean’s other role is court jester to the Foxy kingdom. This is why he is dressed up in a brown blanket to look like Yoda, or a black sock to look like Napoleon. With laundry, and a greyhound, the possibilities are endless.
Feel free to get your own! http://www.grwe.com have lots of dogs with huge personalities – and it’s a much more responsible thing to do than sourcing a puppy from a breeder.