Life in the Slow Lane

Max (L) and Holly
Max (L) and Holly

In their prime they could have outrun the cars whizzing down my Cambridge side street, but, these days, greyhounds Max and Holly are among the slower-moving canine residents in my Huron Village neighborhood. Walking with measured grace, the two former sprinters circle the block several times a day with companion Cindy Sorensen, a retired teacher and longtime Cambridge resident.

Cindy says that thirteen-year-old Holly, who won an impressive 18 of her 104 career races as “Skiddy Exodus,” still perks up when she spots a squirrel, but she describes Max, age 10, as “more mellow.” Their mechanical rabbit chasing days behind them, neither seems inclined to pursue any of the neighborhood’s burgeoning bunny population. When they see other greyhounds, however, they all do love to chase and race each other, Cindy says.

Holly and Max are the latest in a succession of greyhounds to enjoy life in the slow lane living on Huron Avenue with Cindy. Her first rescue, in 1992, was a young male named Spinnaker who had broken his leg racing; instead of putting him down, Spinnaker’s owner gave him to Greyhound Friends, Inc., where Cindy adopted him. Spinnaker lived to be 13-1/2, and since then Cindy has adopted seven senior greyhounds: Cain, Bridget, Dream, Ty, Maggie (all deceased) and most recently, Holly and Max. Continue reading “Life in the Slow Lane”

Joint Custody Dog

Teddy & the Kids (1998)
Teddy & the Kids (1998)

I originally posted this on my blog “Salutations” following Teddy’s death in January 2011.

I didn’t want a dog.

In 1998 I was a single mother of three young children (ages 4, 7 and 9), trying to find my emotional and financial footing following my divorce. I had just started a new job as a real estate agent, and was trying to juggle being on call 24/7 to my clients with the demands of motherhood. Space and privacy were at a premium in our 1,000 s.f. condo, and we shared a postage-stamp-sized back yard with our upstairs neighbors. It was early summer, and the kids were out of school and in day camps; I worked until about three o’clock and spent afternoons ferrying them around to play dates and playgrounds and running errands while compulsively checking my office voice mail. Continue reading “Joint Custody Dog”

One Day at a Time

Sleeping it off
Sleeping it off

Out with my puppy early this morning, I was thinking about how the expression, “One day at a time,” applies to the process of housebreaking a dog. Today I slept half an hour later than usual (until the lazy hour of 5:30 a.m.!) and woke to find that, like an addict in recovery, Eddie had slipped, breaking a streak of four days and nights clean and sober – that is, without an accident in the house. Disappointed in my dog, I was also angry at myself for letting him down by oversleeping. And he had been doing so well! Continue reading “One Day at a Time”

“And they called it puppy love…”

Eddie at 5 weeks
Eddie at 5 weeks

In the month since we adopted Eddie, I’ve been reliving the elation and exhaustion of being a new mother. It’s been seventeen summers since I brought my youngest child home, but the feelings are so familiar that I’m constantly having to remind myself that my new baby is… a dog. Some people dress up their pets; I prefer to think of Eddie as a small boy dressed in a dog suit. I half expect to find a zipper when he rolls over for a belly rub. I imagine these are the same emotions that Stuart Little’s mother experienced when she noticed her second son “looked very much like a mouse in every way.”

In the lexicon of technology innovation, Eddie is what’s called a “disruptor.” Like a Fortune 500 company in a mature market, my family has had to rethink the way we do business and to adapt following Eddie’s arrival, starting with a few facility changes: guests will notice the absence of rugs and the addition of some rather unsightly plastic barriers blocking off part of the living room and the stairway. We’ve all had to become more nimble, dodging Eddie’s razor-toothed assaults on our shoes and pant legs and clearing the floor and low surfaces of objects that might attract his rapacious jaws. I’ve had to adjust my daily routine to accommodate his need for frequent walks and close supervision, and stock my pockets with dog treats and bio-bags. During this time of transition, the old (feline) technology has retreated upstairs to sulk and plot their re-launch strategy.

And yet, despite the disruption and the considerable time-sink that house-training a puppy poses, I am utterly smitten. Puppy love: I’ve got it bad. Continue reading ““And they called it puppy love…””