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Friday, February 5, 2010

A Very Special Treat

A while back, I mentioned that an essay I had written was chosen to be in Celebrating Greyhounds.  They were looking for stories about how your greyhounds inspire you.  After I heard the stories some people had to tell, I really wasn't sure I'd have a chance of being selected, but I was.  Since today would have been Treat's thirteenth birthday, I thought I'd share the article today.

My life seems to be divided into two distinct categories that are separated by December 30, 2000. That was the day we went to the adoption kennel and came home with a little brindle greyhound princess named Treat. Her name seemed too perfect to change and it suited her. So, there was our life before Treat and our life after Treat. I had no idea on that day how she would make such an impact on my life.


Through Treat, we experienced many things that we never would have otherwise. While I tend to be a shy person, Treat was extremely outgoing. People everywhere were charmed by her, which gave me an opportunity to meet a lot of people I wouldn’t have otherwise. Being on the other end of Treat’s leash suddenly inspired me to be more outgoing with people that we met in everyday life.

We began to do meet and greets with our local greyhound group and I found that being a volunteer was something that I could actually do. Treat ate up the attention and I found that I really enjoyed talking to people about how wonderful she was. Then we took volunteering to a new level. Treat inspired me to do something that I’d secretly thought about for some time, but hadn’t quite had the courage for. We began to visit nursing homes together. Treat and I became a certified therapy dog team and later a READ team, as well. Visiting the nursing home was something we enjoyed a great deal, even though there were some nights when I came home and thought I was too tired to go. She would give me that look and I’d go change my clothes, pick out a fancy collar for her to wear and we’d go to visit.

I also began to diet while we had Treat. I wanted to be a person who looked like her dog a bit, I suppose. It wasn’t enough to just eat right, however. I had to exercise, as well. Treat never let me get away with skipping a walk. She let me know that I had to get up off the couch and go out into the world. She would have walked off the ends of the Earth if I’d have gone with her. Every day, she inspired me to get up off the couch and make myself move. We were both much better off for it.

Treat also helped me to return to something else that I dearly love. Throughout school, I dreamed of being a writer. However, my dad convinced me that I couldn’t make a living as a writer and I pursued a different path. After we adopted Treat, I joined a message board. Soon, I was sharing stories of her exploits along with pictures of her antics. Through Treat, I found my voice as a writer, although I didn’t realize it for several years. Her inspiration lives on now as I dabble with fiction, poetry and keeping a blog of the funny things that happen in our everyday lives. If I hadn’t gotten inspiration for anything else from her, finding the outlet of writing again would have been worth every penny we paid for her adoption fee.

About a year and a half ago, Treat had to leave us after a brief battle with a spinal tumor. However, she left me with one final inspiration. After she was gone, I found myself adopting another greyhound, because I wanted to continue on the journeys that she’d started me on. Even though she wasn’t the only greyhound here in our house, she and I had a very special bond and closeness. It was as if we were each an extension of the other. Two of our hounds were seniors and couldn’t do nursing home visits or some of the other active things that Treat and I did. Our younger hound is really my husband’s dog and partner. That left me with only one option, which was trying again. Her inspiration lives on now in the form of Bunny, a very young greyhound who inspires me to try even more things and to continue on the journey that I began with a beautiful brindle greyhound almost nine years ago.

I will always be forever grateful for the inspiration and encouragement that Treat gave to me. My life has been enriched in more ways than I can even describe or recount. I have met wonderful people, traveled to places I never expected to, tried things I didn’t think I could do and have discovered more about myself through her inspiration. I have truly been blessed to have known her.


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18 comments:

  1. She is absolutely beautiful in her portrait! Isn't it amazing how our hounds can inspire us. My first greyhound inspired me to organize and run one of our local adoption groups. She got most of my family involved for many years and was the beginning of a line of greyhounds we adopted, currently numbering 19. Though I have retired from running our adoption group I am still active with the hounds. I made quite a few friends through running our group, another good thing as I am not too big on socializing either.

    Great story about a very sweet person and an extremely inspirational hound. I am glad you found each other...I know Bunny will do a greyt job of filling such a huge space. Treat...your heart hound will never be replaced, but Bunny will make her own spot when it comes to inspiring her loving owners.
    :)

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  2. what a wonderful story. I have a similar one with maggie, my late dingo. I wonder, off line if you could e-mail me places to start looking for writers-forums. I've always wanted to write and never got the courage or the know-how to start. i have many encouraging me but i don't know how and it would be great to learn from others.

    wags-n-wiggles,
    wild dingo

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  3. Beautiful girl! Oh, dear . . my eyes are leaking.

    I can't believe how much like my own princess Treat looks! It could almost be Renie up there in that picture. And they both left us due to tumours in the spine! Dare I ask what her racing name was?

    As you may remember, Renie was my PAT therapy dog too. She opened up a new world to me with our partnership, and I was amazed to find how much closer it brought us together, just visiting and working together in that way.

    I don't get Celebrating Greyhounds at the moment - it needs to be shipped over - but you must have been thrilled to have your article published in THE greyhound magazine!

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  4. What a wonderful wonderful story. My heart if all filled with love. The writing thingy is well understood here on my hill. I'm just sayin.

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  5. Wonderful story Hound. Simply wonderful.

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  6. Awwww...that's a great story!

    Treat was a VERY pretty girl and we loved reading about how she touched your life!

    Love,
    S-Dog

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  7. Boy, can I relate. What a fabulous story. The portrait of Treat is really nice. Her eyes just draw you into them. She must have been THE BEST therapy dog! I can see the all the love in her that she had to give. Josie does that with me too. You are very blessed to have such wonderful dogs around you and to be able to express it in writing and share it with people. I am happy for you that Treat was able to bring this out of you. Thank you for sharing this story with us. Much Love. Woof soon!

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  8. Her portrait is gorgeous. It sounds like Treat played a similar role in your life as my first female Lab, Acadia. I've loved many dogs in my life but I've had the honor of two who I've called my "heart dogs" - ones who become an extension of me or even a part of me. One was Acadia and now there's K. We truly are a lucky pair of humans to have loved such amazing dogs!

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  9. A wonderful tribute to your friend. :-)

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  10. That's beautiful. I had the chills just reading it. Animals can do so much for humans.. and those who realize that are very lucky individuals indeed.

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  11. How beautiful - I am so pleased you found happiness with Treat and fulfilment in your writing- there's something about these beautiful dogs that make you want to write about them - thats how Hippie's website started

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  12. just beautiful...... the tribute to Treat and your story, TQ for sharing

    chikisses
    coco

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  13. That was wonderful! Dogs like Treat are 'once in a lifetime' dogs. You are lucky to have found her and spet the time that you did with her! :)

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  14. Justbeautiful Carrie. I was hoping you'd eventually post this...

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  15. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful essay (and wonderful tribute to Treat!)

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  16. What a wonderful story! You were very lucky to have Treat in your life, and I think Bunny knows she has big shoes to fill and is doing her very best to fill them!

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  17. I enjoyed reading about Treat - how beautiful she was!
    I believe dogs enrich your life in so many different ways.
    When my last basset, Harry, died in 2008 so many people told me he was 'just a dog'.
    I don't have to explain to you how much I missed him ....then and now.
    The best part of blogging for me is finding people who understand what having a dog means.
    I know Treat will always be part of your life.
    I have loved meeting Bunny. I have never had a greyhound but there is a quality in them that really does reach out and touch you.
    I think they must make great therapy dogs with their quiet calm and expressive faces.
    Lovely post.
    xxx

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  18. What a wonderful story. I love how you broke it all down for us. Momma was also moved by the statement your father made (you share that). What a treat to have a wonderful furiend like this in your life. Thank you for the rescue and for the story and for sharing it.
    Twink!

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