I have always had dogs, even when I was a tyke. However it took until well after I moved out until I became enamored by dogs. It mainly started when I was dating a woman who had show Mastiff’s. I learned how wonderful those giants were, and I was hooked.
I started with Astro, a big English Mastiff boy who was my constant companion for nearly ten years.
He was about 180#’s and was a real love. Mellow, yet he loved to play. Everyone who met Astro fell immediately in love with him.
My mother also loved Astro, and wanted a big boy like that for herself. The breeder of Mastiffs also had a couple of Hungarian Agars (Greyhounds), and had an “oops” litter of puppies (Mastiff dad, Greyhound Mom), so we took one of the puppies for my parents. Names Shamus, he was built like a greyhound, but he had a monster head. A little hard headed, he was a love at heart, but was somewhat insane from having to deal with my mother’s parrots.
While I was living in south San Jose, we met a lady who had two retired Greyhounds, Paul and Noble. Astro and the greyhounds were best buddies almost instantly, playing in the grassy common area.
My interest in Greyhounds was piqued.
Then we were moved to Tucson Arizona for work in 2003. This was a pretty big change, and it was fortuitious. We took Astro and Shamus, the mix of mastiff and greyhound with us. Alas, Astro crossed the rainbow bridge in July 2003, and Shamus was crushed. His best friend in the world was gone. It took about 6 months for us to be ready for a new dog, but Shamus was really sad, and needed a buddy. Tucson, being a city with a still operating dog track, had a Greyhound rescue organization, who took dogs from the track and placed them in homes. Arizona Greyhound Rescue, or AGR, was our first (and last) stop. We went to one meet and greet, and I found Oliver.
Oliver was a male, who never raced. He was a fraidy-cat, and his temperment pretty much prevented him from even getting on the track. At 18 months old, his owner handed him over to AGR. A skittish brindle male, he was a bit of a handful at first, but he bonded with me immediately. He grew into a great dog, and was the constant companion of Shamus.
Oliver blossomed and opened up in his 6 years with us. He lost most of his skittishness around men, and really was a Bro’.
In 2008, we lost Shamus. He was almost 13 years old, a great age for such a large dog. Heartbroken, we knew we needed a second hound to be a home. A quick check of the AGR site, and we found our next dog, Garrett. Straight off the track, he was a boy, he was brindle, and he was perfect for us.
Garrett also was about the cutest dog on the planet. He just knew what would invoke the “awww” response.
Garrett leapt into our hearts, and our home, filling a big void. He was the polar opposite of Oliver. Where Oliver was skittish, and reserved, Garrett was open and outgoing. He loved children, people and other dogs. Immediately he settled in, and got into the groove.
Life was going well, the boys had acclimated to each other, and even seemed to be inseparable.
Of course, this isn’t a fairy tale, and we knew something was wrong when Oliver pulled up lame after a mild run ad the dog park. Alas, just after his 8th birthday, he developed osteosarcoma of his right front leg, and about 5 weeks later we lost him.
That rent a hole in our hearts as well as in our home. We were devastated, the disease was so fast, and so devastating we were floored.
Naturally, we were not to remain with a single hound long. One Saturday, we got a call from an AGR volunteer. She had heard about Oliver, and she was aware of a hound that had been suffering in the care of a different greyhound group. He had raced 8 times, breaking his right rear hock, and going into a long recovery. This group shared kennels with AGR, and this volunteer watched the life seep out of this boy who was int he kennel for over 9 months. So she snatched him up, and brought him to us.
This is how we got Tate. Tate, another large brindle boy, about two and a half years old, was full of energy, and instantly settled in. As friendly and outgoing as Garrett, he also loves kids, people, and other dogs.
So our house is complete. We have two greyhounds, the perfect number, and they are best buds. The neighbor kids all swarm to us, and love on the boys. We are “those greyhound people” wherever we live.
We both volunteer with a greyhound adoption group (I will write about that later), and we dote on our furkids.