Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How Do I Love You? Let Me Count The Ways...

One thing I often hear new greyhound owners worrying about is whether their new greyhound is happy with them and whether or not they love them.  Greyhounds are a lot like cats in dog suits.  They can be rather aloof and they definitely prefer their creature comforts.  My theory on the latter is that after spending their early years training as athletes, they simply realize how good they have it when they move on to the retirement phase of their lives.  I've been reflecting a bit on how I know that each of my hounds is happy and how they show their affection.

Lilac has always done a rather unique maneuver from the moment I met her.  She will wrap her head around your neck and squeeze.  It's like getting a hug.  I've only seen her do it to my husband and me, but she's always been a homebody, so it's possible she just never met anyone else that she thought was worthy of her affections.  We've taken her to family events and on vacations with us, even on the occasional nursing home visit, but she's never shown that she had the urge to do this to anyone else.  She is also quite fond of coming up to one of us after she eats her dinner, gazing up into our eyes and then belching in our faces.  I believe the translation from houndspeak is "well done, chef".  She came to our house as a foster, but always had it in her head that this was where she'd stay.  Lilac has always been content here.  There's never been one whimper, whine or outburst that suggests this isn't where she wants to be.  She doesn't want our attention or affection all the time, resting like the Queen of Sheba on her bed is a full-time job, but when she does want it, she marches up to one of us and demands it.  You will not read your book, type on your computer, watch television or fuss over another hound until she has gotten her fill.

Blueberry is a bit like her mother in a few aspects.  On occasion she will walk up to you out of the blue and press her head against the center of your chest.  However, she is much quieter and less demanding than Lilac.  In some ways, she's a lot like the typical middle child.  She's very unassuming most of the time.  However, she has this way of coming to just be with you in quiet moments.  I will look over on the couch and find that she's curled up beside me.  She's the least demonstrative of our girls and yet, I think she's the most attentive.  If I'm having a bad day, the others will give me space, but Blueberry is the one seeks me out.   She has a way of watching us that is difficult to describe, but she's like a sentinel.  Even when she's asleep, she seems to know where we are and what we're doing.  She can wake up and immediately find us.  There's also the fact that she seems to feel that she lives to amuse us.  Blueberry loves to see us happy and when we are, she is, too.  If we aren't, she is pensive, waiting to see what can make it better.

Bunny doesn't hold anything back.  In the first year she was here, she was constantly where I was.  In the past few months, that has relaxed some, but she still prefers to be closer to me than anyone else.  She prefers to lay beside me on the couch so that we are touching, but there are times she lays down on a dog bed, too.  However, if my husband sits beside me on the couch, she is up there immediately, exerting her cuteness to get him to move over and let her be in the middle.  If Blueberry climbs up on the couch with me, she frets, either watching observantly from the nearest bed until Blueberry moves or standing on the floor, gazing at me intently.  If it's at all possible, she will climb up in the middle of the couch between us.  Bunny's affection shows through her possessiveness and also in her eagerness to please us.  If she gets in trouble and we raise our voices to her, she is crushed until she can make it right again. 

None of our greyhounds has ever shown us their affection in the same way, but we've seen it from all of them.  Treat and Hawk had their own ways of demonstrating it as well.  I think the most important thing to seeing affection from your greyhound, or any dog, really, is to really know him or her.  Some take longer to show the signs than others and some of us learn to read the signs slower than other people, too.  Whether you're greeted when you come home by an explosion of a happy dance of joy or a gentle tail wag, the message is still the same.  The most beautiful greyhound in the world is always the one on your own couch and that's also the hound who loves you the best. 

Blueberry Types for the Blog


  1. We are all different. Some of us are snugglers and some not. But we love our humans best when they just love us for who we are.


  2. "Cats in dog suits" ... cute! We used to say our Pooh Bear was a dog in a cat suit because she would come when called and followed us around just like the vizslas do.

  3. That just goes to show how unique each animal is. Very nice entry Hound. =)

  4. What a lovely post! You're right, of course, they all show their affection in different ways, but even the least demonstrative does show it.

    My lovely little Jack (who couldn't bear to be held or fussed over) used to 'huff' at us when we stroked him and heave sighs, and if he was especially pleased or affectionate, he would shiver with happiness, and Sid does that, too. Renie would just push herself at us, and wiggle her nose into our hands or under our arms, or even between our legs - and Sid does that, too! Jim was just one happy dog, happy dances and roos for him. Sid doesn't roo, but he does the happy dance. Susan was the paw queen - so was Renie - and Sid does that too.

    Guess that means that Sid is one demonstrative, happy hound, huh?

  5. This is wonderful! It is so great when you get to know the dog well enough to pick up on those little things that really do make a difference.

    The maltese I had before Rugby was very cat like, and opposite Rugby in just about every way. She was also my first dog, and it took me a loong time to figure her out. We "clicked" though once I did. I miss her a lot!

  6. Good, informative post...
    Each of my Labs demonstrate their love differently too...

  7. I wish I could not relate to the belch move...

  8. That was so sweet. All of my pets are show effection differently too, but none of them have ever burped in my face!!! Maybe I'm not a good cook... LOL

  9. In some cultures the belch move is a sign of affection.

  10. Lovely post. We all have our own special way of showing affection too. Sir Bear just likes to sleep in the same room where everyone is - I like to snuggle and get belly rubs - and Higgins, well he's just Higgins.

    Emma Rose

  11. I love the way that each of my guys shows their love/happiness in a different way, but are still lazy greyhounds in the same way.

  12. Thank you for sharing this. It's so true about new greyhound owners. For months after we brought her home, I would ask my husband if he thought our Schotzy was happy. Now I get a full-on happy dance when I come home, and I recognize the little drip of snot on my knee, shoulder, foot, or even in my shoe as a sign of affection.


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