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Dog Diaries

The Greyhound Scream of Death

by Diane Wainwright

There are many tools that coddled, spoiled Greyhounds use to ensure their ongoing success: sad eyes, whining, whimpering, and yowling, just to name a few. But the most lethal tool by far is the Greyhound Scream of Death (GSOD). Contrary to the visions of heinous, life-threatening injuries this may conjure in your mind, a Greyhound unleashing the GSOD is likely not hurt, but may have actually stepped on a blade of wet grass and wants you to fix it immediately. Let me outline an example; picture this…

You and your Greyhound are sitting on your deck outside enjoying a beautiful spring afternoon. Your Greyhound is snuggled on a nice, soft blanket you brought out, snoozing and dreaming of happy things, while you are stretched out on your chaise lounge relaxing with a good book. The birds are chirping happily, playing in your new bird bath, not a cloud in the sky. It is an afternoon that defines serenity.

Unbeknownst to you, a fly has decided to check out your Greyhound. It buzzes around cautiously, quickly realizing that the beast is not disturbed by its presence. It hovers briefly above your Greyhound’s nose, lining its feet up for maximum traction and then lands abruptly. Out of nowhere, your Greyhound goes from sweet serenity to a swirling mass of uncoordinated legs and tail, spiraling around in confusion, while letting out the most ear piercing, heart stopping scream of agony you have ever heard.

It is a sound heard by the neighbors over their home theater system as they contemplate dialing 9-1-1. Chipmunks and squirrels you didn’t even notice are chattering the alarm and seeking higher ground taking the other woodland creatures with them. It is full of such portents of danger the birds leave and fly to trees miles away for safety. You, meanwhile, reflexively throw your book 20 feet in the air and rush to save your dog from the evil that has cursed it before you even realize you are standing up.

Your dog, seeing that you are on your way, stands still with one front paw gingerly lifted off the ground, quivering with soft, sad eyes staring at you, wrenching sobs from your throat and welling your eyes with tears as you envision that some failing on your part has caused harm to come to your favored friend. As soon as your Greyhound sees that you are affected, he hobbles towards you so you can caress him and check him over to fix the horrendous injury that has caused his anguish.

You take the seemingly injured paw gently in your hands, expecting spurts of blood or missing fur and scraped skin… but there is nothing. You spread his toes to check the webbing, expecting to see it split wide open and oozing blood… but there is nothing. You check pads for splinters, the wrist for gashes; you work your way up to the ankle, gentle manipulating the whole way with your heart pounding so loudly you are afraid it will burst. You are expecting to find a twist or sprain with your ever-so-gentle massage that will elicit the GSOD again… but there is nothing.

And then you see it… the fly laying on your dog’s bed, its heart stopped from fear, dead where it was tossed when your Greyhound jumped for the sky. You gently flick it off the bed to the grass below, and your Greyhound trots right on over (using all four feet) where he nests the blanket and settles right back to his snooze, oblivious to your gaping jaw.

Greyhounds aren't just dogs, they are a way of life!