After some other hounds had to back out for various reasons, they also decided to let Treat be in the production, which made me pretty happy. She was Hawk's rock and pretty much anywhere she would go, he would follow. Twelve greyhounds were decided on to be in the production and she was the only female. It's true, there was no one the little diva couldn't win over. I should also mention that Mr. Taleteller was chosen as one of the two handlers to walk out on stage with the hounds during the production.
In return for allowing our hounds to be in the ballet, our adoption group was given the opportunity to hold a meet and greet in the theatre lobby. The only catch was that we had to dress in period costume, so I also had to get a costume to wear. I found one, thanks to ebay, and we began to start attending rehearsals with the hounds.
Mr. Taleteller and another person each had to lead six greyhounds out on the stage. This was no easy feat. Some of the hounds weren't used to walking with others, only two, Treat and Hawk, knew the person they were walking with, and there were all sorts of things going on both onstage and off. The hounds had to have collars that looked like they were from that period which was a bit difficult, too. Finally, though, we had everything we needed. Our dressing room was originally on the third floor, but after two nights of dragging panting dogs out on stage, they gave us the delivery dock as a dressing room, which was just outside the backstage door.
Rehearsals went pretty well and soon the night of the performance arrived. As we waited, Roberta Flack came by. As it turned out, she was in town to perform at another event and someone was driving her around town to entertain her before it was time for her to be there. She had owned Italian Greyhounds and when she saw the hounds, she had the driver stop and got out to see the dogs. Who knew greyhounds were such celebrities? She even posed for pictures with the hounds.
Finally, it was time for the show. I stood with Mr. Taleteller keeping the dogs all lined up until it was time for them to move out onto the stage. At the last minute, Hawk pulled what we always referred to as his jackass routine where he'd back up and rear like a stallion. Without missing a beat, I grabbed his leash and hissed at my husband to just go. Hawk twined around my legs and wagged his tail as he watched the others glide out onto the stage. Treat pranced across the stage as if she were the prima ballerina. The ooos and aaahs of the crowd told us backstage that the dogs had completely stolen the show.
During the intermission, we were mobbed. People couldn't get enough of the greyhounds. Treat, especially, ate the attention up. It was really an amazing night. There were a lot of people who wanted to know how they could get one of their own, and we were happy to tell them. An article about the performance was done in the fall issue of Celebrating Greyhounds in 2004. When the ballet toured that summer, they asked several other greyhound groups to participate as well, since we couldn't take off work and drive the dogs around the country to the different performances, however, our group was the first. Being in the ballet was definitely one of the most interesting things that we have done with the greyhounds. You never know where your dogs will take you!