Greyhounds are everywhere now, at least in my inner city, which is a liberal-minded place. You’ll find them at farmers markets sampling gluten free dog treats, or at cafes wearing handcrafted leather collars, poised next to their new masters like a piece of stylish mobile sculpture. And when a conversation is started with the owner of a greyhound they always confide the same thing ‒ despite their anatomy primed for pace, they are the very essence of torpid. What comes to mind when I picture a rescue greyhound in someone’s living room is the perfect homewares accessory, all curved lines and statuesque proportions, or like a throw blanket, draped elegantly on and partly off the sofa.
Could it be that these fast running murderers are just deeply disappointed to have found themselves doing what all other pet dogs are doing ‒ nothing of substance?
When you first take possession of your rescue greyhound, they must wear that cage around their mouths until socialised, which reminds people that you are not just the brave owner of a potentially murderous canine, but an advocate of second chances.
But the greyhounds I see in my suburb always look somehow disappointed. Your Beagles, Labradors and Jack Russells are barking and wagging their tails, jumping and sniffing, owning the trees and poles and bushes. But greyhounds, they pad around with a look of despair, appearing too aloof to stoop to the level of small dogs and too refined to wrestle with the bigger ones. And I’ve never seen one fetch a ball. Unless it’s in a professional capacity, these creatures don’t waste their time chasing things.
Could it be that these sprinting ex-murderers are just deeply disappointed to have found themselves doing what all other pet dogs are doing ‒ nothing of substance? Do they miss their mission to chase and, when in the employ of less scrupulous greyhound trainers, tear a small furry animal apart? Or do they feel guilty that they made it out while their sisters and brothers who are faster are trapped in the old cycle of train and chase? Perhaps they are mourning the thousands of generations of slower greyhounds who were not given the right to leave when they were no longer useful, and were just killed.
What human descant is it intent on not hearing by wearing the hat?
They say when it's cold, all the heat escapes through your head. So the greyhound dressed in the Cossaky hat (photo by Klaus Hausmann, illustration by me) is sensibly attired for a light-coated slender animal in winter. It's earlessness enhances its inscrutability. What human descant is it intent on not hearing by wearing the hat? What cunning lurks behind its prolongated snout and mocking grin?