Finish line

We had to say goodbye to our retired racing greyhound, Jason, this afternoon.

He was a good dog.

He put up with a lot.

We adopted him through REGAP (Retired Greyhounds as Pets) in October 2000 after falling in love with the breed at a Route 66 festival in Edwardsville, Ill. At the time, Jason lived with a foster family in St. Louis that included a bloodhound who taught him how to bay.

He took his retirement very seriously.

Scout didn’t really know what to make of him at first, but they eventually figured each other out. She used to jump over him while he was trying to sleep, but he eventually taught her the value of curling up in front of the stove and enjoying the peace and quiet on a winter evening.

Nobody had to teach him what to do with a blankie. The one in this picture was a wedding gift from a relative. Jason had his eye on it from the minute he came in. Every time we changed the sheets, we would take this comforter off the bed, and one of us would have to stand guard to make sure Jason didn’t steal it.

One evening several years later, I decided it was time to redecorate. I bought a white chenille bedspread and retired the leopard spots. I will never forget the look on Jason’s face when I put that comforter on the floor in front of him. He looked at me for a long moment as if he thought it might be a trick. When it finally dawned on him that I really meant for him to lie on that soft, fluffy thing, he got this look on his face as if to say, “For ME?!!? Really?

I’ve never seen such an expression of pure, all-consuming joy on anybody’s face before or since.

I like to think that’s the expression he was wearing just after he left us this afternoon.

I like to imagine that Scout ran to greet him and goaded him into a good romp like they used to enjoy when they were young and goofy.

He was a good dog. We’ll miss him.

Emily

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10 thoughts on “Finish line”

  1. I sure feel for you folks on this day. Having to put down a loved member of the family is a tuff’ thing to do. And your comment about the expression as he left you is so true. I believe that one should be there as the drug is administered, and have always held my friend and looked them in the eye as they faded away. You owe them that for their faithful loyalty and love they gave you for as many years as you were privileged to have them in the family.

    My Dad used to get retired racing hounds when I was a kid, so I know the breed. Your story brought back many memories. Thank you for being the loving family for your greyhound.

    -jwcusa-

  2. Em, we’ve been thinking of you since yesterday evening. Geoff and Ron need to figure out how to astrally travel tonight so they can go share a beer and pet their pooches. They’re in the same boat.

    Jamie took the news about Dezi about as well as expected. He’ll do okay.

  3. Jason was one of the sweetest tempered dogs I’ve ever known. He was truly a gentle giant. It always surprised me how soft his fur was. It was more like petting a bunny than a dog. A very tall bunny.

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