Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My First Litter of Greyhound Puppies...

...brought our neighborhood together. I was living in downtown West Palm Beach in a typical neighborhood where the neighbors never spoke. The way our apartment complex was set up was there were 2 rows of apartments facing each other. On my side there was the apartment up front and then there was ours and we had a huge fenced in yard. On the other side of my yard was a row of 3 apartments facing us and the neighbors came and went and nobody ever spoke.

That is until Queenie had her pups. I put them in a large kiddie pool in the extra bedroom and we took care of them in thehouse for the first few weeks. When they got to be about 5 weeks old we put them outside in the building and left it open so they could start to run and play. By the time they were 6 weeks old I started to notice my neighbors looking out their windows pointing at the puppies. One by one they would catch Bobby or I outside and come out to talk about how cute the puppies were.

By the time they were 2 months old and the pups were running and playing like crazy (there were 9 puppies and Queenie and Levi - Levi was their uncle). Everytime I came home there would be neighbors sitting in lawn chairs watching the puppies. They were waiting for one of us to go in the yard and hand a puppy over to be petted. They were surprised that we would let them pet them but as I explained the more they were handled the better they would act at the track. As long as they didn't go in the yard to get them when I wasn't home, I had no problem with it. As time progressed I was coming home to cookouts and get togethers - puppy watching became the neighborhood pasttime.

There was only one problem with the situation. In the last apartment on the other side was a drug dealer. We were worried that somebody going to his house would to try to steal one of the puppies. Droid (his nickname) must have read our minds because he came over one day to assure us that he had warned off the people coming to his house about the puppies - he told them he would cut them off if they even thought about taking any pups! He said he had come to love watching them as much as everybody else on the block did.

So we invited him out to join the cookout and he became a regular fixture like everybody else. In fact we named a pup after him, afterall Droid is a pretty cool sounding name for a greyhound. We also warned him that the dogs were tattooed and if somebody tried to steal one and race it or sell it, it would be traced. The only value a stolen greyhound has is as a pet. So, he made sure that people knew that they couldn't make any money on the pups afterall.

Very early in their growing up, my neighbor, Maria, came over to tell me that one of the puppies was talking to her. This puppy grew up to be Baby Greyhound. She was the skinniest, ugliest greyhound that you ever saw; but she was also the most adorable because of her loving, outgoing personality. Baby Greyhound and Maria became great friends and Maria had a great time giving her special treats. Baby Greyhound talked so much that she became a track favorite and the leadouts used to fight over who got to take care of her at the track. The track wanted to make her a mascot but she was so ugly that they decided against it.

We named her Baby Greyhound because she looked like a perfect greyhound when she was 6 weeks old, all the other pups looked like little hound dogs running around. We thought this would be a good thing. It wasn't. She ate double what the other dogs did and walked around looking like something out of " Nightmare Before Christmas"! The rest of the litter went to AA (which was the best grade at West Palm). Poor old Baby Greyhound farted around as a C dog for most of her life. She lived with me until she died though.
After the divorce Bobby and I fought over her like crazy. I won the arguement.

to be continued...

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