It's funny how accustomed you become to a live-wire dog. We hadn't even realized that Amber was so interactive until she was gone. We were no longer accompanied by a hound expecting attention when we walked from one end of the house to the other. There was no attention-mooching grey to place a head under an inactive hand. Even with two other greyhounds in the house, the place was entirely too quiet. After listening to my email complaints for a while, a friend proposed a solution to me--the group she volunteered with was looking for a home for a dog that sounded like he was just what we needed. After exchanging a few more question and answer emails and phone calls, we decided we should go meet him.

All five of us went--three humans and two greyhounds. And we fell flat for a beautiful, affectionate, bundle of energy whom we ultimately renamed Comet. His original call name was Commander, but that was too close to "Amber" for us to live with. Not content to waste a moment, we immediately brought him home with us. It was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, and the long weekend would give us extra time to help him adjust before we had to get back to work.

We found out very quickly that Comet was quite different from our other greys, who are very sensitive. A sharp "NO!!" would send them nearly groveling to their beds--"Whoa, Mom's mad! I better hadn't do that again!" Not Comet! We'd tell him "NO!!" and he'd blythely continue with whatever he was doing wrong. This set us back a pace. In general, greyhounds are a very sensitive breed, but we'd gone and adopted one who hadn't had his sensitivity awakened yet. What to do? Remembering some of the wisdom shared on Greyhound-L, we decided to see if a squirt bottle would get Comet's attention. The next time he headed for the trash can, when he ignored the "NO!!" he got a stream of water in his face. I wish I'd had a camera to record the totally shocked expression he had. It only took a few squirts for him to get the idea that the trashcan would shoot him, and now he leaves it alone. Whew!

Comet is a classic "bull in a china shop." He just pushes his way to whatever he wants, regardless of who/what he might step on or bowl over on the way. This has earned him the nickname of "Tank." If he steps on me, I mimic Topaz's ear-piercing "YIPE!" If I have the squirt bottle handy, I squirt him, too. We seem to be making some progress on this problem. It's slow, but it's progress all the same. We are working on teaching him restraint, which gets a special workout when he's fed. He's an absolute food vacuum, so "Hoover Hound" fits him, too. We mix his food in his bowl in with about ten 2.5" to 3" rocks to force him to eat more slowly. Now it takes him about 3 minutes to search out all the kibble from between the rocks--before he was finished in 15 seconds flat! While his bowl's being filled, he's in a down stay at the kitchen doorway. If he breaks the stay before he's released, he's got to go back and do it again until he waits till he's released. Release comes after the food's dished out, and the food container and the pantry doors are closed, so it's not like he's kept waiting all that long. It must seem like an eternity to him though, because often he's absolutely quivering in anticipation. And don't make the mistake of being in between Comet and his bowl when he's released! Mealtime is definitely the highlight of his day.

And the second best time of day so far as Comet is concerned has to be going for a walk. He spends the entire time marching along in a very businesslike manner, until he sees something that could possibly be construed as prey (a bird, a squirrel, or--heaven forbid--a rabbit!) Then he turns into a statue, absolutely fixated on whatever critter's caught his eye. Turnabouts usually work to get him distracted and moving once more.

Comet is a perfect example of why some people say that the name of the breed should be "Attention Hound" not "Greyhound." If he's laying on the floor as you approach, he'll flop over onto his side (or even roll over onto his back) so you can get to his tummy more readily to rub it. Should you even consider just walking by and not providing the obligatory tummy rub, he'll reach out a paw to catch your leg. I guess he figures that if he trips you, you'll wind up on his level, and you'll be sure to provide tummy rubs then! (Click here if you'd like to see Comet's pedigree. There's another picture of our handsome guy on that page.)

Our boy is very catlike. Outside, he's quite the stealthy hunter, with either Topaz or Jonesy as his (supposedly) unsuspecting (hah!) prey. Fully intent, he'll have his head and neck in a straight line with his back, and he'll s-l-o-w-l-y slink along and *POUNCE!* just in front of one of his "sisters." He'll either be totally ignored or greeted with bared teeth. (Translation: "Don't you mess with me, you twerp, you!") Comet will also make quite a production out of washing himself, and he'll rub himself against anyone or anything handy in order to scritch just the right spot. Sometimes when he stretches, he'll arch his back so much he looks like a striped Dromedary (thus another nickname--"Camel Dog"). I swear that long back of his goes up four or five inches! Even his coloring reminds me of a calico cat--except they're all female.

These photos were taken one moment after the other. In the photo on the left, Comet is in stalk mode, and the next moment (the photo on the right) he's exploded into action. Even with ASA400 film, he's still a blur. Greyhounds can reach full speed in an incredibly short period of time.

The house is definitely not quiet any more--not with this beautiful, bounding, kissing, clown around! And we've recently discovered something else Comet does--he roos! He's especially vocal when we come home, often greeting us with joyous yips and roos. We're trying to teach him to "sing" on command, and he's getting quicker and quicker to respond to our encouragement. How do we encourage him? Essentially the same way we taught all the greys to "speak"--by example. We "roo" at him! Yes, I'm sure our neighbors think we've all lost our minds... In the photo to the right, Comet is joining in on the group sing-along at Dewey Beach. You just can't imagine the effect of hundreds of greyhounds rooing all at once. You'd have to hear it to believe it.

Unfortunately, Comet has Pannus. I'd noticed him rubbing his eyes a fair amount, so I had a look. Very close examination revealed what appeared to be a thin film over the outer edge of one eye, with white specks showing on the cornea. Alarm bells went off in my head as I recalled reading of Pannus on Greyhound-L, and when I read about it in The Care of the Racing Greyhound, I was almost certain that was the problem. A vet visit confirmed my fears.

If left untreated, Pannus will, in time, blind the dog. The vet was surprised to see it in a greyhound, since prior to Comet she'd only seen it in German Shepherds and a few bull dogs. Unfortunately, there's no known cure at this time, but it can be controlled with steroid drops.

Go Home! Beginnings Amber Topaz Jonesy

Greyhound Glossary Pannus Osteosarcoma

Flights of Fancy Greyt Links

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