Thursday, April 6, 2006


I got Oreo’s ashes back today. I’m going to spread most of the ashes outside in the area where she and Sam and I liked to sit when the weather was good. That way, Sam and I can still sit outside with Oreo. But I’m going to keep a bit of the ashes in a small box I’m painting and putting Oreo’s name on. That way, if I ever sell this condo and move, I’ll be taking a bit of Oreo with me. I’ve got a nice carved chest I’ll put her collar, muzzle, and tags in, along with the box of ashes. And I’m going to take all the messages you guys posted and make PDFs of them. I’ll keep a CD with your messages and e-cards—and my digital photos of her—in the chest, too.

Wednesday night I filled out an on-line application to adopt another greyhound.

Years ago, when Oreo was my only dog, I read (on the local adoption group’s Yahoo board) about the death of a SEGA member’s dog. I remembered what I’d gone through when a cat I had for ten years had died: I kept thinking I spied a movement from the corner of my eye, I whipped around, saw nothing, then remembered Duchess was dead and began to cry again. I knew that when the unthinkable happened and Oreo died, I would do the same thing. I was going to need something fuzzy to hug and cry on.

I promised Oreo that if anything happened to her I would get another dog—as a foster dog, if not a new adoption—very quickly. I’d do it for my sake, but also I’d do it because Oreo was such a wonderful dog that she’d made it impossible for me to consider living without as many greyhounds in my life as I could handle. I told Oreo that by being such a marvelous girl, she’d guaranteed a home for another dog.

Then I adopted Sam. At that point, perhaps, Oreo wished she’d been a bit less “wonderful.” But she tolerated Sam—with many an exasperated glance thrown in my direction—and she continued to be my wonder-dog until her death last week.

So last Thursday night, after she’d died, I made myself look at the page of SEGA’s current adoptables.

I looked at them from the point of view of potential foster-dogs…and with an “inside track” since I get to read the comments of the volunteer kennel walkers, so I know more about some of the dogs than is posted on the public adoption page. (For instance, I know “Tom S Sugarplum” wouldn’t work for my household: Sugarplum’s an Alpha on a mission to rule the world. Sam would be in shreds in no time.)

For several days, I just looked.

But Sam can stand just so many hugs before he starts to get squirmy. (“Hey, Mom, I’m tryin’ to sleep, here.”) And Sam would make a terrible role model for a foster dog. He’d teach a foster to get on the furniture. To invade the kitchen. To raid the trash can. And I’ve got two arms—designed for hugging two dogs. I’ve got enough heartworm preventative for two dogs for the next six months. Same thing with flea preventative. I’ve got three 40-pound bags of Nutro large breed lamb and rice (it was on sale). I’ve got two dog beds downstairs, two dog beds upstairs. (And that’s not counting my bed, which is where everyone sleeps.)

And I’ve got that promise I made to Oreo.

So I filed an application last night, and got an e-mail today. Saturday morning, Sam and I are headed up to the kennel to check out a couple of possibilities: “ICU Tomboy Doris” and “Pinerun Tori.” (You can see pictures at the link posted above.)

Doris is cute, but she’s not cat or small-dog safe. This is a problem since Sam is very high-prey. I can handle one high-prey dog, but not two. If trouble comes scampering in our direction (the neighborhood is home to a brainless Yorkie), I hold both leashes with one hand, and grab Sam’s snout with my other hand. This is adequate if the other greyhound in the scenario stands still and behaves. But if both greyhounds are high-prey, I need a third hand. Also, I’ve checked the racing database for Doris: 160 races, with 20 first-place finishes. I think this girl would enjoy a lure-coursing household.

Tori is adorable, and small-dog safe. She’s a bit younger than I was looking for, but that’s not a problem if she’s a calm two-and-a-half year old. (Actually, I just checked the racing database, and she’ll be three next month-—my god, 16 races, including one in which she “quit / turned back”; she’s less interested in racing than Oreo was!) The inside word is that Tori is pretty vocal, but often greys that bark in the kennel are quiet in the home. She’s also acquired a torn ear since her adoption picture was taken (remember Sugarplum’s mission?), but that just makes Tori even with Sam, who came to me missing the tip of one ear. (I think he’d encountered a dog-on-a-mission, too.)

[The dogs’ names can be changed. These names are registered racing names, not “kennel” names (which we don’t know), so the dogs don’t really respond to them. Tori’s name would definitely have to change since my cousin has a granddaughter named Tori (for Victoria), and I balk at having relatives and dogs with the same names.]

Pinerun Tori seems to have the edge as a match for my household. The more I look at her on line, the better I like her. It’s up to her and Sam, now. Fingers crossed. And start thinking about names.

Oh, and did you see Tori's description?

She's a smiler...

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