I got my first greyhound after my divorce. Jamba was a Fawn colored retired track dog I rescued from a local rescue group. Rescued greyhounds are literally rescued. They are treated badly on the track, and before they had rescue groups, they were usually shot when they were no longer making money for their owners. He was a great companion and rescued me during my time of loneliness. He died eight months later from bone cancer in his hip.
After I remarried, I wanted another greyhound. I was remarried with a young son, so we contacted the rescue group, and went to see what dogs were available. I found a young fawn greyhound who looked like Jamba, and decided to take him. When we were getting ready to leave, my wife and son came to me about another dog. I never considered having two greyhounds, as they are big dogs. He was black, and was the only greyhound not taken. He was older, had been adopted, but given back because his owner was too old to take care of him. His teeth were bad, and he had pretty bad breath. I was told black greyhounds don’t get adopted as quickly as other dogs. In addition, he was eight years old. People don’t want dogs that old because older dogs health declines faster, and you don’t have them as long. I looked at him, behind the fence, all alone. He was the greyhound no one wanted. I felt sad for him, so we talked to the rescue people, and they gave us a special price, so we took both. I named our fawn greyhound Cookie, and the black one I named Moonshine.
Cookie was the looker. He was beautiful and graceful, and outgoing. Moonshine was just a black dog. He was more reserved. He liked to lie around and was not nearly as food driven as Cookie. I figured that was because he was older. Cookie tended to favor my wife, but Moonshine attached himself to me. He would hang around when I was watching TV. I shared my snacks and coffee with him. He seemed to be the number two dog, but of the two, Moonshine was the gentleman. He seemed to understand that he was adopted, and looked to us with appreciation. He quietly worked his way into our hearts.
When we moved to Florida, we drove down, with both dogs sharing the back seat of our sedan. I asked our vet for “doggie downers” to keep the dogs quiet and relaxed during the two-day drive. They slept the whole trip except for when we stopped to eat. I got them each a burger from the drive-thru, and they took turns sticking their snoots between our seats as we fed them.
Moonshine was clearly the less demonstrative of our two dogs. When visitors came, he would go to the door and greet them, then go lie down. Cookie was more exuberant, but then followed Moonshine’s lead. When we’d walk them, it looked like we had pet deer. Moonshine was sleek and graceful. He was physically more hesitating, but he looked at me with trusting eyes. I grew to love him and called him my little boy.
As he aged, I watched him carefully lie down, and carefully get up. His face and muzzle became gray. He was obedient, and faithful; everything you would want in a dog. As he got older, it was increasingly obvious that he was in pain. He would yelp when he got up or lay down. He started to lose weight, looking almost emaciated. His teeth also caused him pain, and it got to the point that I was afraid to pet him, for fear of hurting him. He ate less, and was uneasy on his feet. We reached the point where his pain meds weren’t working. He started to become incontinent. We reached the difficult decision that life was no longer good for Moonshine.
We talked with our vet, and decided it would be too painful for Moonshine to get into the car, so we had her come to the house. My wife took Cookie and our son for a walk, so they wouldn’t be present. I stayed with Moonshine. He was given two injections, and he was gone. I’m still crying. The dog no one wanted was a kind, calm, peaceful presence in my life, and now he’s gone. He made an incalculable difference in my life. Sometimes the people we esteem the least, ultimately mean the most. I hope to God that I can make such a difference in the lives of others.