by Helen Coleman:
I told myself that I did it for idealistic reasons. I was saving a life. In truth, it was my life that was saved. I was introduced to the greyhounds by friends. They had adopted one and I liked all the good things they had to say about him. I worked with the rescue group every chance I got. When they had their first reunion, we were asked to be guests. Little did I dream I was about to embark on the most bittersweet journey of my life.
We arrived at the reunion very early. As soon as we got out of the car, our friend told us that we had to see the puppies, only 8 weeks old. I walked over to the pen holding the puppies and fell in love.
There was the most beautiful little blue fawn girl I had ever seen. She was a cream color and looked like she had been misted with silver spray paint. She was almost lilac in color. I picked her up and took her to my husband, who had recently been dianosed with a life threatening illness. When I placed the puppy in his arms, his eyes filled with tears. As he nuzzled her small face against his, I walked way to sign the papers. We had our first greyhound!
Misty-Blue was the perfect greyhound. Perfect until she was five months old. At five months, she began to walk in circles. Within days she had been diagnosed with one of the first cases of a dreaded tick borne disease. It was a death sentence. There was no cure or even a name for it at that time.
we had to put her down on the day she turned six months old. Our hearts were broken.
The next week I met Chicy. She was exactly what I said I did not want. She was fawn, a female, had those doe eyes that belonged to Misty Blue. When we met, she ran over and jumped up wrapping her front paws around my waist in a huge hug. How I needed that hug! She had not been adopted out because of this behavior. Well, she needed me so, I got her. As I walked towards my husband and friends he said, “Here comes Helen and” Misty Too”. Our second greyhound had a new name.
Over the next two years, Misty became a very important part of our lives. When my husband became too ill to go out, she was content to curl up next to him on the sofa and cuddle. When the burden got to be too much for me, she was there demanding to play or begging me to go out with her for a walk. Whatever either of us needed, she was there ready to give us encouragement. On the night my husband died, it was Misty who told me he needed me. I was palying cards with my daughter-in-law when Misty came into the dinning room and kept pawing at me. I thought she wanted to go out. When I walked into the living room, I realized that my husband was fading fast. When the Paramedics arrived, it was Misty that supervised their efforts ever so closely. When he yelled out in pain, she placed herself between him and the offending person just ever so slightly showing her teeth. She semed to be saying , “I know you have to do this, but I am watching you so be real careful”!. He died that night, right there with Misty and me close beside him.
I thought my world had come to an end. After being on call twenty four hours a day, I suddenly had nothing to keep me busy. Silly me ! Misty went right to work demanding to play, take walks at strange hours, or just gently nudging my hand when I was deep in thought. No depression for me, I didn’t have time. Misty always had another trick up her snout to keep me going.
After nine years, it was my turn to be strong. Misty was diagnosed with bone cancer. In less than three weeks it had spread to other parts of her body and the dreaded decision had to be made. I held her in my arms, stroking her soft neck, whispering final words of love into her ear. with a wink of her eye and a deep sigh, Misty-too slipped gently into the peace she deserved. I brought her home and put her in her favorite resting place. She now has a garden full of flowers and the buttterflies she enjoyed do much.
It was a bittersweet journey. Would I do it again? YOU BET! In fact, I have three greyhounds living with me right now. None like Misty, but each very special in its own way. Yes, it is painful to lose one of our dear greyhounds. It would have been more painful to have missed the experience of knowing and loving a greyhound.
Why did I adopt a greyhound…….Because I needed one!