a little and a lot

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dog-Mom

Why yes, this is "Your Mom's Blog."  Which was entitled upon learning years ago that my mom actually had a blog and was one of the first people I knew to have one, and I felt that I should catch up on my technology.  But my title can be interpreted several other ways, such as....

* In light of the cheeky vintage phrase "Your mom..."?

* I am a goody-two-shoes type of character who is as fuddy duddy as your mom?

* And most recently, my posts are often dedicated to my dog-children from their dog-mom...

When I first got Owens, my greyhound, I was a singly lady living in a tiiiiiny duplex.  I was happy to have a new best friend, and (because greyhounds don't know anything about domestic living when you get them, having lived on a racetrack their whole lives) I taught him how to get up on my couch and cuddle with me, his girlfriend.  I called myself his owner, his best friend, his girlfriend, but never...his mommy.  Because that's just pathetic.  

The transition happened both gradually and suddenly.  Owens really liked Nick when we first started dating (we = Nick and I, not Owens and I...ha), and that gave Nick some major brownie points.  We were all friends, until shortly into our marriage the "mommy" and "daddy" terms emerged playfully, mostly as a joke.  And they stuck.  Poor Owens must have a warped view of relationships...his best friend was his girlfriend, who became his mommy.  Ew.  

The addition of Moses to our family solidified the title.  So I am that pet owner now.  The one that refers to herself as "mommy," though she is human-childless.  Get over it people.  It just happened.

This post is in honor of the fact that Owens Maddox Faris just turned 10 years old a few weekends ago.  I got him just after he turned 4, and though the non-pet people will snicker, he really is my best friend.  In the early days, we spent countless evenings curled up on the couch watching movies together.  He always traveled to Atlanta with me, where my parents spoiled him (their first grand-dog) rotten.  We went on three walks a day in those early years.  He received his name in honor of Jesse Owens, a fast runner like my greyhound.

Greyhounds are noted for their speed and grace, but Owens is quite far from graceful.  Ever since we walked out of the kennel on our first day together, he has limped on his back left leg.  After countless vet visits, Dr. Blackburn is stumped.  He even tried treating Owens like a horse one time--numbing different muscles in the leg until he stopped limping (the last muscle numbed would indicate the problem area).  Dr. Blackburn numbed Owens' whole leg and he just kept on limping.  My mom and I have a theory that he is just faking because he thinks he'd have to go back to the racing life if he started walking normal again.  Indeed, when he gets in trouble the limp is a bit more prominent...

Owens has only chased one small animal in his retired days.  After four years of chasing those elusive mechanical rabbits, a bird caught his eye in a fenced-in area one evening.  As soon as he saw it, he began running.  The bird began flying away.  Just before the bird flew over the fence, Owens lept into the air and caught it in his mouth.  The athleticism of the moment was stunning.  And horrific, to this animal-lover.  Her turned towards me, bird in mouth, with a look of sheer jubilance.  They say in the racing world that if a greyhound ever catches the mechanical rabbit, it will ruin the dog.  He will never chase again.  I believe that night was Owens' proudest moment, and as he ran back to me and laid the bird on the ground (as I cried and cried), he chalked it up as the accomplishment of his lifetime.

Though a clutz, my greyhound is a tough cookie.  Owens has broken the end of his tail and almost had to have it amputated.  (He swung the tail so hard against something indoors in excitement when he heard me talking to a neighbor outside, that the tail started bleeding.  He did not register the pain because of his anticipation of my coming in the door, and thus, he splatter-painted blood all over the entire duplex.)  He has ripped out the 
same toenail twice while running vigorously in the yard.  (And never indicated anything was wrong.  I only noticed his injury when I saw blood tracks through the house.)  He has hung himself briefly, when I made the mistake of opening the back hatch of the Explorer and he tried to jump out while he was still tied inside to the back seat.  He has backed off the back of the stairs up to our back door and scraped himself up. 
 (He is so scared of falling off of the back door steps now that he runs back down them when we open the door to let him in.)  He has scars all over his body from bumping into other dogs during his racing days.  Both ears have tattoos on the inside of them.  (One ear has the number of his birth month, the last number of his birth day, and a letter indicating his birth order.  The other ear has his registration number.)  Most recently, a member of our immediate family who shall rename nameless accidentally rolled the window up on Owens' tail.  (Thanks a lot, Moses.)

I have a fierce love for this old dog.  This birthday was emotional for me, as greyhound life expectancies are said to be 10-14 years.  He's living the last of the last years.  Yeah, I read "Marley and Me," and I cried through the whole thing.  I can't even bring myself to watch the movie, knowing the inevitable end.  Nick will tell you about times when I've been in Benadryl-induced hazes in which I've started sobbing about not wanting my dog to die.  Even if you're not a "dog person," everyone can appreciate having a loyal friend with whom you've shared all of your adult milestones.  

Here's to you, Owens, my best friend.  May the next few years be your greatest.  

10 comments:

Jane said...

What a precious story! It makes me want to go home and hug Chancey Pants (my boxer - who does indeed have a Mom and a Dad now). :)

I LOVED reading about Owens! What a dog!

Martha said...

Aww, sweet little Owens! He has been such a special part of your life. I remember when you got him at the old duplex!

Future Mrs. Roeder said...

Aww. I felt the same way about our dear Cricket. She lived to be around 15, so she and I grew up together, and she was there for all the teen years, and through college. Great dog. It is hard to let them go. I still think about her, and get sad from time to time. her collar is around the rear view mirror of my car. And despite the fact that I have two dogs now, she is and always will be the best dog I've ever had.

H Vest said...

I always love your dog posts! Dogs truly are some of the best friends a girl could ever ask for. Our Boston Terrier Titan is truly the center of attention in our home. Little does he know what is just around the corner . . .

LeslieJerkins said...

Great pictures and commentary. I love how your dogs are your children and family. We feel the same way about little Red. I know they are such good company.

Kristin said...

I am the same as you in that Matt and I are "mommy" and "daddy" to our 2 cats and golden retriever puppy. What else would you refer to yourself as? Our animals know us by those names too (and I'm sure many people will argue that they don't!) Happy Birthday Owens!

Supabloggasuprememama said...

awe how sweet!

Lisa - The Pet Book Lady said...

I know I love being a "dog mom". How amazing the bond is we have with our pets.

angie c said...

love that owens. . .

April Jackson said...

I decided this was the post to reveal myself on your blog! Chris and I are HUGE dog lovers. Avery may love them more than us! I got our chocolate lab, Daisy for Chris when we got engaged. She is our first "baby" and we are def. her mom and dad. I read Marley and Me and won't even consider watching the movie since the book made me cry so hard. Email me at aprilkjackson@yahoo.com if you want to read my blog!! This was such a sweet post...I loved it!


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