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"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."

(Roger Caras)

Lucy, an Italian Greyhound

Lucy, an Italian Greyhound at 9 months of age
© 2007-2010 Gib Brown
Lucy, at 9 months of age.

It had been a difficult two years, first losing Andy, then Toby, then Brenden and finally Ashley. As I looked around at my three remaining dogs, I suddenly realized that for the first time in 15 years we were without a rescue as part of the family. I was determined that had to change!

I knew I wanted another sighthound and had recently been taken with a friend's Italian Greyhounds, so within a couple of days I sent an adoption application to IG Rescue. But fate intervened. It all started innocently enough with an email from a friend who volunteered at the local SPCA. A very small Whippet had been put out for adoption for the first time that evening. She knew I wanted another sighthound and thought I might be interested. Although I had my heart set on an Italian Greyhound I decided to stop by the SPCA the next morning. What I saw was not a Whippet after all, but a terribly thin and stressed 9 month old IG (or IG mix).

I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but the truth is she didn't make that much of an impression on me initially. The SPCA, realizing that she was extremely stressed and under socialized, had her settled in the enclosed information area and not with the other dogs in the kennels. She was free to come and go around the enclosure at will and I was able to watch her interact with another dog and the volunteers helping customers. The more I watched, the more impressed I became. In spite of all the confusion and the barking dogs in the background, this little girl relaxed in her bed with her soft stuffy toy and took it all in. Her resiliency in the face of all that turnoil was amazing.

I must have watched her for a good 10 to 15 minutes before I asked if I might meet her. After completing the required paperwork, the next thing I knew I was in a greeting room with a counselor and "the Whippet". In strange territory she was extremely stressed and a little on the hyper side running from wall to wall, eyes wide. I sat on the floor and waited to see if she would eventually come to me. She did, coming to a stand about a foot away. Ever so slowly I began to stroke her foreleg with one finger. When she didn't move away, I continued up to her shoulder, then to her withers, to her neck, to her cheek and finally I stroked her head and back. After a time she took a treat from me and then settled in about a foot behind where I sat. It was as though she was close enough to take comfort from my presence, but not close enough to have to submit to my darker motives, should they surface. Progress was slow though positive. After about an hour, I was hooked and I asked the counselor what would be required to adopt her.

The next step in the adoption process was an introduction to my current pets. Chance, Will and Jess were introduced to the little girl and all went very well - it was all she could do to contain herself, play bowing to each in turn. She seemed delighted with them all. The concurrence of my very patient and understanding husband followed and home we went. As we were leaving, one of the staff said excitedly "Look, she'll have two black and two white". And although I hadn't thought about it before, I saw that she was right-two black (tri) Shelties and two white sighthounds.

I can't say enough about the wonderful care Lucy received at the SPCA. They understood the needs of a sighthound and did everything they could to make her safe and comfortable. Their only "mistake" was to list her as a Whippet when she was obviously an IG. But it is their policy to list the dog with the information given by the previous owner and that owner had said she was a Whippet. They agreed with me however, that she was indeed an Italian Greyhound or at the very least, an IG mix.

Poor Lucy was a mess when she came home. The ride in the car stressed her terribly. Not wanting to eat at the shelter, she weighed only 11 pounds (6 weeks later she weighs 15-her upper limit) and was famished. Everything was so strange and she was so very frightened. By my recokoning, she lived in 4 different places in 6 weeks: with her breeder, 3 weeks with the people who took her to the shelter, 1 week at the shelter and then with us. That's a lot for any living being to handle. It wasn't terribly surprising that she fell asleep instantly that first night and never made a sound. The next night however . . . .

Lucy has been ensconced here for almost 2 months now and she's come a long way. She loves the huge greyhound beds where she can snuggle down to the depths and keep warm. After a fuss or two, Will has decided that she can share his bed and even put her feet on him as long as she doesn't get too pushy. And Jess is her best play buddy ever! She's come to understand that Chance currently rules the roost, although with a little alpha bitch now underfoot, I'm not sure how long that will last. Our priorities have been crate training (for her safety while riding in the car) and recalls. Sitting on command has been a bit of a challenge, but we're getting there, slowly but surely. Little miss enthusiasm has definitely perked things up around here. I can't wait to see the next act.

Lucy, snuggled into a Greyhound bed
© 2009-2010 Gib Brown
Lucy 48 hours after coming home.

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Last revised: 12/2009