Since you’ve met the rest of my furry family, why not meet the whole brood? Last, but certainly not least is Nellie, my 8-year-old Greyhound. She’s my sofa zombie. Many people think this breed is hyper, but those people would be wrong. Greyhounds are also known as 45-mph couch potatoes.
Nellie has the most soulful, expressive eyes. Plus, it’s a bonus she doesn’t shed like my other mutts. So anytime I can do less vacuuming, I’m in.
I adopted Nellie after I learned how Greyhounds live and what happens to them when they can no longer keep up (literally). The life of a racing dog is unique, but not in a good way.
Greyhounds live in and around race tracks and trainers, receiving little love and affection unless they win. They’re generally housed 20 hours a day in long rows of stacked cages, only released to train and “eliminate,” as they call it. (I call it pee and poop.)
It’s an isolating life for these dogs born with the misfortune of being fast runners, making them attractive to those who gamble on their speed. A few lucky “rejects” (slow racers) are taken by rescue organizations who adopt them out, such as Greyhound Friends for Life, where I met Nellie. Those remaining behind are often destroyed, and not always humanely. But this is supposed to be a lighthearted blog, so let’s change gears, shall we?
In order to adopt Nellie, I completed a form not unlike an interrogation. But I get it. They strive to match the appropriate dog to a fitting family. So ultimately, the rescue group chooses the dog you go home with.
But according to my application, the dog for me was Nellie. As I preferred, she was on the small side, cat-friendly and easy-going. How lucky for me she was deemed a slow poke by racing standards.
I brought my dog Bailey with me to meet Nellie and they immediately became buddies. Once home, Nellie completely ignored my two indoor cats I had at the time. Fine with me (and them).
Nellie’s day consists mostly of napping. About the only running she enjoys is two mad dashes around the dog park while the other dogs attempt, in vain, to keep up. After that, it’s nap time again. Wake me when it’s dinnertime.
Nellie has 3 nicknames. I call her Nervous Nellie when she has to see the vet or spies the nail clippers. She’s Naughty Nellie when she chews furniture. She’s Whoa Nellie when performing what I call ‘psycho dog,’ which entails frantically running circles around the sofa, Callie and Skip in frenzied pursuit.
This dog is my social butterfly. She’s a star with the kids at the school near my home. When we walk by, many scream her name. Once, when the gardener left my gate open, Nellie ended up in their kindergarten class, ready to play.
Now don’t get me wrong; just like my other animals, Nellie has her moments.
When at the vet to get her teeth cleaned, Nellie was taken outside to pee. She got spooked, escaped her collar, and headed toward the freeway. Instead, Nellie (thankfully) turned toward a shopping center, where she was discovered cowering in the bakery department at Safeway.
Nellie eats poop. There, I said it. Pretty disgusting, huh? Having four animals and a large backyard, I invariably miss scooping some poop. Nellie never misses finding it, no matter how fossilized. When she comes through the dog door licking her chops, I know she’s not munching on kibble.
Nellie also has the occasional anxiety attack if she’s bored silly. In those instances, she tends to gnaw on furniture, like the corners of the buffet. So my furniture is adorned with tin foil on every wooden corner within Nellie’s chewing range.
I can’t imagine coming home to a pristine house and I suppose with these animals I’ll never have to. The hardwood floor is scratched from their nails, the kitchen tile sports puddles from sloppy drinking.
Nellie, in particular, leaves wet nose prints on the glass patio doors. She rummages through the kitchen garbage can and did I mention she eats poop?
My house is well lived-in and that’s fine with me. When you have kids or animals, your stuff is going to get used and sometimes ruined. But that’s a small price to pay for what you gain in return, don’t you think?
Nellie leaves her mark in many ways, but she’s also first in line to greet me when I come home. And to me, that’s worth more than “stuff.”