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.