by Connie Cassidy
That line from an old song, a childhood favorite of mine, seemed an appropriate title for this little story. It was perhaps not a very good way to choose a greyhound, but at the time it seemed as good as any.
I really wasn’t ready to adopt another greyhound. I was still mourning the loss of my big AKC girl, Raisa, but Niles needed a buddy. He’d become more subdued and lethargic since Raisa’s passing, which I blamed on his eleven years. Then I kept a friends two young male greyhounds for a week and watched Niles come to life. That was enough to convince me that although I might not be ready for another hound, Niles was.
I’d been offered several very nice dogs, but none of them struck a chord until a friend called and said, “We’ve got the perfect dog for you, her name is Blue Skye” I remembered singing and dancing to that old song and thought, “Why Not?” I guess I missed the part about her being just barely 2 years old, or maybe it just didn’t seem important.
I agreed to adopt Blue Skye who was described as “That ‘Little Ballerina’ dog you’ve always wanted.” I should have known better. Other people get little greyhounds; I only get big. Very Big! Instead of a Ballerina who would leap and twirl gracefully through my yard and into my heart, I got a big, goofy klutz.
The first evening in our home, I took her outside on lead to show her the yard and let her choose her potty spot and then quickly headed back to the house in the blowing snow and cold. As I stepped up to open the slider into the kitchen something hit the glass with a sickening thud and I turned to find Blue Skye lying on the deck. She’d tried to leap through the glass door.
I thought for a few terrifying moments that she was dead, but she was only out cold and soon was struggling to her feet. I was still on my knees checking Skye for blood or other signs of serious injury, when she made another flying leap at that closed door. This time she sprawled on the deck but wasn’t unconscious. Just stunned and so was I. There was a big “X” made of masking tape on that sliding door. I knew about greyhounds just off the track not having experienced windows and glass sliders. Was she blind or just stupid?
She was terrified of the yard, the weather and most of all that glass door that kept banging her on the head. And even though I dragged her outside almost hourly, I cleaned up lake-sized puddles of urine and mountains of poop wherever I chose to confine her.
Skye chewed the corners off my end tables and nightstand and destroyed a windowsill, not when I left her alone, but right under my nose. She snatched things off the kitchen counters if I turned my back for a second. She once made off with a still-warm-from-the-oven coffee cake as I stepped away to answer the phone and managed to eat every crumb before I knew it was missing.
I was quickly learning about the “Terrible Two’s” Greyhound Style. The words “Oh Skye!!!” echoed through the house and the atmosphere was as gray as her skimpy coat. When I discovered that she’d stolen and chewed a plastic box full of push pins, I was sure that she wouldn’t have been dumb enough to ingest any of them, but just in case, I soaked some cotton balls in milk and fed them to her. Scooping poop the next day revealed a green, a yellow and a white push pin. Yikes!
When Skye had been here for 6 weeks and was no closer to being housebroken than when she arrived, I was at my wit’s end. This was a sweet dog, but I couldn’t live like this; I was ready to admit defeat. I was seriously contemplating sending her back, maybe she’d do better with another owner. Maybe I was always going to want my Raisa back instead of learning to love another.
The turning point came early one morning when Skye fell off the bed. Dogs are not allowed to sleep on my bed when I’m in it, but that never stopped Skye from trying. She’d sneak up quietly in the wee small hours and snuggle up to me until I awoke and banished her to the snuggum. This particular morning I didn’t wake until I heard the crash as she slid off and hit the bookcase next to the bed. I discovered her on her back and not moving, wedged between the bookcase and the bed. I couldn’t tell if she was just stunned or seriously hurt, but she was just lying there with all four feet in the air.
As I leaped out of bed I caught my little toe on the bookcase and screamed in pain, but even that brought no reaction from Skye. I was sure that she must be paralyzed, but I couldn’t leave her as she was. So hopping on one foot and cursing under my breath I struggled to get her gangly body free, no easy task in such tight quarters. I finally managed to slide her free and she rolled to her feet and hopped right back onto the bed and snuggled into the covers, almost instantly asleep. I hobbled off to the kitchen for some ice and then back to my bed to elevate my poor broken toe. Skye sighed happily as I crawled in next to her and took her head in my lap. She gave me a look that was so grateful and so contented and I knew then that she wasn’t going anywhere.
There was never another puddle or pile in the house and she stopped chewing on the furniture, although the windowsill still shows a few new tooth marks occasionally. I don’t know if she’ll ever be able to resist food left within her reach, but I’ve learned to keep things on top of the refrigerator or behind closed doors.
Skye has been wonderful for my “Old Man”, Niles. He frolics playfully alongside her when they’re out in the yard and it’s obvious that he adores her as much as I do. Niles also came to me with his name and coincidentally, I live on Niles Road, so maybe there’s something to this “Name Coincidence” stuff.
It’s been a year since I chose to adopt a greyhound because she was named for a favorite song and I sing “Blue Skies” to her every morning as she runs through her repertoire of “Good Dog Tricks”. She “Sits, Shakes and Downs” on command and not for treats or a clicker, she does it all for the pure joy of pleasing me. We had a few weeks of “Blue Days”, but it’s “Nothin’ But Blue Skye from now on.”