On the first of November in 1991 my first whippet was born. At the time neither she nor I had the slightest inkling that we would meet and that she would change my life rather dramatically; or maybe she knew. Dogs do know things.
Gracious had the best memory of any dog - or human for that matter - I've ever encountered. I nearly lost her at a dog event when she saw Lesley Potts. I didn't know Lesley. Gracious had lived with Lesley for a few weeks when she was an eleven week old pup. She was eight months old at the time, and she saw her old friend and bolted to greet her, nearly pulling her lead from my hand. I learned to hold on to Gracious's lead extra tight whenever we were somewhere that Lesley might be.
Then there was Linda. All of my dogs adored Linda. Well, so do I! Gracious bestowed her highest honor upon Linda: she gave my dearest friend her one and only puppy, Willow. There was absolutely no question of her gift, or of her pleasure and satisfaction at Linda's acceptance.
Throughout Willow's life, at least once a week Linda would drive the hour to our farm to visit and walk, and Gracious and Willow would revel in the fantastic-ness of their reunion. Gracious would greet her daughter, and thank Linda and share her glee. Light would shine in our farmhouse kitchen. It was a delicious contagion; a warm smile erupts even now as I remember.
Gracious got me started with my appreciation of European whippets. Her dad was the ultra-traveled, highly successful Kiwi: AM, DK, FR, Int CH Beautiful Dreamer du Sac à Malices. I think he even went to Japan an got his championship there, as well.
Gracious got me started. She got me started showing. Got me started lure coursing and racing. Got me started in obedience and agility. The fun, the joy, the friendships, the joy, the addiction, the joy, the commitment, the joy, all of that love, and all of that joy.
Top photo by me, middle photo by Laurie Erickson, bottom photo by Steve Surfman.
hug your hounds and hold your memories close