Shy Dogs

All of the AAGI greyhounds are special — each has their own little something that makes us remember them as they pass through for adoption. Each one develops into a pet in their own manner — making us laugh, making us cry and sometimes making us tear our hair out– but the most rewarding of all is the super shy dog. Watching these extra special dogs learn to live in a world that for them is filled with terrors is truly one of life’s best rewards.

I was scanning my way through an internet greyhound list not long ago and came across this posting about timid dogs. It really struck a chord with me and I thought Sandy Martin summed up the essence of these special dogs very nicely. She granted permission for me to share it with you:

Greyhound folks,

People seem to be concerned that new adopters will be will be put off from adopting a shy dog because of the list of things we’ve posted that frighten them.

Since my list was quite long (Yana may have a record number of fears), I feel I can speak with great authority when I say that adopting a timid greyhoiund has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I couldn’t be happier with Yana – my little special needs girl.

My first greyhound, years ago, wasn’t shy at all. He was a “normal” greyhound–loving, goofy, gorgeous. People would stop their cars to look at him and he never hesitated to go to strangers for pets. I adored him. He had no fears, and didn’t have to try to be wonderful, it was just a part of him.

But Yana is… well… special. When she learns something new, or overcomes an obstacle that terrifies her, I see a bravery that was missing in my first greyhound. If I laugh loudly and Yana runs from the room, I can see the courage it takes for her to come back and peek around the corner to see if it’s safe. I see her tentatively reach toward me to see if I’m going to hit her or pet her. This tiny girl is the poster dog for bravery.

When she’s outside and someone rattles a trash can and frightens her, then she summons up enough courage (and trust in me) to continue the walk or finish doing her business- I am in awe of her.

When I see her running through the house playing with the cat (she used to be afraid of Babycakes) or pushing her way behind me on the couch because it’s her spot (she used to be afraid to get on the couch) or demanding to be petted (she used to sit with her back to me, afraid to look at me)– I am thrilled. It means so much to me that she worked her butt off to overcome the fear that was inside her.

Would I adopt another real shy greyhound? In a second!! Yana makes the tiny successes taste so sweet!

She gets an extra treat tonight. I’d give her an extra hug but she’s still afraid of ’em — sigh.

Sandy & Yana the Brave

No one seems to know what makes these timid greyhounds so fearful. Some think it is abuse but really it is just the way they are. Just as some humans are shy, these greyhounds feel perfectly safe and comfortable in the familiar kennel surroundings they were raised in. It is only when confronted with the strange environment of home life that they become fearful.

Think about enriching your life by either adopting or fostering one of these special dogs — you’ll never be sorry. They make great second, or third, or ___ dogs! They take an extra amount of patience but they give back more than three-fold in love and adoration.

I think we should start calling them the Special Needs Extra Brave dogs instead of shy!!

Kari Morrison Young