Sunday, June 4, 2017


She came in the summer, and stayed for the rest of her life.

My friends take on greyhounds from the track - rescue dogs.  They are invariably precious, sweet dogs.  They have lived hard lives, and when they come to the comfort of a real home, they seem amazed and grateful.  Always grateful.

So it was with Ocho - "eight," in Spanish.  She came to my friends' home in 2013, after they had lost a great girl named Ivy.  They were looking for a dog who would be a good match for their older gentleman greyhound Scruff - unaptly named before the adoption (unless you were looking for irony).  Ocho was a perfect fit for him, and for their family.

Though Ocho wasn't exactly the right name for her, either.  It needed to be softened just a little bit, in an endearing way.  "Ochita" was a favorite.  "Ochi" was, as well.  Ochi seemed to be the name we called her.  I can almost see her wagging her tail in joy as I think of her name.  She loved her humans and she loved when they would call for her.

She was a brindle-colored dog, a color name unfamiliar to me before I met her.  She truly was beautiful, both in color and in demeanor.  She had this way of walking with her toes splayed out a little - a condition that likely didn't help her much on the track (probably to her benefit, as she was able to "retire" a little earlier because of it).  But it didn't stop her from going down stairs. Another dog may have refused - her gait was slow as she would make her way down the stairs, one by one, to go outside - but Ochi insisted on making her own way, mostly because my friends asked her to try and somehow she knew (early on) that she could trust them to know her limits.

She was such a perfect match for Scruff too - a beautiful dog in his own right, but slowing down with age.  She was gentle, and so was gentle around him.  Scruffy passed away awhile ago, and so she was an only dog for awhile.  I think she missed him but also accepted, with grace, that cycle of life.

In the meantime, she aimed to please.  She kept us company quietly but insistently.  She was one to "hold space" for others, I think.  She was at home, finally.

Last fall, she had a cyst on her leg that the vet drained, but it was expected to return.  It would be her demise, my friends knew.  So long as she wasn't in pain, they'd continue.  And she did well, after that. I was able to see her many times, and wondered if she wouldn't just beat that cyst.  Walking down the stairs became a struggle, and sometimes she had to be carried, but she fought her way back and insisted on trying until she mastered those stairs once more.  I admired her for trying - walking at an angle (as she always had), figuring out how to make it to the landing, always trusting that my friends would not ask of her more than she could do.

The cyst came back, and the day came when life was more than she could manage.  She trusted my friends then, too, as they made the difficult - but right - decision to put her to sleep.  She'd arrived at their home as a ready-made friend - to them, to Scruff, to me.  She seemed happiest when she made others happy.  She was perhaps the sweetest dog I've ever met.  I'm glad she's not in pain anymore - but I can't help but miss her.  She was a good, and great, girl.

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