Today I need to laugh. So, if you will indulge me, I will deviate from my usual deeper-spiritual-journey-fare for purely-fun-greyhound-revelry.
About twenty years ago we met our first member of the breed. Rico. He shook and trembled onto our old wood floors and right on into our hearts. When he died, I buried a piece of my heart with him that only resurrected this year when our greyhound, Henry, became sick. I didn’t realize until the end of Henry’s short life of 7 ½ years how much of my heart I withheld from him. Oh, I loved him and enjoyed him; but I didn’t let him into those parts of my heart that seemed to have perished with Rico. But as Henry fell gravely ill with cancer and I cared intimately for him through those last days, he breeched the walls. And the amazing thing is, when he died, I realized that those parts of my heart were not in fact dead forever, and did not even go into the grave again with him, but remained and exploded into an even greater capacity to love.
So when Cody came into my life, I fell head over heels. The funny thing is, he wouldn’t even greet me when we met. He was too scared. He was scared of everything – doors, brooms, slippery floors, pumpkins. For his first few hours at our house, he refused to come near me or even look at me. He paced around and around the same path in our yard, not smelling, not looking, just pacing. If I tried to crouch in his path, he carefully detoured and resumed his route. But I was determined. For the first three days, I carried him through the door whenever he went outside because he was too scared to walk through it himself, all 80 pounds of him. Slowly but surely, I convinced him that all the strange sights and sounds of our home are normal (or at least “normal” for us – the first time he heard a kid screaming, he hid behind a plant. Then again, he hid behind a chair the first time my 86 year old grandmother came to visit.) I cuddled him and won him over. Now I bury my face in his soft, sweet smelling fur and he nibbles me in return.
About a month after Cody came home and seemed to feel safe and comfortable, I read an urgent plea on the Colorado Greyhound Adoption group’s Facebook page for foster families. I couldn’t resist.
And that’s when the Felix adventure began. I wrote previously about Felix in my blog entry, Adventures in Rescue.
Felix hasn’t been adopted yet, so he is still with us after six weeks. He is the funniest dog I’ve ever known. He’s too smart for his own good and easily conquered opening cabinets, accessing the trash can, and nestling into the sofa if we forget to pile it with other chairs. At the same time, he also quickly learned that climbing on the dinner table is not allowed. And even though he still grabs us with his teeth when we are trying to leave, he turns away embarrassed afterwards; as if he can’t believe he impulsively made that mistake again. He loves to snatch shoes in broad sight of all of us and prance off proudly to hide them, as if begging us to come and get him.
A few days ago, I was gone all morning and needed to leave again after a short return home. Felix and Cody were obviously not happy about this idea. I sat on the kitchen floor to put on my shoes and socks; and before I knew what was happening, Felix snatched a sock and trotted off with it. I jumped up to chase him . He dropped it, and Cody promptly picked it up to continue carrying it away from me. Cody had never before touched any of our personal belongings. I chased Cody, laughing, while Felix returned to the kitchen to steal my other sock!
Felix-capers continued this past weekend. I walked into Cody’s favorite room; and there he lay, enthroned on mounds of brown sugar. I investigated and realized tiny granules coated the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. He looked at me sheepishly, as if to say, “Do you really believe I did this?” No, I didn’t. But I knew who was capable of not only getting into the cabinet, but framing another dog. Felix further validated my hunch later that morning when he was the one to vomit.
I really enjoy dogs. But during this season of life when there are many challenges and other responsibilities that stretch and strain my psyche, I am more grateful than ever for the gift of funny canine antics and resulting laughter. For the gift of soft fur, wet noses, and grateful cuddles.