Posts Tagged ‘Greyhound’
Aside from the dramatic episodes I’ve shared with you, you know “Baby Daddy Drama” and such, the third trimester of my pregnancy had been relatively uneventful. I go to work, I come home and Ben greets me with a happy dance that makes him look like he’s hopping. Then Ben and I go for a walk in the woods next to the apartment complex, I keep a leash on him at all times (waiting for us to scare up something and for him to decide to take off like a shot) but he seems happiest to walk right next to me with the leash slack. After his walk, we have dinner and then I curl up on the sofa with a book, movie, or TV show and relax. (Before bed Ben gets another shorter walk.) Sometimes there are dinner or outing with friends, sometimes errands, but for the most part – life is quiet and life is good.
I mention this because the other day when I came home, Ben did not meet me at the door. I called him, as I took the leash down and he didn’t come. My heart started racing and the baby started moving restlessly. I found Ben in the bedroom, his long greyhound snout had what looked like dried slobber on it and his eyes were wide with fear. When I called him, he came to me but as soon as I tried to touch his nose he ran away from me into the corner. I panicked.
I grabbed Ben’s collar and snapped the leash on and we headed for the car. I made it to the vet in record time and when Ben and I burst through the door, either the sight of the wild eyed dog or the heaving pregnant woman caused them to immediately take Ben to the back. I stood there, holding on to the counter breathing deeply.
“Ma’am, it’ll be fine, don’t get too worked up.” the receptionist said in a soothing voice and I could tell she was worried I was going to have my baby right there at the reception desk.
Ben was back before I knew it, and the Vet Tech was smiling. She put a piece of off white plastic in my hand.
“This was stuck in the roof of his mouth, I suspect when you get home you’ll find something chewed on that wasn’t one of his dog toys.” She said smiling.
The piece of plastic looked suspiciously like the rod from my blinds when I said that the vet tech started laughing with me.
On the ride home, with a very tired greyhound stretched across the backseat, I was happy that for that moment that was all the drama life had thrown my way for the moment. Oh sure, I could handle crazy ladies in the book store, and birthfathers who want to change the adoption plan but it was nice to not have to.
Ben and I are getting to know each other. I can’t say yet that he seems completely happy and adjusted to his new life but he seems less sad. He is still pining for his other family, not showing too much interest in food. I learned that if I gave him a few pieces of food, the same way I give him treats, from my hand he would eat the eagerly enough, so I started by feeding him by hand for the first few days. Now I have him eating from his bowl, as long as I sit next to him while he eats. I’m happy to see him eating and I’ll be thrilled when I can see less of his ribs, but it makes me a little sad to think of what his family did to get him to this state.
Russ came over to meet Ben, and declared him to be a good dog. I thought Russ was being quite generous since Ben seemed relatively unimpressed by Russ, preferring instead to stay seated on his big pillow watching cautiously. (Though Ben did seem to warm when Russ sat next to him and started to pet him.)
“Joy, do you remember that man you were talking to at the bar on our date?” he asked, looking intently at Ben, which made something in my stomach drop.
“Yes,” I said bracing myself.
“So you know that he’s an instructor at the base?”
“Of course, my ex is also an instructor,” I said “Russ, I think you’re getting ready to tell me something you’re scared that I’m not going to like, but you can tell me. I’m little but I’m scrappy.”
“Your ex, Rob, he’s been telling people about the decision you guys made. Everyone at his squadron knows, and so of course it’s drifting over into my squadron too.”
“Oh,” I said, but I knew that. On some level the minute the familiar face approached me at the restaurant I knew that everyone knew. My cheeks felt hot with embarrassment.
“I guess I really need to talk to Rob, don’t I?” I said, smiling weakly.
“It would probably be a good idea. You know, better to grab the bull by the horns?” he said, patting Ben and standing up.
“Sure,” I agreed and I hugged Russ good bye, and tried to determine the best way to approach Rob about all of this.
Rob called the very next day and asked if he could stop by to meet Ben after he got together with his friends for their weekly basketball game in the park. I told him he was more than welcome, and then I fretted and worried about how to gently approach the subject of the broken promise to Rob.
Rob was in my apartment for about fifteen minutes extolling the virtues of my decision to get a dog, all the health benefits, the mental health benefits, etc. etc. before I gestured to the sofa asking him to sit down.
“Rob, when we talked about this baby, we agreed to a few small things to try to eliminate any excessive amount of stress, do you remember that?”
Rob exhaled sharply, “who told you?”
“Who told me isn’t really the issue,” I started but he cut me off.
“Look Emily is my girlfriend and this pregnancy situation is very difficult for her, so next month she’s coming to stay for two weeks and really that seems like the least I can do for her.”
“Oh,” I said weakly, “that wasn’t really what I was talking about.”
Emotions flashed through me, hurt, anger, sadness, confusion and back to hurt. The emotions were coming so fast and that I burst into tears. Rob looked suspicious.
“I wasn’t talking about Emily,” I said as I got control over my emotions and his look changed from suspicion to confusion, “I was talking about the fact that half of the base seems to know that I’m pregnant and that ‘we’ decided on an adoption plan.”
“Oh that,” he said.
“Yes that.” I said, tears spent, anger was starting to become the dominant emotion.
“Well I just told Tex, and he told someone else, and they told someone else, and you know how these things go.” He said dismissively.
“Yes, I do know how these things go, which is why we agreed that you weren’t going to talk about it with people from the base,” I said coldly, “do you know how embarrassed I was when I was approached on my date by someone telling me they knew all about such personal details about my life?”
“You had a date?” he asked.
“That’s not really the point,” I said.
“I think it is,” he said starting to sound angry which made me the confused one, “you shouldn’t be dating while you’re pregnant!”
“I won’t date while I’m pregnant if you don’t date while I’m pregnant,” I said with a chuckle.
“I can tell you this, my ex-wife didn’t date while she was pregnant.” He said indignantly and I burst out laughing.
“Well I should hope not, I believe she was married to you while she was pregnant.” I said, still laughing.
“Joy, this isn’t funny, you need to be home taking care of yourself and the baby. You don’t need to be out on the town.”
“I think you need to leave,” I said feeling the laughter fade and the anger flashing back with a vengeance.
“I am not going to leave until we resolve this,” he said stubbornly.
“There is nothing to resolve. I am pregnant and I am doing everything within my power to make sure that the baby has what it needs to happy and healthy, but I have a life, one that I hope to get back to when this is all over, and one that you seem hell bent on ruining. What do you think is worse for my health and the health of the baby – having a nice man take me out to dinner for Valentine’s day or knowing that for the next few years whenever I encounter your instructor friends they will be thinking of me as ‘the girl you knocked up who then gave her baby away’?”
“I don’t think it’s appropriate,” he started again, but I cut him off.
“Well, that’s funny because a couple of months ago you were the one who thought it wasn’t appropriate to have Emily come visit while I was pregnant and might need you for ‘moral support’ but you’ve proven to be pretty flexible on what’s appropriate and what’s not.”
He glared at me and stomped out of my apartment , slamming the door behind him so hard that my whole little world seemed to rattle.
“And this is exactly why we couldn’t keep the baby, and try to co-parent it,” I said outloud to no one in particular, but Ben’s wise eyes seemed to agree with me.
Russ is proving to be a good friend. I expected him to drop me like a hot potato after our date, but he has continued to call and ask how I’m doing. I admit that he hasn’t mentioned going anywhere in public with me, which makes me a little sad, (I mean friends have dinner together every now and then don’t they?) but really the fact that he didn’t completely run screaming for the hills never to be heard from again is a true testament to what a great guy he is.
In retrospect, sending Beth an email with the subject line “my four legged baby” was not terribly bright, before she opened the attachment and her eyes scanned the contents of the email she admitted that she thought I had an ultrasound and that there was something wrong with the baby. I must admit though that I was impressed that of all the emotions Beth conveyed in her email – fear for the baby, concern for how they would address such an odd medical issue, joy and excitement for me after my recent adoption, she never expressed doubt about wanting my baby – even if it did have four legs. Of course, she couldn’t have my four legged baby – he was all mine!
This past weekend, I went to my very first Greyhound Pets of America Meet and Greet. I had been emailing with my local chapter quite a bit, doing the recommended reading, asking questions, and basically just trying to decide if I really wanted a Greyhound or not. Part of the problem was that I had never seen one, except for on TV in commercials for the dog track (Well, and on the Simpsons if you count Santa’s Little Helper.) Through my research I had learned that Greyhounds were not what I expected them to be – high energy dogs that needed space to run and cut loose, so while I learned that their couch potato lifestyle should fit with mine, I still wasn’t entirely sold.
However, on Thursday I opened the newspaper and was looking in the animal/pets section of the classified and I saw an ad that had been placed by the GPA – it had a profile shot of a handsome brindle dog smiling, it said his name was Ben and he was looking for a home. I studied that profile carefully – I liked that smile, and so I asked for the next Meet and Greet date and learned that it was Saturday Morning.
I got up on Saturday and put on my best overalls (a fashion statement I had avoided before pregnancy but now I found that it was comfortable and left most people unsure whether I was pregnant or not) and drove to the vet clinic where the Meet and Greet was being held. Before I even got out of my car I saw a rainbow assortment of tall and skinny dogs standing comfortably with people who were milling about and doing a little meeting and greeting themselves. I didn’t expect for there to be so many dogs, but there were at least a dozen and they were faun, reddish faun, black, and a color that people call brindle but it looked almost like tiger striping! The dogs all looked like lean athletes and I had a hard time believing that they would morph into laid back and companionable pets.
I was quickly approached by one of the GPA volunteers and when I gave her my name, she quickly took me to meet her TWO foster dogs! They were beautiful, a small black female and a tall brindle male. She told me they were small animal tested, both passed with flying colors. However though I was more drawn to the friendly smile of Ted, the tall male, when she told me the stories about him liberating a loaf of bread from the kitchen and “passing it out” to all the other dogs. (Gleefully shredding it so that pieces went EVERYWHERE!) I thought he might be too much dog for my apartment.
Every volunteer that I met was very exuberant when I introduced myself, they introduced their fosters, encouraged me to take their dog for a walk (they had a small yard where you could walk with the dog to interact a little bit). I walked one or two of the dogs, and I must say they were the most laid back dogs ever to walk – they never seemed to pull at the leash or exhibit any bad behavior at all. However, of all the dogs I walked, while many were beautiful I just didn’t get that tug that told me that my dog was there.
Then just as I was trying to decide what to do, a van pulled up, and a woman hurried out apologizing for being late. Marie, the president of the local GPA chapter, who I was talking to when this mysterious stranger pulled up waved at the woman and called out to her -
“Ann, this is Joy!” she said excitedly.
Ann, the woman from the van, had the back of the van open and was bringing out her foster dog, Ben. She brought him right to me and put his leash in my hand and encouraged me to take him for a walk. Ben was a tall brindle male, but his stripes were more brown and black, than the orangey brown and black of the other brindles, and his fur was exceptionally soft. He walked right next to me, in a perfect heel though I hadn’t uttered any kind of command. His eyes were beautiful, dark soulful eyes that seemed wise and a little sad.
When Ben and I came back to where Ann was now standing smiling broadly, she started to tell me his story. Ben was actually retired from racing years earlier and he had lived with a family for the past few years. However, he had killed a cockatiel that his family had brought home and kept on an open air stand (Sounds like bad people, not really a bad dog.) so they took him to the vet to be destroyed, saying he was a dangerous animal. The vet took the dog and called the GPA refusing to destroy a dog for doing what it was bred to do. Ben had been pining for him family, Ann was struggling with getting him to eat. I had been petting Ben while we were talking and he had leaned against my leg. I smiled down at him.
A young girl, probably around ten or eleven, came over and asked Ann if she could walk Ben, and I looked up to see the girl smiling at me and her mother (who had sent the girl over to ask) standing a few feet away. My heart skipped a beat, but Ann told the girl she would have to ask me. I was shocked when I heard myself say, “not right now.” (I am normally never one to tell a child no to such a reasonable request.) Ann looked at me grinning broadly.
“So do you want him?” She asked.
I knelt down in front of the dog, and I asked him “do you want to come home with me?”
Obviously he had no words to answer, but he put his head down and stepped up to me, burying his head against me. It was almost like he was saying, “I thought you would never ask.”
Within twenty minutes the paperwork was signed, I purchased a new leash and collar from the clinic where the Meet and Greet was being held, and Ben was mine. I was so happy that I even let the little girl take him for a walk, and my heart lifted a little when I saw that though Ben went with her, he looked back over his shoulder seeming to make sure I wasn’t going anywhere. Ann and I were talking, she was telling me what kind of food he was eating and what schedule he was on, etc. etc. I was so engrossed I almost didn’t notice that the girl and her Mother were standing near Marie with Ben, Marie was shaking her head.
The girl brought Ben back to me a few moments later and as she handed me the leash back she said “this was going to be my dog, but they said you got it first.”and then she walked away.
Ben was leaning against my leg, and I couldn’t help but think that he got me first.