There’s a saying in Greyhound adoption circles, “The dog you adopt is not the same dog you’ll have a year from now.” I believe there are similar versions of the saying throughout dog adoption circles and for good reason. While I know it on an intellectual level, my spring break this time has really shown me how far Flattery has come from the dog we brought home a little over a year and a half ago.
It’s hard to believe that two years ago, I was spending my last spring break with Blueberry, although I had no idea it would be our last together. She was getting older, but aside from slowing down a little and having SLO, she was in good health. My husband usually referred to her as “The Best Dog Ever” and she was. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and right after I started my summer break that year, we had to let Blueberry go. She was our first experience with osteosarcoma and by the time she started showing signs that something was wrong, it was much, much too late. When I saw the x-ray of her leg, I knew it was very bad and that despite her good nature and happy demeanor, she was in a lot of pain. I never, ever dreamed that day that I would walk into the vet’s office with her and leave without her, but keeping her with us would have been for us and not for her. I wanted a peaceful ending for her, not one where she bumped her leg just wrong and it shattered, which would have been traumatic and painful for all of us.
Anyway, when we went to visit the adoption kennel a month of so later, we were not really looking to adopt right away. I think we were ready to start thinking about the idea, or I was, but my husband took Blue’s loss even harder than I did. Bunny and I had been lucky enough to be able to donate some food to the adoption kennel we adopted her from due to our BlogPaws Nose to Nose award and we went up to take a few pictures and write a story about that. Plus, we needed to get out away from the sadness of home a little, and I thought Bunny would enjoy the company of some other Greyhounds for a few hours. We did meet adoptable dogs, however, and one of them really made an impression on us.
As a matter of fact, Flattery made such an impression on us that we went back for her just two days later. Right away, we knew several things about her. She’s a funny dog, she is too smart for her own good, and she is very people-oriented. Those things are still true about her, but she’s a lot more complex than that and watching her come into her own has been one of the journeys that I’ve enjoyed the most.
During spring break this year, I’ve been home with the girls for three weeks. I really had a chance to notice some things about her this time. Flattery loves everyone, and I honestly have not seen a single person that she would not approach and expect attention from. If I took her to visit death row at a prison, she would be as friendly to the inmates there as she is to people on the street or residents at the nursing home. She’s an equal opportunity love sponge, but lately, she’s starting to show a little preference towards me. It makes for an interesting mix because for the longest time, it’s usually my husband that most of our dogs prefer, and now I have two of them who prefer me. I can’t say that I’m complaining in the least.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that Flattery is really starting to show a desire to go and be with us. In the afternoon when I take Bunny and Flattery out to use the turn out pen, she’s started beelining for the car instead. Flattery has gotten a taste of wanderlust and adventure and I love that she’s so eager to go places with us. In the past, I often had outings with just Bunny, but now, Flattery is making it clear that she doesn’t want to be left out. She’s even getting a little pushy about taking walks, as long as the temperatures are above 45 degrees. She’s not a cold-weather girl like Bunny.
Our outing to the dog park amazed me. We’ve worked on recall at home, but never outside anywhere like a dog park. The dog park is actually the very last place you want to practice the recall, because you don’t want them to self-reward by blowing you off. When I called her to me, I mainly wanted her attention and I kicked myself because I realized after I’d closed my mouth that I shouldn’t have done it that way. Yet Flattery surprised me by looking right at me and trotting right over to me with a happy grin on her face. I honestly would have given her an entire steak if I’d had it with me for coming the way she did. Fortunately, praise and attention are one of Flattery’s forms of currency and you better believe I made a big fuss over her.
Overall, she has blossomed and become even more wonderful than she was when we first brought her home. She’s filled her spot in our family perfectly, bringing her silly ways, her love and her zest for life to the mix. If I could have ordered a dog for us, she is very close to what I would have wanted to end up with, even though I wasn’t sure what she’d turn out to be like when we brought her home.
I think that’s part the beauty of Greyhound adoption. You don’t know exactly what you’re going to get, but in a lot of ways, it’s like Christmas keeps happening over and over as you get to know the dog inside the fur suit. Adopting Flattery has brought us much more than we ever expected to get and I love that she keeps showing us more and more of herself.