Worth A Second Look

by Houndstooth on

I was watching this video this week, and while it has nothing to do with dogs, it made me think about dogs in shelters.  I understand if you don’t want to watch the video, because it’s a little long, but it does a wonderful job of illustrating my point.  You don’t have to look for anything specific when you watch it, just enjoy Elias for who he is.

Elias is seven years old.  He has never cut his hair.  He hasn’t mastered social skills yet, but he’s obviously very sweet and tries hard to appease people.  He is also an incredibly talented musical prodigy.

When you were watching the video, were you bothered by his long hair?  Did his behavior start to grate on your nerves a little?  Were you starting to wonder about why his parents let him be such a free spirit?  At the end of the video, were you amazed that something so beautiful could come out of such a small and imperfect body?

Think about going to a shelter to meet potential new dogs.  Have you ever met a dog like Elias there?  When someone opened a kennel, were you overwhelmed by the enthusiastic greeting of a dog who couldn’t stop jumping on you and licking you?  Did you want to take a step back just to catch your breath?  Were you curious about the potential of the crazy dog you were looking at?

I think back to the day in July when we went up to visit the adoption kennel.  When they brought this bony black dog in, I confess that I first I saw everything that was wrong with her.  There was a small scar on her face, and another one on her butt, probably from rubbing it against something too much.  The dog had a kink at the end of her tail that made it look like something that belonged on a monkey.  Not to mention that she was black and black dogs are hard to photograph.  She was a live wire, bouncing off the walls and the people.  It would have been easy not to give her a second look.

Goof Ball -- Tales and Tails

Goof Ball

And yet, something did make me look again.  I’d taken a picture of her inside in a rare moment of laying down and when I looked at it on the camera, I realized what stunning gold eyes she had.  I noticed that she had some little freckles in her white tuxedo that stretched down her chest.  There was also an incredible sweetness to this young dog.  She might have been a busybody, but she kept returning to us for attention.  My second look turned into a third look and then a couple of days later, we went back up to the kennel and brought her home.

Watch It, Flattery -- Tales and Tails

Watch It, Flattery

There’s a saying in Greyhound adoption that the dog you bring home from the kennel is not the same dog you’ll have in a year.  That has been true every time we adopted a Greyhound, and it’s just as true this time.  Flattery has blossomed here.  She’s not perfect, and I can’t expect that of her when I’m not perfect myself, but she is learning.  There is still a wild puppy in her heart, but when we go to visit at the nursing home, she is an incredible visitor.  She has a true knack for charming people and I think she will only get better with practice.  The camera loves her and when I look at her now, I see one of the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever looked at.  Am I biased?  Of course I am.  The beauty of it is that while I didn’t see what I needed to the first time I looked, I saw enough with the second glance to make me look deeper.

Flattery -- Tales and Tails

Flattery

Seven months later, I am still learning new things about our newest addition.  Some of them are sweet and others are funny.  A few are frustrating as all get out.  Yet I’m still incredibly glad that I looked a little deeper this time.  Most of the people reading this aren’t looking for a new canine family member right now, but I hope that when you are, you take this to heart.  Elias could be very different if he had parents who had tried to curb his enthusiasm for what he loves and change who he is.  He might not have been able to reach his incredible potential.  The world would have missed an amazing talent.  Flattery is no musical prodigy, but her potential is still undiscovered.  I have a feeling that she will be an incredible ambassador for Greyhounds in her lifetime, but we will have to wait and see. If we hadn’t looked again, we might have missed a beautiful opportunity that was just waiting to be discovered.  Try to look past the pent up energy and the incredible excitement to meet you and look for the potential that’s locked inside that ball of fur.  You might discover a lot more than you bargained for, in the very best sense.

Pink is the New Black -- Tales and Tails

Pink is the New Black

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  • Kate Obrien

    What a sweet tribute to Flattery. She has certainly found her spot in your heart, lucky girl.

    • Yes she has! It’s hard to imagine life without her already!

  • Sue Dyer

    She is so beautiful. I am so glad she got to pick you.

  • Sally

    So well said! I have three greyhounds that no-one was exactly clamouring for when they were available for adoption. One comes on home visits to prospective owners, and so many say afterwards to our regional coordinator that they want ‘one just like George please’. Flattery reminds me a lot of my second greyhound – I think SHE is one of the most beautiful greyhounds ever, but she’s not keen on being photographed. Gradually the fur is re-growing on the scar down her nose – and I kind of miss it.

    • George sounds like our first Greyhound, Treat. Every meet and greet that we went to, several people left disappointed that she wasn’t available!

  • Brooke Lowry

    I love Elias and I love Flattery! I’m so glad you did look deeper … I have so enjoyed getting to know her over the past few months.

  • Reilly & Denny Cowspotdogs

    many years ago I have a beautiful greyhound x doberman – he was truly an amazing dog and my best friend for many many years and every day was something new

    • That’s the true wonder of sharing life with dogs!

  • harrispen

    She surely is a black beauty. We love our black beauty too.

  • jan

    A lot of incredible humans and dogs are probably overlooked because they didn’t make that initial impression and were different from the norm.

  • Biggy/Allies Mom

    Carrie you post made me think of my Havok. :'( He was one of those hounds that most people wouldn’t take a second look at. He was hyper in his crate. He wasn’t handsome. He was black, had a short tail, and not you classic greyhound face. We brought him home because I knew no one would see his greatness. I’m so HAPPY that he was part of our lives even for the short time he was here.

  • Maryruth Ginn

    A very moving blog entry. Flattery is very beautiful and perfect for the camera. Raising a prodigy is a very difficult job. I pick Flatter over Elias any time.

  • Sara Blair

    Elias is awesome! Love his hair, and what talent.

    Last week at agility, while struggling (and achieving!) to get Chewy to turn to his left, instead of his instinctual right, my teacher paid me a complement. SHe said, “He’s so lucky that you brought him home. Another owner wouldn’t have made sure he was trained and got lots of exercise and playtime, and he could have ended up a dog who compulsively spins all day long.” I never really thought about that, because I always consider myself the lucky one for having him in my life. But what is fun and entertaining to me, might be annoying and toilsome for someone else.

    I’m so glad you gave Flattery a chance. She is beautiful, funny, clever, and so endearing. She’s won us all over.

    • I think Chewy and Oreo are both lucky! You instinctively work to both of their strengths, even though they’re very different. I’m sure my dogs wouldn’t be perfect for some people, either, but I’m happy that they’re mine.

  • Such an incredible analogy!!! I truly saw the connection between Elias and the shelter dogs that I visit…the energy, not to mention the ever repeating hugs!!

    • I know! All I could think of was how he reminded me of a puppy!

  • Such a talented, sweet kid!! Would have been a shame if he had different parents that curbed some of that individuality. And Flattery … I *heart* her!! I have always had a soft spot for Greyhounds and have always said some day I want to adopt one. When it does come time for that (if it does) I will take that second look.

    • I couldn’t help smiling when I watched Elias, although I know a lot of people who were put off by his enthusiasm. I’d be pretty excited if I met Ellen, too! lol

  • Hazel

    I think black is the new pink! I really love the story of your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd looks at Flattery! She is a darling!

    • Thank you! I feel really lucky that we did!

  • The photos of her are so perfect. They show me the potential that you wrote about. And, isn’t it interesting how our perception of a dog’s appearance changes as our love for them grows? That has happened to me with Shyla in a huge way. At first, I didn’t necessarily see beauty when I looked at her. Now, most of the time, she glows with it.

    You kind of said this stuff to me when I was so upset over Shyla’s fears when I first met her. And, you were so right. The dog you first meet is not the dog who will spend her life with you… Thank you for telling me that when I needed to hear it.

    I love your new princess.

    • Shyla has blossomed with you in a way that I don’t think she could have with anyone else! You were both lucky to find each other. 🙂

      I love our new princess, too!

  • Taffy’s Mum

    Beautiful Flattery pics and lovely post. I love black greyhounds. It makes me look deeper into their characters. I also think I may have Flattery’s twin sister at home with me!!
    Having lost William to lymphoma before new year just 3 weeks after diagnosis, I wasted no time in visiting a newly opened greyhound rehoming kennel just a short distance from home. Misty didn’t get much of a look-in as her kennel mate at the time pushed her out of the way but whilst I was in the kennels looking at all the other dogs, she didn’t stop barking as if to say ‘come back see me…..come back see me!’ Misty too has gorgeous amber eyes, a white flash and the longest tail I ever did see (it curls back on itself!) and when she says ‘Hello’, she leans into me then crawls up my body until she is standing on her back legs with her front paws on my shoulders. I tell you….that dog picked me – not the other way around!!

  • Lori – What Remains Now

    What a beautiful post.