You who know me know I tend to ramble…I’m gonna try to keep it together to give you an idea of what it must have been like for Cosmo Mahalo to come up from Melbourne FL yesterday…I don’t know that any of this is true but think of it in human terms and you may understand why “greyhounds are skittish” or “greyhounds are special needs dogs”…and, by the way, I think neither of those are true…they are dogs. Loving dogs. Period.
So, while we met Cosmo Mahalo at around 9 PM at a truck stop on route 95, she began her day much earlier – most days they’re up at oh-dark-thirty for their first “pee” break. She was traveling yesterday so instead of the normal breakfast, she got a snack. She would only have noticed she didn’t get as much food as usual. The rest of the day started the same.
Early in the afternoon, her spot in the 20 bay hauler piloted by our contact at the Melbourne track was prepped for the trip. Most done in the days that lead up to the trip, but water (with electrolytes) and such “perishables” would be put in the bays and upon time to load up, each dog was loaded into the hauler with his or her bay-mate. Then, the trip begins.
So, a retired racer isn’t like your dog. She has been in a moving hauler, but not usually for 6 hours. If she came to Melbourne from a northern or western farm or track, she might have been in a hauler that long…probably doesn’t really remember it. Let’s kinda tell this part from her perspective.
After potentially sleeping for 6 hours (hopefully), the hauler pulls to a stop. There’s talking outside. Some of the dogs whine, cry or occasionally let out a yelp to announce they want to get out! I’m awake and excited…the bay door opens and out I pop…while my bay-mate doesn’t follow! Now some new faces are in my face – taking off my muzzle and slipping a new collar over my head. It’s tight. Not the way I remember collars being at the track. There’s lots of commotion – and some nice soul walks me to a grassy area where I can pee, and walk, and pee, and sniff…I’m waiting for other dogs to join me.
My friend who helped me get this far…I love him…is getting in the truck and leaving. All these new people hover! Wait…now these new people stick me with a REALLY SHARP object. Twice! It hurts and I couldn’t help but let out a little cry. (Little does she know that the microchip contained in that sharp object is a GOOD thing).
Walking, attention, new faces and new friends….and then all of a sudden…they want me to get in this THING. It’s a thing that doesn’t look like any thing I’ve ever seen. A quick sniff of the contents of the thing indicates another dog has been in…so maybe not so bad. I can jump UP into the thing. Such an easy thing gets lots of praise…but I’m still nervous.
Then the new people get in the thing too…but they’re so far away! I have to GET TO THEM. I can can. Just squeeze through this tiny space on the side of this barrier…can…get…through…except…this…one…last…leg…STUCK.
The people helped me escape from my stuck-ness…but they want me to get back in the thing. No way. Been there, done that. No getting back in. Nope. Not happening. Not no treat, no loving…no sniffing of the other dog…NOT-GETTING-BACK-IN…darn. They can pick me up. Back in.
What’s really weird is, this thing moves just like the place I was with my bay-mate…but it’s louder, and larger, and these new people are with me. And, I really REALLY want to be with them. I’ll try to escape again. Wait, there’s a space on the other side. Blocked. Back to the original space. Blocked. I can try over the top of this wall…blocked. I’m looking all around and it seems like we’re moving. Quick, try again…around one side. Then the other…no. Blocked…but this new person kisses me and calls me a sweetie, and Mahalo, and princess. I want to kiss her back. Yup. I kiss her back. And I try to get in the same space she is in again. Blocked. Try the other side. Blocked. Back to this side. Blocked. I can climb over the top. Darn. Blocked again. Sheesh. I’m tired. Think I’ll lie down. Wait a SECOND. Something smells like food…I can eat this thing I smell…and another…I’m so hungry…more of these food-like things rain from the heaven…mmmmm….more….food. I love this. I’m kissing again.
It stops! The moving stops! Thank you THANK YOU. I’m not moving anymore in this thing. And…it’s open. Now there are new people to love me. I’m beautiful. They tell me so. I’ve heard that a lot. I’ll have to figure out what that means. There’s grass. I can pee again. And now a new spot……….and….more NEW PEOPLE. And places to investigate. Hard things, soft things…and this funny thing that is talking but I don’t see a being…just voice and motion. Wait, there’s another place to investigate. Where does this go? Ohhh…some nice smells. And, I think I can go…no…wait…there’s more GRASS out here! Awesome! These silly new people keep following me, but they keep saying how awesome I am and whatever I do is great. Back thru this opening and it’s warmer. The people keep telling me how good I am, and pretty…hope it means more food!
I sniff at this weird thing that wobbles and then crashes down on me…and when I try to get away from it, I slip. I slip on these slippery floors…but, I’m up. Hope they don’t notice…
My new friend that walked me away from the hauler says “goodbye” to me. Wonder what that means? And….then they’re gone…those people that helped me get to this new place. Wow. People go a lot. Wonder what that means.
Yeah, a little hokey, but you get the picture. This is all in a 24 hour period. Yesterday she knew exactly what her life was. Up at 5. Pee. Romp a bit, breakfast. Back in the crate. Sleep in the crate until it’s time to pee again. Back in the crate. Out to pee and romp again. Then, dinner. Maybe a final pee for the night. Lights out. And, it’s 5 am up again the next day.
Until everything changes. And NOTHING is the same. How would you do if your entire life were changed in 24 hours. Everything you knew is gone and you know nothing anymore.
So it takes a few days for a dog to chill down. You live the life of a greyhound retiring. Just once. Without prozac.