Never, Ever Fall in Love With a Greyhound
…unless you want doggie toys all over your floors. Greyhounds love toys, especially squeaky ones, and one of them can scare the wits out of you if you step on it in the middle of the night.
…unless you are alert and quick on your feet in the kitchen. Greyhounds are tall, thus notorious counter-surfers. Lurking around while you’re preparing food, a greyhound will lunge, steal and run away with any tasty morsel within reach. Sometimes you won’t even know it until you hear the doggie door crash open.
…unless you don’t really want to sit on your couch. If you don’t quickly lay down the law about dogs on furniture, a greyhound will sniff out and possess their favorite place on your softest couch. That place always turns out to be your favorite place. Forever after, you will have a greyhound lying on its back, feel akimbo, snoring away. This “cockroaching” position is a greyhound favorite. You will sit somewhere else.
…unless you want a big doggie door. And by that I mean huge. They are skinny hounds, but can be up to 2 ½ feet tall at the shoulder. That dog door will likely have a plastic flap that warps over time and lets in frigid air in the winter. You will devote your creative genius to solving this problem.
…unless you are amenable to buying doggie pajamas and sweaters. Greyhounds have very little fat so can’t tolerate extreme temperatures. (We learned about the availability of chic and stylish greyhound pajamas when one of our greyhounds habitually barked in the middle of the night and we discovered that covering him with his blanket sent him back to dreamland.)
…unless you want baby gates near your front door. Greyhounds are referred to as “forty mile an hour couch potatoes.” They really are that fast, and a strong prey instinct as well as training for the track, impels them to chase down small scampering creatures such as bunnies or squirrels. Restraint has to be taught.
…unless you are agreeable to watching their weight. If you’re unable to see two or three upper ribs, you have a fat dog on your hands. It is not good for a greyhound’s health to weigh more than five pounds above racing-weight. Besides, it detracts from their sleek and graceful appearance.
…unless you’re willing to join the community lovingly referred to as the Greyhound Crazies. These are people who, whenever together, talk incessantly about their dogs’ quirks and behaviors, their names, their origins, their lineage and yada, yada, yada. You will recognize their dogs and call them by name. In fact, you won’t remember their owners unless you’re told their dog’s name.
…unless you are, or are willing to become, an early riser. Although not universally true of greyhounds, most of them wake up with the first bird chirp of the morning. The typical scenario is to open your eyes and encounter a dog two inches from your face with huge, pleading brown eyes. “Food! It’s time for food.”
…unless you can imagine yourself brushing your dog’s teeth. Yep. Greyhounds have horrible teeth that collect plaque and many have gum disease. It’s a genetic trait and probably exacerbated by their diet when living in the racetrack kennel.
…unless you want a magnificent creature in your house who will adore you every moment of the day. In fact, it’s likely that dog will shadow you, whine when you leave the house, and joyfully bang its tail on walls and furniture when you return. (One of my greyhounds had a condition the vets call “happy tail.” She literally whacked the wall so enthusiastically with her tail that it bled. For almost six weeks she sported a tail splint.)
…unless you yourself want also to fall madly in love, to adopt one greyhound after the other, to praise their temperaments to anyone who will listen, and willingly to welcome into your life leaky doggie doors, compulsive squeaky-toy buying, vet visits for teeth cleanings, getting up very early, raised feeding bowls, frequent needs for ear scratches and whatever else your gentle and loving greyhound demands for its comfort and longevity.