Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No, No. Bad Dogs.

Two stories.

First, a delightful visit by some fellow dog bloggers.
The Barkalotz Boys, Just Harry and Jake, are great good blogging friends of the whippets, and I was eager to meet them and their humans in real life.

There was a problem. I've mentioned the whippets' extreme breedism on numerous occasions. We have had frequent whippet guests, and even an Italian Greyhound or two, and the whippets are quite gracious hosts. They share toys and wag tails and get along just fine. But Harry and Jake are Wire Fox Terriers.

(I hear the whippet owners among you dear readers gasping in horror!)

The whippets have a dog room just off our kitchen. They eat there (when they're not mooching from our guests) and they stay in crates there when we go out. (They sleep up in our bedroom; the dog room is just for short periods when we're not home.) They will also go in there if we have a large number of guests, (like an open house or a gallery show) and the front door and yard gates are going to be open, to avoid escapees. So they weren't surprised when I gave them biscuits in their crates: the table was set and the pasta sauce had been cooking all day.

Then our guests came in.

It was loud. It was not polite. It was ugly.

"Hairy Dogs!!! Sound the Hairy Dog ALARM!!!"

"Idiot Servant do you not see? There are Hairy Dogs in our HOUSE!!!"

I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that the tornado siren could not compare. And that can be heard for 50 miles.

The Wire Fox Terriers were charming, beautifully behaved little visitors. The whippets... well they did finally settle - and quiet - down.

Second story. I used to walk all of the whippets at once, back when we lived at the farm. We walked through crop fields on tractor roads. I frequently ended up on my butt or my belly, when we encountered deer, fox, groundhogs, squirrels, and bunnies. I only walk three at a time, here in the city. Being dragged into oncoming traffic wouldn't be prudent. And I don't want a whippet to get loose. I quickly learned that it was a Bad Idea to walk large groups of whippets in the city, even with extra walkers. Bill would go his way with two, I would go mine in batches.

The whippets behave remarkably well in groups of three. But get six whippets together, and there's a pack mentality. One seventeen year old boy can be charming. Three can be productive. Six are a mob, egging each other on. Like that.

I ignored my own Rule, and accepted Bill's invitation to walk together. It was a holiday. We were enjoying High Spirits.

I walked Very Old Dog and Mama Pajama around their one block, and when I got back, Bill had coats on the remaining six. Off we set, Fat Charlie, Luciano and Delia with Bill. Sam, Swede William and Lindy Loo with me.

It was a lovely walk! I admitted to having Ungrounded Fears. Clearly, the whippets were used to walking in the city now, and we could walk together.

We repeated the whole thing the next day. We were joined by two little Yorkies on their walk, no problem. Good Dogs! Treats all around! And then, just a half a block from home, disaster.

Our neighbor, Keyth, (of Nekked Neighbor fame) was struggling with a large piece of artwork ahead of us down the sidewalk. I called out to him, "Keyth, do you need some help?"

Apparently, this translated into dogspeak as, "Dogs, find something to attack!!!"

And at that very moment, Swede William spied a C.A.T.

It wasn't pretty, dear readers.

I tried. Six years of training dogs to ignore what a thousand years of selective breeding has programmed into their brains. In groups of three, I can say "Look!" and focus their attention on treats in my pocket and away from vermin. In groups of three.

Not, dear readers, not in groups of six.

In their defense, this was a particularly heinous C.A.T. An evil C.A.T. which delights in sauntering just outside the whippets' yard. Loitering just out of reach. Blowing raspberries at them with impunity and pooping in our corner garden, in plain sight.

And there he was. No fence to hide behind.

Down I went.

The whippets' motto is if you can't bite the one you want, bite the ones you're with. So Sammy bit Lindy, Looch bit Charlie, Delia bit Looch.

I said, "Ow."

And then I spewed a long string of Bad Words. Loudly.

Keyth called later to see if I was okay. He's a good neighbor.

We're going back to separate walks, no more than three at a time.

hug your hounds. Even the naughty ones who do what they were bred to do.


  1. Thank you for sharing the photos from your terrier filled weekend! Hugs from the Northeast! r

  2. How did I miss these events? Holed up in my house on vacation I guess!

  3. LOL! I prefer Maltese among all other breeds too. LOL!

    Happy 2009!


  4. Really similar response from the Terriers here to our visitors! So it isn't all breedism. In our case, I think Gus n Teka were just trying to take some of the spotlight from the barkies, who were neat, polite and perfectly behaved while here. Also, Gussie muttered something about keeping Teka safe for Willy Um.


  5. We Airedales seem to be breedists too. We have no problem with other Aire-heads, but if we see some other breed, we want to EAT them! We have to be walked individually. Since we are all pretty large, our mom has found that she can be flat on her face pretty darn quickly if she tries to walk more than one of us at once. We hope you didn't get hurt on your 6-Whippet walkie!

    Happy New Year!

    Poppy, Penny & Patches

  6. Wow that sounds like a "wild whippet walkie" ... good thing you didn't get hurt! Madison is starting to figure out the fake-and-lunch ... feigning disinterest and then taking full advantage of a lack of leash command. OUch.

  7. Oh No! Well that evil cat was out there at the wrong time! I'm glad you didn't get hurt, much...ow! How cool that you got to met Jake & Just Harry! Happy New Year!
    Hugs & Snugs
    Eduardo the Snuggle Puggle

  8. Heck - I get whippet hysteria walking just 2 dogs when a C.A.T. or (heaven forbid) a S.Q.U.I.R.R.E.L. is spied!! Becca totally wigs out and Tazio decides that would be a good time to try to mount her!

  9. Poor, Patience! It was a good plan for the holiday! Too bad it didn't go as planned!
    Happy New Year! We hope 2009 is the best year yet!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  10. Ah, we know the feeling.

    Skeezix, Buster and Nearly

  11. Heehee. They sound like my kinda pooches!

  12. How kind you are -- to ignore Jakey's low crawl into the whippet room and his poor attemt at more intimate contact with Very Old Dog!!!

    I hope you were not too bruised by your fall. I walk one hairy dog at the time. Otherwise wrapped around a pole or a tree is my fate.

    We loved meeting you and will be blogging soon.

    Woofs from the Boyz!!


  13. Happy New Year, guys, to you and your family! Love ya!

    (Wire fox terriers aren't so bad. I'm one and I'm terrific!)

    Koobuss Kisses,

  14. It must have been wonderful to have DWB visitors. They looked liked they had a good time.
    That was quite a walk. Luckily you are all OK.

  15. Well we think it doesn't matter if you are hairy or not..we are the same way with ANYONE who comes to visit(with or without hair) A s for walking in groups...well really it was A CAT...DO YOU HEAR US???? A CAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eekkk PL2 tries to walk us one in each hand and still falls here and theer......sigh... I mean A CAT......Love A+A

  16. Hope the dogs didn't do too much damage to each other & that you aren't too bruised Patience. We walk with a whippet & an IG & the noise is horrendous when they see a C A T & there are plenty of them around here, so you have my understanding & sympathy!

    Your visitors sound very well behaved & I hope everyone enjoyed the time spent with you.
    happy New Year.

    Carol, wags from Banjo & Aida.

  17. your whippets are definitely the funniest dogs we have ever known - or maybe it's the way you tell the stories! hee hee!

    happy new year woofs!

  18. Our person has difficulty just walking the two of us. She keeps saying these words "calm and assertive" repeatedly while we pull her down the street. We hope Patience is feeling okay and didn't get any injuries in her fall.
    Happy new year Patience, Bill and the whippets.

  19. Yeah, but seeing a CAT breaks all the rules, don't you understand???? It's a C-A-T!!!!

    (all terrier underneath the fluff)

  20. It was good talking to you during the chat. Hope you have a Barky New Year. We chuckled in reading your story about the C A T, and the visiting Barkalot Boyz.

    If the barked so much at small furry dogs, we wonder what big ones would do.

    Essex & Deacon

  21. Oh Dear...I'm giggling wildly...I can only imagine the racket though I'm surprised that the Barkalot Boyz didn't contribute to the barking mayhem???

    I always walk these three together. Have not fallen yet, but the year is new. Tonight we were walking after dark, on icy sidewalks when some bloomin' idiot decides to set off fireworks. I mean it's not July. Stanley bolted to the left, Scruffy to the right and Lacie froze and refused to move. Had to carry her and drag the other too and not fall. After Koobie's mom told me of a horrendous fall she had on the ice with a former Koobuss, am now carrying my cell on all walks...

    Hugs to you, Bill and the whippets!!

    Mumsie and Pack

  22. The motto of "if you can't bite the one you want, bite the ones you're with", applies to all breed not only whippets. We have seen Huskies and Shih Tsus did that and they are on leash in a pack of not more than 3. So in comparison, the whippets are really well behaved!


  23. Oh, the furry Edward would send the Whippets into Hairy Dog Explosion!! Such a funny story!

    I wish you a most Happy New Year!! And all those wonderful dogs, too!

  24. It's too bad you have not met Roy. Tessa can control her hunting instincts but Roy is a powerful mix of guarders and gangsters. Oh how we love our doggies and the friends that serve them. Happy New Year to you, who makes my days bright and joyful.

  25. Sadly funny and all too familiar.

    We have to take our dog over to stay with friends when family come to visit with their small children because Lindsay gets enraptured beyond belief in the presence of little kids. Her wriggling, squirming and face licking (not to mention tail wagging) is over powering.

    (Now I have to go back and see what this Naked Guy stuff was all about)

  26. I know I really shouldn't laugh...I've been there with The Lurchers and The Greyhound. Only three I know, but equal to a Whippet Waggle methinks!

  27. Just saw your Comment on books for your step granddaughter in Pamela Terry and Edward blog... you made me recall a wonderful book I recently read by Nancy Horan, Loving Frank, a fiction (but based in truth) about FLW and Mamah Cheney, his mistress.... very good book. Have you read it? Also your blog looks very enjoyable!! Happy New Year!

  28. Patience
    sheesh hope you'we not all black and Blue..maybe youw wondewful awtist Bill can paint you in youw livid colows,hehehe
    Sowwy to laugh, but I've heawd Mommi's stowies of when she had THWEE foxie kids..not pwetty, hehehe
    I still love all you whippets even if you don't like us haiwy kids..heck don't you wemembew ouw snuggles Sam?
    have a safe NewYeaw
    love and smoochie kisses

  29. We giggled at the comparison with 17 year old boys. Harmless when isolated, dangerous in packs.

    I am a bit of a breedist myself which is funny for a mutt but I do have a bit of an obsession with labs, especially chocolate and black ones. Especially if they are noisy. Though once I had an OBSESSION with a whippet at the park who was wearing a coat. I wouldn't stop trying to mount her.

    In other words, it would probably be best if I didn't visit your house.



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