Squirt. In order to fully appreciate our corner of the world, you need to know about Squirt. Simply saying she’s the family dog doesn’t quite do her justice… So, I apologize for the length of this post.
Squirt is a greyhound and yes, that is her actual name. All seventy three pounds, standing 28 inches at the shoulder. When she came to us nearly seven years ago at the age of four months, she was a squirt, in every sense of the word. She was a tiny little thing that was a wiggly, licky, happy go lucky roly-poly whose tail would weeble-wobble her around the room it wagged so hard. And, when excited she would either lie on her back and piddle on herself or on the floor as she wiggled from one person to the next.
She became available to us a few weeks after my precious grey Herman passed away. I’m not entirely sure of what I was thinking since I was six months pregnant with my first child and I was working full time crazy hours as well.
It is very unusual to have a greyhound as a puppy. Most are raised for racing and become available for adoption only when they have a physical impairment or after they’ve ‘retired’ from the circuit – but by then they are usually close to maturity… Neither situation applied to Squirt.
As the runt of the litter, she was rejected by her fellow pups, and was taken in by the breeders to wean her. Alas, even after being returned to the litter, she was still rejected and developed her habit of ‘squirt’ when approached by the pack of running litter-mates. This, friends, will not do if a racing greyhound needs to be part of a pack running at full speed when the gates open.
She was in every sense of the word, the best child-proofing tool ever to set foot on this earth.
If it wiggled, she chewed it. If it was planted, she dug it up and spread it to every single corner of the yard she could find. If there was grass, she burned it out with her running loops. If it was a wall she’d lick it until reaching the ‘chalk’ of the wall board. If it was a stuffed animal and she found it – the guts would shortly be blowing around the back yard. And if it could be climbed, she conquered it. She loves to lick. And if she meets someone who will let her lick them… she will give them googlie eyes all the days of her life. She was and remains a whining fool and without rhyme or reason she whines any hour, every hour, day or night.
She is one of the smartest dogs I’ve met and until recently, (I’m knocking on wood right now) she was a master escape artist. Once she left the house she was off and running until sheer exhaustion would make her stop in her tracks. She can run nearly 53 miles an hour. I know this because I clocked her speed as I was chasing her with the car on one adventurous ‘outing’.
Over our life with her, we’ve tried prozac (it worked a little), we’ve tried behavioral training, going to the dog park, long walks, and if you can think of it we’ve tried it. The only thing that HAS worked is time. Finally, after six years she’s begun to nap. Greyhounds typically sleep 12 to 14 hours a day, beginning around the age of 3 or 4. Not so with Squirt. Anything associated with the word ‘typically’ does not apply to our girl.
She loves people. When she sees a potential ‘friend’ she loses all control of herself and it’s like she’s a four month old puppy again. On trips to the dog park she has little to no interest in the other dogs… you’ll find her making the rounds with the other people at the park. Her most favorite activity is to participate in or attend a parade – where massive throngs of people are at her beck and call for loves. She leaves an impression on people. Even though we visit our vet only once a year (now, thankfully) the doctors and staff recognize her and cheer her name the moment we enter the clinic.
She is also the most gentle creature who’s only crime is that she is completely unaware that she is a huge animal. She allows children of all ages and sizes to touch her, probe her, crawl on her and pet or even pat her. If she is uncomfortable with a situation the only thing she’ll do is extricate herself from the kids and wander away. That, or regard Charles or I with a plaintiff look. We never allow small ones to hurt, tease, or abuse Squirt, but we’ve also found that she’s happiest being in the midst of the small people.
She is a good companion too… save for the frickin’ whining. She maintains the schedule in the house, letting us know when it’s time for dinner, bed, time to get up to head to school or work, and she is the consummate welcoming committee when one or all of us return at the end of the day. And, if someone is off schedule, Squirt is the first to worry. And worry, and worry until everyone is tucked in where they belong. On nights when BW or JB is at a sleep over or Charles is out of town on a business trip, no one gets much sleep since Squirt patrols the house the entire time.
She is simply, another character in the cast of crazytown.