- 5 years ago
- Wedding: April 2018
In my life, I’ve been taught to avoid taking on used or previously owned items, simply because when it comes down to it, what you’re buying is other’s people’s problems, mistakes or just total lack of attention….and for the most part, I have avoided such things with success….but in the summer of 2008, I went against all of that and took on a retired racing greyhound, who had been spinning the circuit of the Pueblo Greyhound Park with no small amount of success, at the urging of my newly minted husband, we made a trip South to the foster family to take a look.
Described by the foster family as, “Annoyingly Clingy”
Described by the adoption counselor as, “A Beast”
Described by the racing kennel as, “A Brawler”
I had no idea what to expect, but what I saw, lifting his leg almost elegantly on a nearby bush with a squeak toy sticking comically out of his mouth….was my dog. Black as pitch and nothing but muscle, the dog seemed to know just who we were, and trotted to the car with us, hardly paying the people that had watched him till now a second glance.
It was the beginning of an era, Cairo, as we decided to call him, completed the dog pack that would become known simply as, “The 99 Boys”…it was the Golden Age of Hobbes, and Cairo as it turned out, was the other half of Simba’s unusually tender soul….the daily life of our small home spun on the needs and habits of our darling dogs, and life was good for this married couple starting out.
Revealing how very strange and obstinant he was from the start, Cairo was difficult to housebreak, terrible at sharing, a nervous eater, a light sleeper and a rather accomplished thief. At the same time though, he was gentle, quiet, almost goofily happy and exuded a potent affection that echoed in the house as he galloped through it.
And yet, as out of place as this lanky creature was in our home among the furniture and paintings, he was at his best and came so very sharply into focus, when he ran….a finely built machine of flexing muscles, graceful stride and unearthly speed…it was a beautiful sight to witness and from now until the day I die, I’ll carry the memory of him and our niece, playing in the back yard, a pink parasol in her hand, and Cairo running around her stopping on a dime to dart past her as the wind fluttered around them both in that tiny, perfect moment one lovely summer day.
Days trickled into weeks, weeks bled into months and before I could even take time to notice, it had been five years, five years of being a wife, five years of making life work, losing Hobbes, healing my Mom, helping my husband….and like paint chipping off the low hood of some insanely fast roadster, white and silver hair dominated my stately hound who used to be as black as oil….still strong, still fast, still the gorgeous aloof creature that managed to snub most of our house guests while favoring others with obsessive affection….the miles were starting to show.
He ran less, slept more, arthritic knots were growing in the legs that had carried him so very far, so very fast…but he never lost a trick, never missed a beat….
That sweet machine he’d relied on for so long, the perfect combination of brawn and grace…failed him. And because I refused to let him linger, to be trapped in a car with flat tires just so he could wait for something else to go wrong….I cut him loose.
My brave boy did me proud and eased my heart, in his final moment, he lurched, as if he were back on the track and the door had flung open from this world to the next…racing for the clearing….finished with this place…
I don’t expect to run across Cairo again, until my own time on this Earth is through, some souls are so perfectly suited, so completely loved, that’s there’s no need to return, no business to finish…if there’s any justice to it, he’ll hardly know I was missing until I arrive….and then fly to me, like a falcon to its mistress.
Until then, they’re out of the gate….Size Them Up is in the lead……