by Lori Amato
Since the dawn of the time we have looked to nature as a way of understanding our world and sometimes as a way to forecast the future. The ancient Romans used augury (prophetic divining of the future by observation of natural phenomena) which included reading messages in sacrificed animal entrails to watching the sky for different cloud formations. Many cultures believed animals to be Guides and Teachers. In the Native American tradition, animals like the Bear, the Wolf, the Raven were all believed to have special medicine” (anything that improves one’s connection to the Great Mystery and to all life).
Our greyhounds help us in this magical way of viewing our world with its connections to ancient cultures. The greyhound, the lion and the he-goat are mentioned by Solomon in his Proverbs (ch.xxx vol. 30) as three things which “go well”. Greyhounds moved with humankind to Greece, and on to England continuing the tradition of being an expert hunter. When the value of hunting became less of a boon, the greyhound became the poor man’s racehorse. Researching this breed can also help us to learn how to be adaptable and move from place to place and retain our own integrity wherever we may go.
Greyhounds teach us about when to move and when to relax. Who better to teach us than the “sprinter” of the dog world? We should realize that when great amounts of energy are expended, time must be taken to recharge our batteries.
Greyhounds are hunters classified as “sight hounds”. They are one of the few types of dog that will complete the entire task of hunting. They chase down the game, kill it, and return it to their handlers. This trait is an example of how we can learn to complete entire tasks rather than merely fulfilling a small role or procrastinating. This “doing it all” attitude can help us live our lives in a “gestalt” as well.
They teach us how to stand still, survey the landscape, and see movement from a distance. Imitation of this trait can give us the ability to see opportunities that others may not see because they are moving too fast. We can also use it to “see” trouble coming and take the proper steps to avoid it or lessen its effects.
Greyhounds can teach us about the physical body having no real basis on winning ability. Most track greyhound breeders do not breed for conformation. Perhaps they should but they do not in most cases. The greyhound’s ability to win comes from its heart and its “WILL” to win.
These noble dogs teach us about healing. When we reach out to help others of their kind or partner with them to bring joy and healing to those who are ill (therapy dogs) we are transformed into healers.
Greyhounds teach us about love and forgiveness. In spite of what happens to them on occasion after their racing careers, they become wonderful family pets. It is the nature of these dogs to give until their hearts run out. This loyalty and devotion gives us hope for humanity.
Is it possible in this highly confusing computerized age in which we live that we can still look to animals as teachers and guides? You bet. Greyhounds have led the way for me over the years and everywhere I follow something magic happens.
“Augury” – online article, Britannica.Com
Medicine Cards – Jamie Sams & David Carson, Bear & Company, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1988