If you read Bunny’s post on Monday, you know that we attended a Greyhound reunion last weekend. One of the things I love about going to an event like that is seeing all the different hounds there. Not only were there Greyhounds of all different sizes and colors, but there were a few Galgos and lurchers as well. There was all kinds of fun things to see and shopping to do. We met friends there and there was even a place to set up our chairs and dog beds so we could sit and chat.
The thing that struck me the most, however, was the sense of connection I saw over and over again between humans and hounds. Almost everyone I saw had a dog or two that clearly adored them, and every dog seemed to have a human or two who clearly adored them. It was a charming scenario and it made me think a bit about that connection that many of us have with our dogs.
Our experience with Greyhound adoption is similar to what a lot of people experience. I know it’s not the same with all groups, but it’s been what works for us and if I had to look for a new adoption group to work with, I would look for another that has the same process. For us, the process has been that we talk to the adoption group beforehand and explain our lifestyle, what our home is like and some of the things we want to do with our dogs. Based on what we tell them, the group introduces us to the dogs that they think would be a good fit. We meet the dogs, spend a little time with each one, and wait to see if the magic happens.
You might be wondering what that magic entails. I will tell you a secret. We aren’t just really lucky at choosing dogs that we go on to develop strong bonds with. We always go with the dog who chooses us and says “You’re the one that I want.” Our first experience was Treat, and I can still see her turning to look back at us over her shoulder as they led her back to her crate. Of all the dogs we met that night, she was the only one to look back. And a couple of weeks later when we made our final choice and brought her home, it occurred to me how determined she was to be with us. She’d pushed the other dogs, all bigger than she was, away from us in her quest to win us over. We were never sorry we brought her home, and I have always been grateful that she chose us.
As each new Greyhound has entered our family, it has been a similar experience. Every time I have gone to the kennel, interested in a particular dog, we have come home with a different dog. Like every Greyhound adopter, I have certain colors that I wish we’d have, but that has never ruled my decision. Being chosen by our dog has always worked out much better for us. I can’t say that it’s always been some magical big moment, but there has always been some small way that they indicated their preference for us. Lilac came out of her crate and wrapped her head around my neck in what we later learned was her unique version of a hug when I volunteered to foster her. Bunny walked in, straight to me, and leaned against my leg, as calm and collected as could be. Flattery laid down on a dog bed between us after a fun romp around the room, giving us coquettish looks and thumping her tail on the floor.
I don’t think that being chosen by a dog is unique to the Greyhound breed. It may be slightly unique based on their general personality and the way a lot of Greyhound adoption kennels are set up, but I think a lot of rescues allow people to meet various dogs to find one they feel is a good fit. Sometimes I wonder if it would help to have someone watch the interactions from a quiet distance and see which dogs showed the greatest preference for which people, and point out the things they saw to them. I don’t think that would always influence everyone, but I wonder what the influence would be.
Of course, that’s not to say that some nutter of a dog won’t choose you. I think Flattery or Morgan could drive most people bat crazy if they lived with them on a daily basis, and yet they fit in with our family in their own unique way. Different people meet their canine companions in different ways, but I continue to be fascinated by that unique bond that so many of us are able to develop with the dogs in our lives.