“Women and cats do as they damned well please, and men and dogs had best learn to live with it.” ~ Alan Holbrook
I’m taking a diversion from my customary themes to talk about dogs. I am a dog lover with no dog at home, while my wife – the cat lover – has three cats she adores and that I get to feed, bathe and clean up after. We used to have a dog when our youngest son lived at home. However, when Zach moved out we quickly learned our lifestyle was unfair to the dog. We soon adopted her out to a great situation where she lives today. Still, we talk about getting a dog when we retire, so at times I find myself considering all the available dog breeds to see which might be best for us when the time comes.
I’ve come to understand that a lot of people choose dogs that look like them. It’s true!
I don’t know if this is by chance, or intended…but I’m pretty sure I don’t want any dog that resembles my looks in any way. A dog best suited for us, I think, would be a dog who was a “behavioral match” — you know, one that was also “retired” from a former life to match our retirement from the corporate treadmill. During this research I stumbled upon a website featuring retired racing Greyhounds:
The author of this page, Lee Livengood offers “Ten Reasons NOT to Adopt a Retired Racing Greyhound,” along with the companion piece “Ten Reasons You Should Adopt a Retired Racing Greyhound.”
From Lee’s piece I quickly came to realize that I, like a lot of other Boomer husbands, have a lot in common with the retired racing Greyhound, so this might just be the breed for us. So here in my own slanted way I offer for your consideration the “10 Ways Your Man is Like a Retired Racing Greyhound:”
1. They shed.
Yes!. Need proof? Check the drain in the shower, or his hairbrush. He doesn’t use a brush, or a comb? Then he’s all shed out! The only difference is that your man’s hair doesn’t end up in your food as much as the dog’s.
2. No matter how gentle they look, both are still large, to very large, creatures.
This size issue is more apparent when you get either of them overly excited. An untrained 45-95 pound Greyhound may knock down smaller children, while your overly excited 250 pound man-child may knock you down trying to get to the car when you suggest going out for a beer, or a few lines of bowling!
3. Men, Dogs, and lawns are not great combos.
Greyhounds love to run and while they don’t need a lot of exercise, when they run they will destroy your landscaping. Men like riding lawnmowers regardless of the size of lawn they mow. No patch is too small for that new John Deere D120! And given their druthers, both man and dog would do their business outside, which will certainly kill off the grass in small, obvious patches.
4. Both make messes.
Even the best mannered, best trained dog gets sick occasionally – which is no picnic to clean up. And the best mannered, best trained husband will take a home improvement project to 90% complete, abandon it, and start on the next project!
5. Both want love, and Greyhounds need soft, warm places to rest.
If you want a dog/man you can house outdoors or if you can’t stand the idea of either of them on your bed or furniture, then maybe the single life is for you! Greyhounds are not suited to living outdoors and their bony joints need padding and a soft warm place to rest. Men seem to cope sleeping on the hard, damp ground with little between them and Terra Firma but a 4 mil. sheet of plastic and a sleeping bag.
6. If you don’t have time for a ______, chances are you don’t have time for a ______.
Both man and Greyhound are social animals that need physical and mental stimulation. And just because both are quiet, often-times gentle, doesn’t mean they don’t need training. Training the dog isn’t about obedience as much as it’s about forming a trusting relationship; while training your man is more centered around sorting the laundry, proper loading of the dishwasher, and vacuuming the carpet in that special way that leaves the nice marks in the pile.
7. Your man, your dog, and your best friends are not as compatible as Hollywood would have you believe.
Of course it’s nice to have the BFF’s over and show off how well you’ve trained Buster to refill drinks, fetch hors d’oeuvres, and sit quietly while you exchange gossip. However, once they catch a glimpse of your Greyhound and his slim physique, soft, sleek skin and next-to-nothing body fat percentage – they will be on you like fruit flies to give up his dieting secrets and exercise regimen!
8. Just because your lifestyle and interests change doesn’t mean you can abandon your man or dog like a used toy.
Job changes, relocations, and new babies happen. If you can’t be as close-to-certain as humanly possible that your husband will be part of your life for all of his life, don’t let him get too attached to the dog!
9. Both are easy to live with but they do have special needs.
A Greyhound’s lack of body fat, long thin bones, fragile skin, and sensitive soul means they need protection from extremes of temperature, rough environments, and inappropriate handling. If your husband is long of limb and has a body-fat percentage similar to the Greyhound, well…I guess a little inappropriate handling is to be expected!
10. Adding a retired racer should never be an impulsive gesture.
While both man and Greyhound may have run track at a peak time in their lives, don’t take them in because you feel sorry for them – or because having them around the house and underfoot is fashionable. Well fed, both will love you unconditionally, and the man is good to have on hand to pick up the surprises the dog will leave lying around in the backyard.Author’s Note: I have the utmost respect and admiration for those kind souls who volunteer countless hours rescuing animals of all breeds from abusive, neglectful, or misunderstood situations. And while I’ve taken licence to have some fun with one such animal, the retired racing Greyhound, I applaud the efforts of hundreds of people who are finding and taking in these majestic “best friends,” and giving them the care, love and life they have missed out on. If you can, please find a way to offer your support to an animal rescue organization in your area. Thank you! ~ Lane