Greyhound Intuition

November 27, 2010

Okay, so if you’re a dog lover, you’ll agree with me. Dogs KNOW things. Like when I was pregnant with my first, our Lab mix knew and immediately went into protect the Alpha dog (me) mode.

And it’s never taken long for our dogs to realize what a suitcase or my DH’s seabag means. But none have tickled me like our greyhound Cassie and her recent behavior. So DH is getting ready to ship out–yes, he will miss Christmas (and New Years, and our anniversary, and Valentine’s Day) but we’re used to it–and he gets out his seabag to wash any clothes he brought home, take inventory so he knows what to buy, and to repack it. Well, Cassie quietly (and believe me, she is very quiet even by greyhound standards) sneaks over and takes one of his shirts. This is not anything unusual–I usually will find discarded clothes (my youngest’s socks in particular) tucked away in her open crate. Greyhounds are notorious nesters and hoarders. So I reach in and take back the shirt.

About an hour later my DH calls upstairs and says that Cassie took a stuffed Christmas Mouse into the crate with her. This too is not unusual because stuffed animals left on the ground are fair game (and these usually aren’t just hoarded, they are chewed if she’s bored enough). But this mouse in question was sitting on a stereo speaker–yes, eye level with her and right outside her crate, but she’d left it alone for more than a week. So I say to DH–she’s mad at me! She’s mad I took your shirt!

So as the day goes on, she starts sneaking his clothes into her crate with her–underwear (really gross), socks, shirts… you name it. She’s laying on top of it and nesting. So then DH offers to put in his old pair of sneakers–he’s just bought some for his upcoming trip–because she doesn’t chew them, she’ll just lay with them. He tucks them in under her bed. Well, like the princess and the pea, she digs one out, puts it on top of the bed and curls up around it!

Cassie has been loving on DH for the past few days. She comes out to get pet and loved on and won’t leave him alone. This is cute and all but here’s the problem. I am not a touchy-feely pet owner. In the days that follow DH shipping out, Cassie gets a little lonely and expects me to pick up the slack. My oldest daughter was the same way! DH would ship out and suddenly my child wanted to be held or played with 24/7. Okay, before you think I’m some callous person, keep this in mind: when DH is home, he’s home; he doesn’t work(except for me) so my children and my dog are used to interaction with an adult at all times. So when T1 was younger I would literally have to stop everything (laundry, housework, freelancing, etc.) for a week to interact and hold until weaned off of the constant interaction. In Cassie’s case we thought maybe she needed a playmate.

Hence the attempt to adopt a second greyhound. That’s for another blog. Let’s just say, Cassie didn’t want another greyhound. Or at least the other greyhound didn’t want to come in and play second fiddle to Cassie’s Alpha status. So after “fostering” Andie for a few months and paying her dental bills, we returned her for adoption and I’m happy to say she is doing fabulous as the Alpha for a single older man.

Anyway, it should be interesting to see how Cassie behaves when DH really does leave this time. We’ve had her for 2 years and this is the first time she’s really reacted to DH getting ready. Thankfully T1 does better now that T2 is here to interact with. The key to helping Cassie is to play her outside until she’s exhausted. Hard to do in the winter though.

(Originally blogged in 2007. Reposting to get this blog started. DH is currently out to sea this Christmas as well.)

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