A long time ago when I was on a Greyhound forum called Greytalk, I told someone who was considering adopting a Greyhound that “the most beautiful Greyhound is the one on your own couch.” Since I became involved with Greyhounds, I’ve seen the whole rainbow of beautiful hounds. I have a few Greyhound colors that I would love to have, but anytime I’ve gone to meet a Greyhound based on looks, I’ve never ended up with that dog. This has been true multiple times in my life.
In Greyhound circles, as I’m sure is true in other breed circles as well, there is a certain perceived status attached to having a dog of a unique color. Many people want blue dogs and will wait long periods of time for them or go to great lengths to get them. There are colors even rarer than blue and the blue variations, and people love those, too. I even know of someone who went overseas to get a white and liver Greyhound.
I have to admit that I have my own color preferences, sort of a dream list, but I don’t use that as the basis for choosing a new dog. My first criteria is how they get along with Bunny as well as my husband and me. I don’t know how people can choose a dog from far away and then wait for them to arrive. I have to meet a dog to know if he or she will be a good fit for us.
We actually ended up with Blueberry in a backwards sort of form from that. For those who don’t know the story, we adopted Lilac, who was Blueberry’s mother and we ended up agreeing to dog sit Blue while her first adopter had surgery. Blueberry was a handful, to say the least. She was taught to do a “trick” that involved her sitting in front of you and then launching herself straight up to take a bite of food out of your mouth. When you have a seventy pound dog with a titanium skull, that is not the best idea. Sometimes, she decided she wanted what we were eating and just launched herself at us to get it. Several black eyes ensued. She also had a habit of growling, a low, deep growl when she got tired and was around other dogs. You couldn’t hear it, but you could feel it travel up the leash. We had her for several months and then started hearing rumblings about how the woman wasn’t sure she wanted Blueberry back. I was very afraid that someone else would decide they wanted to adopt her and wouldn’t be savvy enough to work on her issues and training. When it was finally official that the woman wasn’t taking her back and I was handed Blue’s papers, I was relieved.
At the reunion last weekend, there was a blue dog attending. His human asked me to take pictures of him, and I agreed. As we walked over to a spot I thought would work, she said something about how I wouldn’t get the chance to take many pictures of a blue dog and my reply was that our blue dog had passed away last year and I’d taken a lot of blue dog pictures. I shouldn’t have said it, but it felt somehow like a lessening of a bond I had with an incredible dog for eleven years and my emotions took over my tongue. Unfortunately, her dog wasn’t too interested in posing for pictures, although he was indeed a fine specimen of a Greyhound.
The thing that really struck me at the reunion, though, was the sense every single person had that their dog was the most beautiful. Some of the hounds were barely more than puppies and some were sweet seniors, but every one of them had the shine of a dog well loved to them. Their coats were soft and glossy, they had on their best collars and they were fussed over by everyone. This wasn’t just true of my dogs, but for all of the Greyhounds there. Over a year ago, we brought home a skinny little dog with a few scars and a kink at the end of her tail, and now she’s become a glamorous little canine model. How did I ever not see that Flattery was drop dead gorgeous?
And it all reminded me that it’s true about the most beautiful hound being the one on your own couch. I’ve never met a Greyhound who wasn’t beautiful. I don’t think they make them that way. However, there’s something magical that happens when you have that special relationship with the dog on the other end of your leash. The dog you share the couch with, and probably the bed and other aspects of your life, becomes a lot more special than just any dog that you meet on the street. I think, perhaps, that is part of the magic of dogs. The way we fall in love with them is unique and gives us something back that we can’t find anywhere else. I know that the most beautiful dogs in the world are the ones on my couch right now, and I’m lucky to have them there.