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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Inequality

I was asked recently by KB if I thought that people tended to be afraid of Morgan and reluctant to pet her.  The question made me think about several things.  So, I've been musing some on the differences between the Greyhounds and our recent German Shepherd addition.

As far as people petting the dogs goes, most people walk up to the Greyhounds and ask to pet them right away.  Of course, the hounds are known to pretty much go up to people and expect to be petted, too.  While they're at it, they'll throw in a sad story with their eyes that tells about how they're never fed at home, forced to live in horrible conditions that sometimes involve having to get off the couch for their own water, and never being petted.  They have people running to fetch them all sorts of things in the blink of an eye.  Bunny, in particular, is a master of this. 

However, Morgan is not always so sure about people.  She is not the dog going up to others and asking for pets.  Usually, she watches Bunny in horror when we're out on hikes and walks and prepares herself for the moment when she's going to have to pounce on someone for trying to steal or harm her pack mate.  Often, though, I've noticed that she takes her cues from Bunny and Blueberry and will follow them up to people for petting after a seeing that they don't pose a threat. 

So, the answer to the question is a bit complicated.  Yes, people tend to be reluctant to pet Morgan, but she is also reluctant to be petted.  Certain people never get her stamp of approval, too, and we do not push the issue.  At least she's not always shopping for another home where they'll feed her whatever she wants, when she wants, and expect it to be carried in on a golden dias by a cabana boy.  I've found that on the hikes where Morgan wears her backpack, she is approached more often, too.  She's not a hairy almost-wolf, she's a dog in a backpack.  Apparently that translates into "not scary." 

So, while I think people will always pet the Greyhounds before the pet Morgan, I think the girls are all happy with that arrangement.  It may not be for the right reasons on the parts of other people, but the girls have no complaints.  If only they were always so easy to get along with on everything else!

I'd also like to mention that I was recently interviewed over on River Dog Prints, if anyone is interested in reading it.  They come up with great questions!  This was part of a series they're doing, so you may get to read answers from other bloggers in the future.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Greyhounds In Greece

Since a lot of the sculptures we saw at Allerton Park over the weekend had some Grecian influence to it, I thought it would be fun to tell a little bit about Greyhounds and their ties to ancient Greece.

Greyhounds originated in Egypt, and were highly revered there.  Greyhounds could never be sold there, but could be given as gifts to dignitaries.  One of the earliest instances of this happening was in 1475 BC.  Queen Hatshepsut had sent an expedition to the land now known as Somalia, but at that time it was known as Punt.  She was very keen to acquire some myrrh and wanted live myrhh trees as well.  So, according to James Henry Breasted, an Egyptologist she traded four of her finest Greyhounds for "31 living myrhh trees, electrum, eye cosmetics, ebony, ivory shells, a live southern panther, many panther skins, 3,300 small cattle, huge piles of myrhh twice a man's height and large rings of commercial gold weighed in tall balances ten feet high."  I guess Greyhounds were pretty darned valuable back then.  Eventually, Greyhounds began to appear along all the major trade routes.  As in Egypt, all dogs held a place of honor in Greek society. 

Pythagoras, a mathematician and philosopher who died in approximately 497 BC had a school of followers.  Aside from that theory that now dogs everyone who comes into Algebra class, he and his followers believed, amongst other things, that if you held a dog to the mouth of a dying person, the person's soul would enter the dog's body.  This was considered desirable because only a dog was considered worthy of recieving a the virtues of a person.  In what might be the first anti-cruelty act recorded, Pythagoras stopped a man from beating a dog because he claimed to hear the voice of a friend in the dog's cries.

It is believed that Hippocrates liked dogs.  He often depicted them in his art.  Interestingly, he never wrote about them, but he is often portrayed with a dog and snake lying near his feet.

Homer, the Greek poet, is the first author to ever mention a hound in literature.  When Odysseus returns after being gone for twenty years, his dog, Argos is the only one to recognize him.  Thousands of years later, the passage of Odysseus' homecoming still captures the canine spirit.

Greyhounds even managed to make thier way into Greek mythology.  Hecate, goddess of wealth and the underworld, favored dogs and is often depicted with a Greyhound by her side.  Pollux, protector of the hunt, had a Greyhound named Leda.  They also figure into the story of Actaeon and Artemis.  The story goes that Actaeon was out hunting with his forty eight Greyhounds when he came upon Artemis bathing.  Instead of averting his gaze, he stared at her.  When she found him watching her, she turned him into a stag and his hounds attacked and killed him.  The names of all forty eight dogs are still preserved in history.

Hopefully this has been a little fun to learn about.  The stories of Greyhounds in history have fascinated me since I began sharing my life with them.  I thought it would be fun to share some of them since we had some fun pictures from our trip to go with them.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

A Walk In Allerton Park

Bunny here, hoping to bring you a little cheer on Monday morning with my post from the keyboard.

This weekend, we decided to choose an easier place to get out and stretch our legs than we took last weekend.  So, we decided to go and visit Allerton Park in Monticello, Illinois.  It is not a state park, but it is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois, and for good reason.  Because this wasn't so much a hike as a walk through the park, Blueberry came along and only the people wore backpacks.

For people curious about the park, it was property once owned by an art collector named Robert Henry Allerton.  His mansion is there along with some of the artwork he collected.  He must have had a lot of money, because he sure owned a lot of land and there were a lot of sculptures there.  He spent decades shaping farmland into the into beautiful landscapes that featured some of the artwork he acquired.  After forty years, while visiting in Hawaii, he decided to start all over and do the same thing there.  So, he donated his Illinois property to the University of Illinois to create “an educational and research center, as a forest and wild-life and plant-life reserve, as an example of landscape architecture, and as a public park.”  I can tell you all, I am sure glad that he gave this most wonderful gift because we all loved seeing it.

While we were there, not one, but two weddings were being prepared for, so we didn't stop and pose for all the pictures we'd have liked to in a few areas.  We are sure hoping the people got married before it started raining later in the afternoon.  Mom said if she had to plan a wedding again (which she about breaks out in hives just thinking about) that she'd want to have one there.

There were lots of different kinds of gardens.  Some were really formal and some were kind of wild.  They all had been worked on a lot.  My favorite was the Fu Dog Garden!  It was built to showcase Mr. Allerton's collection of thirty two blue Chinese dog statues.  One of the weddings was held in that garden, so I know those people are going to have a perfect life ahead of them after getting married in such a wonderful garden.  Every one of those dogs was different, too.  We weren't the only dogs admiring the garden, either.  There were some dogs who I think might even have been attending the weddings.

There were some wedding guests there who did a lot of admiring of us and petting us, too.  That always makes the trip more fun.   One woman was especially keen on getting a Greyhound of her own and she kept fawning over us.  I wanted her to know what we make the best pets ever so she'd give another one a home, so I let her pet me for a long time.  She even offered to take a picture of us all together in front of the mansion.

Dad says we're definitely going back and I can't wait.  Hopefully this makes Monday a little brighter for everybody.  I know it sure made me happy to be there!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tongue Twister

Bunny here, with our entries for Twinkie's Show Your Tongue Contest for National Dog Week.

Wow!  We sure do let it all hang out, or curl around, sometimes!  Sheesh!  How embarrassing.  Still, if it gets us Yoghund, it's worth it.
We're also participating in this Saturday's Pet Blog Hop, hosting by Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume.  If you'd like to participate, please follow the rules and follow your three hosts, add your blog to the Linky and copy and paste the html code into your html editor.  Thanks again to our hosts for putting on the hop!


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Friday, September 24, 2010

A Strange Visitor

Bunny here, writing a little about our nursing home visit last week.

Usually, I don't say much about our visits, or let Mom or Dad take pictures, but it was Morgan's first time visiting there, so we took a few pictures for posterity.  I'm not going to lie.  I wasn't quite sure how my wolfy sister would do there.  Just getting out the door to go was a bit of a circus. 

When Morgan figures out that we're going somewhere, usually she gets so wound up that Dad just ends up taking her out to the van early so that the rest of us can get ready in peace.  Thursday night was no different.  Morgan was out in the van, and then Mom put my fancy collar on me.  Blueberry got all wound up, so Mom and Dad caved and let her go, too.  That meant that Blueberry had to visit with Mom and me.  That's okay, but it cramps my style a little bit. 

Of course, Morgan didn't appreciate Dad wandering around the place and taking her where she couldn't see the rest of us, but she held it together really well.  All the people who saw her really liked her.  We kept our visit short because Dad wanted to end the visit on a good note and because Mom was getting a little frustrated with Blueberry.  She always zigs when everyone else zags, if you know what I mean.

So, we finished up with a little socializing with some of our Paw to Paw friends and then we called it a night.  Of course, the best part came at the end.  We stopped at McDonald's Golden Dinner Palace and Dad got us French fries.  A just reward for a job well done, I say!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hoofing It Up The Mountain

Bunny here, taking over the keyboard to tell you about our exciting hike on Saturday.

We went to Pere Marquette State Park which, as it turns out, is the largest state park in Illinois as far as acreage goes.  It is named after Jacques Marquette, a French priest who came to the area with French explorers in 1673.  They were the first Europeans to ever come to the area where the Mississippi, Illinois and Arkansas rivers all converge.  There are approximately 150 Native American burial mounds in the area, a leftover remnant from the era of the Illini Confederacy.  During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps was formed and they built many lodges and structures in the area, most of which still stand today. 

One thing about the park is that from certain vantage points, you can see where the rivers merge together.  It is definitely a very scenic park.  It also has very steep hills.  I thought I was going to have to put Mom in my backpack at one point and carry her up the hill.  Dad took my leash for a while, and that did not make me a happy camper.  I kept a sighthound eye on her at all times.  When we got to the top, we all rested for a while and admired the view.

Loess is one of the things the park is know for.  It's what forms the yellow cliffs that you often see in the park.  It's made from a windblown dust from the prehistoric ages.  It definitely makes for some interesting rock formations, like the Half Bridge.

Of course, you can imagine that Morgan and I were excited about seeing the local wildlife, and we were not disappointed.  Besides the usual chipmunks and squirrels, who were quite bold in the park, runnng right under Morgan's nose at one point, we also saw some cute little lizards.  Then we heard about the Piasa Bird.  I even read about it in Mom's Weird Illinois book.  It's a legendary giant bird that the Native Americans claimed could and did fly off with children and large animals.  I kept my eye on the sky when we weren't under tree cover, I can promise you that!  I hope he knows that I have never harmed a bird in my life.  In fact, I even let a baby robin go once when I caught it in the turn out pen.  Fortunately, we made it out of there with no sightings of giant birds.

After our hike, we went up to see the lodge.  There was a wedding going on and we all thought that it was certainly a lovely place for a wedding.  The bride sure looked happy!  Inside the lodge was beautiful, too.  The artwork that hangs from the ceiling was crafted especially for the lodge by a local artist.  The Four Rivers Fabric Art is constructed of 6,000 fabric leaves and 30,000 yards of thread.  You can read more about it in the link if you'd like.  It's very impressive to see, and I'm sorry we didn't get better pictures of it.


I hope you enjoyed hearing about our hike for the weekend.  I will tell you one thing.  I am going to be doing a lot more research about these places Dad wants to go to after that big bird!

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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