Tuesday, October 18, 2011

three years with gravy

Three years ago today, we adopted Gravy and were initiated into a special club: we became greyhound people. I can't imagine my life without Gravy, and yet I can't believe he's already been a part of our family for three years.
It's true that all greyhounds are special dogs - if you've never met a retired racer, you're missing out. In spite of their questionable pasts on the racetrack, retired greyhounds are the most gentle, quiet, loyal, and loving dogs you could ask for. They say that greyhounds are like chips - you can't have just one. And while I can't imagine my life without a greyhound in it, I know we hit the jackpot with Gravy on the first try - we already have the best one.
Gravy runs.
October 18, 2008 - Gravy's new home.
Gravy and me, October 19, 2008 - the day after his adoption.
Gravy's second day - "Helllllooooo, ladies!" (Well, make yourself at home, big boy!)
Within a couple weeks, he had the whole retirement thing down pat. "Sunshine on my weiner? Yes, please!"
gravy - christmas 2008
Gravy's first Christmas. Spoiled rotten. "Who? Me?"
gravy and larry
Gravy and Larry running, March 2009. "Try and keep up with me, doughboy!"
Gravy on the beach. Outer Banks, May 2009.
I struggle to put my feelings about Gravy into words. He is a very very special dog. Sweet, calm, smart, observant, and a bit aloof - yet he has a great sense of humor and a silly streak. He loves new experiences, loves seeing the world and meeting people, and is always ready for the next adventure...
nags head 2011
gravy and the deer
ellanor c. lawrence park
gravy takes a dip
gravy and banjo
gravy the moose
skinny dipping
gravy rocks the red
Snow Frisbee!
gravy v. spider
"Don't worry, Mama - I'll protect you from this big scary spider!"

Here's the story of Gravy's adoption, which I wrote on his first Gotcha Day:

On October 18, 2008, we made our way to Greyt Expectations Greyhound Rescue in Lusby, Maryland. I'll admit that as soon as I walked into Greyhound Central and saw all the crated dogs, a certain red fawn (then known as Boc's Baby Blush), who had come down from Seabrook Greyhound Park (a racetrack in New Hampshire) that morning, immediately caught my eye. Not only was he gorgeous - he was HUGE. He was the first dog we test walked and he dragged me all over the place. Larry immediately said, "You cannot have that dog - no way! He's WAY too big for you." We tried all the other dogs and while they were all sweet, none seemed like quite the right fit. I said to Larry, "Let's give the big red one another chance. I think we were the first people to walk him. Maybe it was just sensory overload for him." He was better on the second test walk and I said to Larry, "This is the one."

We met another couple looking to adopt a dog, and the wife said to me about Gravy, "That dog has some fire in his belly!" But he was ours. We loaded him up in the car and on the ride home our big red pup reached his paw between the front seats to ask for more petting. Turns out the dog with the fire in his belly was the sweetest and most loving pup we ever could've asked for.

And now for a confession. I've been a dog person my whole life. Larry had never had a dog, and if he wasn't with me, it probably never would've occurred to him to get a dog. However, he knew that not getting a dog would've been a deal breaker for me! I was dreaming about getting a dog before we had even bought our house. I think Larry thought he would tolerate an animal companion, but he was unprepared for the fact that he would love a dog. Well, it was after only a week of having 
Gravy in our home that I caught Larry whispering into Gravy's ear "I love you, Gravy." Every morning and every night when Larry comes home from work, he calls Gravy over for a "hug" and Gravy trots over and loops his head through Larry's arm and leans against him for a good rub. When I asked Larry when he had become such a dog person, he replied "But Gravy's special! I don't even think of him as a dog. He has so much personality - I feel like I really understand him. Other dogs just seem like dogs." I laughed and explained that that is what happens when you have your OWN dog - and that everyone feels that way about THEIR dog!

Thank you, 
Gravy, for showing Larry what it truly means to love (and be loved by) a dog. Thank you for making us a family. We love you more than you'll ever understand.
me and gravy

Me and Gravy . February 2009
shenandoah"Look, Mom! I made it to the top!"
(My boys at Hawksbill Summit - the highest peak in Shenandoah. September 2009.)


Sarah Rosemary said...

Oh, Rachel, this post made my heart melt! I just love Gravy! He is so handsome - and super lucky to have you and Larry for parents :) I hope to meet him sometime! What a sweetie.

Pickles and Dimes said...

Oh, I love Gravy! This post was so sweet. I laughed out loud at all of the photos where Gravy has his mouth wide open - hee!

This post is perfectly timed. Today or tomorrow I'm going to post an entry on our 3rd year with Shorty (as soon as I find some photos!).

Karen Travels said...

I am not a dog person yet, but if I have a house and when my son is ready, I want a boxer. Someday I will be a dog person.

On an unrelated note, I am not on twitter, but I saw on your sidebar you asked about Barney's ducky tie. Barney lost a bet with Lily and Marshall. It was Marshall's tie. They bet he couldn't be a hibachi grill master at a japanese restaurant, which he hates. If he won he got to touch Lily's boobs, if he lost he had to wear the tie for a year!

Karin said...

what a sweet dog...and quite pretty too! i wish i could have a dog but my apartment doesn't allow them. :(

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Thanks everyone - I realize this post was a bit sappy, but I'm glad to have so many readers who are dog people and understand where I'm coming from!

@Shauna - Can't wait to read about Shorty's third year!

@Karen - Dogs are great hiking companions! When we were learning about greyhounds, we were told that some of them aren't good for hiking (because greyhounds are sprinters not endurance dogs), but Gravy loves hiking with us more than anything in the world. He gets impatient if we stop to rest. I think he would keep walking until his feet bleed and/or he keeled over and died.

Sarah Rooftops said...

Oh, what a lovely post! It made me go all squishy.

I'm a cat person, but I have a really similar tale of giving my boyfriend almost no choice about getting a cat, him reluctantly going along with it, and now him absolutely doting on "his little girl". Friends who've known him since he was little can't believe he's the same man when they see him with the cat!

nrussell said...

Ohhhh Gravy!! What a sweet boy! I adore him already! So.. I came across your blog looking up trail mix recipes. One of your Christmas posts popped up. I admit now, I can't remember what was in the trail mix or anything, or recall seeing it actually. As soon as I saw the photo of your sweet Gravy helping to open gifts I had forgotten the trail mix. I read through your Christmas post and giggled at their toy trail leading to their beds while you were gone. Too cute. :) then I clicked on over today looking for more cute pup pics. I found your fabulous designs! Wow - beautiful and I really love the new octopus cards. Back to Gravy, I did a search to see more of his handsome face. I just LOVE the story of how you adopted him. I live in NH only a few miles from the seabrook track and I can't believe that sweet boy made it down to Maryland - so glad he did. That really struck a chord seeing that he came from NH. I volunteer for one of our local greyhound groups and we are bringing lots of hounds up from Florida right now. I love how Gravy stole your husbands heart. That's what happened to me too. I was never a dog person really. Never had dogs growing up. One day I met a friends greyhound named Rufus and that was it. It wasn't for several years that I was able to adopt my own greyhound but I knew from the moment I met Rufus that I loved Greyhounds! I adopted Buck in 2005 and he was with me until he passed away last year. He was the BEST. As hounds tend to be. Coming across your blog really made my day and so I just had to drop a note. You photos of Gravy (both pups!) are beautiful. What a handsome fellow. I'll be bookmarking your link and I'll be back to follow along! Really love you designs as well.

nrussell said...

p.s. if you'd like to see a few photos of my Buck you can do so here:


Funnelcloud Rachel said...

nrussell - Thanks so much for your nice comment - I love meeting other greyhound people! I don't even have any recipes for trail mix on my blog (sorry about that!) - so it's funny that you ended up here! (We do like to hike and I mention trails a lot - so maybe that's why.) Clearly, Gravy is the star of my blog since I have more posts in The Pups category than any other category. ;) Gravy was actually in the last group of dogs rescued from Seabrook before it closed. Now our rescue group gets dogs from Florida since so many of the tracks in New England have shut down over the past few years.

Your Buck was a beautiful beautiful boy (I love his ears) and I'm so sorry for your loss!

nrussell said...

That must have been it - the trails maybe. I kept scrolling and didn't find it but was quickly distracted so I didn't really look that hard. :) Lucky day for me though your photos are so beautiful! Such gorgeous and fun shots of your pups. Does Gravy swim in your pool often? I'm really enjoying reading and checking out the archives. I already added it to my favorite bookmarks. :)

I'm so glad that the hound groups fom all over are still able to help. It's good to hear.

You may like to check out Hazels blog if you like to meet other hounds (and we all do, don't we - Greyhound people are the best!). She was adopted last year. It's fun to follow along as she gets accustomed to retired life.

Thanks for sharing all your lovely photos and stories!