Mila Grey has been with us for two months now and has completely changed our lives in that time. While I had done a whole heap of research into greyhounds before deciding to adopt one from GAP in October, and I knew that dog ownership requires commitment (and patience!!), nothing really prepared me for what was ahead.
Greyhounds have a reputation as calm, relaxed and almost lazy dogs. I like to think of them as the Cheetahs of the canine world - up for a sprint one minute, but perfectly content with spending the rest of the day asleep on a couch, or in a corner, oblivious to what is going on around them. They are also very self-motivated. If you want them to do something for you, there needs to be something in it for them - be it a treat, a pat or a run around the park. Mila, our 3-yr old, 30 kg, black girl can be just like that when she wants to be but tends not to stick to the traditional greyhound mould too closely.
First off, she is big for a female greyhound. She stands taller than many of her female companions (and some males) - and she knows it. In unfamiliar situations, she will draw up to her full height, extend her neck and straighten her legs in an attempt to overshadow anything in her path. Not particularly difficult when that thing is a sparrow or a leaf!
She is also a bit slow. And by that, I mean "not fast" rather than "a bit dim". While there is absolutely no question that she could outrun me, her racing career was a bit less of a success. During her career on the track, she raced 26 times in Cambridge, Auckland and Wanganui (ending in July 2011) - with a string of fourths to her name and her best showing a third placing in November 2010. How did she manage third, you ask? Not by outright speed but by barging the dog in front of her out of the way with her broad shoulders and cutting him off on the home straight. I have seen the DVD evidence and that is exactly how it went down. But anyway, a Place is a Place in my book! Unfortunately, she paid no dividends as there were only 5 other dogs in the field, a factor which probably also contributed to her third placing.
Mila makes short work of one of her favourite soft toys!
Finally, Mila doesn't appear to be a huge fan of sleep. She is up and about at all hours of the day, trotting behind us, exploring the house/washing basket/bench top/Christmas tree/bathroom. We both work full-time during the week, so we don't know exactly what she gets up to while we are away during the day (we would love to install a web cam to record a day of her journey around the house!!), but there are constant signs of rummaging, lick marks, torn boxes, open doors and squeaky toys hidden all over the show which suggest that the Cheetah is actually more inquisitive than we originally thought she might be. It is a learning curve for all of us, and while she does not usually chew things that aren't hers and is not a destructive dog, coming home to find a box of tea bags strewn about the lounge, complete with the bags shredded to pieces and tea leaves all over the place always makes for an interesting afternoon...