Doing it all the hard way...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Puppy dog eyes

Tux lives the life of Riley.  He has retired from the miserable life of a professional racer and now runs only for pleasure.  He chases squirrels in the yard, deer in the Methow or the waves on the beach. His most difficult decisions regard the location of his next nap.

He is adored by children and a worthy ambassador for Greyhounds.
I'm a climber not a crit dog!   (Note the lack of grey in his face)
His racing career was short and unremarkable.  We found his race results online and his first race result was, “Turned in gate.”  He went on to a series of mid-pack finishes in a handful of races. When he pulled a muscle they unceremoniously cut him from the team. 

No tailgating!
Shortly thereafter he left Florida on a truck in a crate with other prisoners. A week or so later he found himself in Washington at a Greyhound rescue shelter.  He wasn’t even two years old yet and life had been nothing but work. 

A year prior we had two happy greyhounds. We lost Zach after a brave fight and then Lily left us suddenly a couple weeks before Tux hit Washington.  We had talked about going dogless for a while but that turned out to be a pointless idea.  I confess I was the one who proclaimed (though seeking concurrence) that it was time to find a new family member.

We looked at a bunch of dogs but Tux seemed to need us more than the others and we liked him as well.  His snout curved to the left but he was so loving that he needed an anomaly to avoid perfection. He was jet black and is was scary how fast he was. His agility left me breathless. 

Although fully grown he had never seen or been through a dog door, had never climbed stairs or seen his food prepared. He had spent every night of his life in a cage. We put him on a leash and he was terrified by passing cars.  We took him to the Volunteer Park Criterium his and he was so scared by the bikes that we put him back in the car where he collapsed in relief. 
 A dog for all seasons
In those first days when I extended my hand to pat him on the head he recoiled and braced thinking I was about to hit him on the head. Aside from his race results I don’t know any of the hard facts about his time on the track, but it must have been terrible.

Hottie was an excellent teacher and Tux was a quick learner.  He has become a wonderful pup.  He is happy to ride in the car which happens a lot. He has great leash manners and loves people, including our grandchildren, and other dogs.  He seldom steal food off of tables or counters and is cautious.

With cats and squirrels he likes to play life or death tag and if Tux wins they lose.  He has gotten away from us and chased deer away and we have concluded that he is being territorial rather than predatory.

His misshapen jaw necessitated some dental surgery a few years ago and he lost some teeth.  His front teeth don’t match up and if you pull back his lips you would see a jack o’ lantern smile. When the teeth don’t get to work as designed bad things happen.

When we picked him up from the vet after that surgery he was clearly mad at us.  He looked at us like we had broken a promise or worse.  He carried that grudge for months.   I guess I was naive to think that he would appreciate that we had just spent hundreds of dollars on his teeth but that was not the case. After he healed up we started brushing his teeth to delay what the vet said was inevitable.  He hates it but submits with stoic dignity though he lets us know he does not enjoy it.
 I like my bed and so does Tux
For two years the vet applauded us for the job we were doing brushing his teeth.  Each year she told us he would keep his teeth for now, but we were only delaying the inevitable.

Though we’ve been brushing his condition had gotten worse over the last year and he was having trouble eating. His breath was bad and I suspect he knew something was coming.  He had been wincing when I brushed his teeth.  Time remains undefeated. 

The inevitable happened today and Tux lost eight teeth; five incisors and three molars. It had been scheduled for almost a month and we’ve been giving him “Sorry Tux” looks all of October.

I wanted to spread the resentment around so Hottie dropped him off for surgery and I picked him up afterwards.  When I saw him his expression was a combination of “Thank God you’re here get me the hell out of here,” and “How could you have forsaken me?”

We brought him home and he went straight to his dish and ate his softened food, went outside and peed then flopped down spent from the experience.  It was hard to tell if his eyes were expressing fear, pain or relief.  

 Puppy dog eyes. 

No comments: