Race Name: Dancer's Dilemma
May 23, 1989 - June 10, 2003
Dearly missed by Barbara Arnold
I went to the adoption kennel the first time in the summer of 1992 "just to look." I had read an article in the Seattle Times about greyhound rescue, and the kennel was not far from SeaTac, where I had just dropped off my son, so I called. They told me that some dogs had arrived from Greyhound Pets in Idaho the evening before, but that they all had just been spayed or neutered, hadn't recovered from the trip, and had no idea where they were, so it would be better to wait. I said I lived in Port Townsend and was in the area just briefly, so they gave me directions and told me I would not be able to adopt a dog that day. That was fine with me, because I really wasn't planning to get one -- I was just curious, since I'd never seen a greyhound in person.
Seven dogs were in the back yard when I arrived, and it was Jaxon, the biggest one in the bunch, who came to stand next to me and nudged other dogs away when they came to say hello. This surprised me, since I wasn't expecting such attention, especially when the dogs were not at their best. I became completely entranced with these gentle creatures, so I stayed for a couple of hours and asked lots of how-to-care-for questions.
Of course I returned the following week, and Jaxon came to me immediately. The adoption rep laughed and said, "I guess he has decided to go home with you!" Well, it did seem that way, so I signed all the papers, wrote a donation check, loaded my new dog into the back of my little Montero, and off we went. I made up a song for him and sang it on the way to Port Townsend.
Until I came along, he had never, ever, been without the company of other greyhounds, and he knew nothing of the world outside the racetrack. Looking back, it seems quite remarkable that I never had to "train" or "teach" him (except for going up those steps!). It was as if he really wanted to do what I asked, no matter how strange it may have seemed to him, and he went literally everywhere with me without hesitation. I know now that from that first day, he trusted me absolutely as his safekeeper, all the way to the end.
Here's something that he figured out for himself, and I just cracked up when I caught on: From the very beginning, I talked to him a lot and I always explained everything like a parent would do with a little child. And when I'd ask things like "go in the car?" or "want a biscuit?" or "go for a walk?" or "pet store!" (which was PetSmart for biscuits), he would always perk up his ears and stomp with his front feet when it was something he wanted. However, if I asked him if he wanted a bath, for example, or something else unappealing, he would immediately turn his head away from me, obviously to say No!, and then wait until the next question. Just to make sure he was really doing it on purpose, I'd go through a whole list of choices, and he always answered correctly. He was a funny doggie.
Jaxondog had his 14th birthday on May 23. He died peacefully at home on June 10. Just seconds before he went, he lifted his head and looked into my eyes, and I said "It's ok," a phrase that had reassured him hundreds of times before in many unfamiliar situations. I was his mother for 11 years, and now I'm very sad.
My head tells me that he had an extraordinarily long life for such a big dog, but that's only part of why he has left such a huge empty space. He was the only dog I ever had by myself and I loved him completely. The rug in front of the fireplace looks very bare now, and the kitties sleep on his blanket.
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