Dearly missed by The Fanucci Family
February 5, 2008 – March 6, 2014
I never wanted a greyhound.
When I went to the home of dog fosterers, Jerry and Mary Anne Marble, I was looking to adopt an Italian Greyhound they were fostering.
But when the front door opened, two massive, sleek greyhounds came to the door and greeted me. I’d never seen a greyhound in person. You were the first one. And you took my breath away.
I couldn’t believe I’d lived my whole life without knowing greyhounds were so majestic. You were like a mythical creature, thin, soft, all legs and smiles, deep brown eyes surrounded by Egyptian kohl eyeliner. I couldn’t keep my eyes off you.
I spent the next hour and a half talking to Mary Anne about the Italian Greyhound who wouldn’t even look at me in fear (and who later became known as Chomsky and sleeps on my lap as I write this). All the while you were there, putting that impossibly long nose in my lap, trying to climb next to me on the couch. Giving up, you passed out on the carpet, and that’s when I noticed your ridiculous overbite.
I’d never seen anything more absurd.
You were all sleek elegance from the top. From the bottom, you were a dorkwad goofball, and something in my heart melted.
And then, when I made to leave, you leaned against me. That was it. I knew you had to be mine.
It wasn’t easy. Greyhound Pets Inc. has specific procedures on how they adopt out dogs, and my just deciding Ivan would be mine wasn’t the way it worked. We almost lost you. But in the end, you became ours.
Over the next two years I watched you change. You used to growl when you were awoken suddenly. Your hackles went up when you had a bone and we approached. You never wagged your tail.
At the dog park, you didn’t know how to play with non-greyhounds. You would chase dogs and drive them nuts, they’d give warnings which you’d ignore.
But over time you learned how to play like a dog. You got along with everyone – big dogs, small dogs. You were the large dog ambassador at the little dog area, the Norm of Cheers. Everyone knew your name.
And you started wagging your tail at home, playing with stuffed animals, running around like a goof. Your favorite thing was to get up and go pee, and then wiggle around and make sure we followed you to the couch to tuck you in. You joined us in bed in the mornings, head perfectly positioned by my hand.
You woke up with a sleepy, soft look, no more growls. You let us take your bones away, because you knew we’d give them back.
You loved car rides, and treats, and belly rubs. I’d get out your coat and you’d leap in the air for joy. Your teeth chattered in excitement every time I came home from work. You let three little dogs jump on you, eat your meals, bark in your ears, and you never did a thing. You’d always share your food.
You gave me an identity. Every greyhound I met was amazing, and I decided to participate in greyhound adoption. I helped run info booths, educate people on what makes greyhounds special. I helped look for lost greys. You and I went to the greyhound run almost every two weeks for two years, so you could play with the others.
And overnight, it was all gone.
You woke up in the morning screaming in pain, limping. It didn’t get better. And the x-rays showed tumors on your knees.
I knew it, in my heart. I sat in the waiting room at the animal hospital rocking, knowing this was the end. I couldn’t believe it. You only just turned six. You haven’t even been retired as long as you were a racer.
Despite the pain of the last ten days, you’ve been yourself. You ran. You played with your stuffed toy while waiting for breakfast, wanted to play in the off-leash area, begged for food. But your last night the pain was so bad I had to drug you every few hours, and you are no longer yourself. My stomach and heart are clenched so tight I feel like I can’t breathe, that they’ve scrunched up to make room for a heavy, solid dread.
Ten days. It seemed like such a short amount of time, that I was rushing things. As it turned out, the morning couldn’t come soon enough.
Ivan – words cannot express how thankful I am to have met you. You have changed my life. I have learned how to be noble from the top, and silly from the bottom. How the best thing to do is to lean into someone, and show them you care.
Nothing will ever be as beautiful is your brown eyes, baby. I’m going to miss you so very very much. Thank you for gracing us with your life.
Melissa, Maxx, Iggies Chomsky, Robby, and Ebony, goats Olive and Pickle, horse Triston