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Dog Diaries

Prince Frecklebum Greyhound Detective:The Case of the Unexpected Rookie

by Ron Powell

~~My name is Prince Frecklebum, Greyhound Detective. I wasn't always a detective. I was a racer once, before I retired. My track name was Occam's Razor of Lightspeed Doom. You can call me Prince. Most of the humans around these parts do.

Last weekend, Mom and Dad got me up early. On sleep-in day. The apparently do not understand that I wake them up, not the other way around. I'm almost embarrassed to walk them around the neighborhood when they act like I haven't trained them thoroughly. Sheesh. Still, it's up to me to get them on the right path. It's what Greyhound Detectives do best. Anyway, I went ahead and replaced the holes in the garden, watered the flowers and just as I was about to go see if the sun was in the right spot for my morning nap, dad opens the garage door and opens the back of the wheely thing. That usually means a ride. I like those! So, I hop up in back and we take off down the road. I don't know where we're going, but what the heck, a ride is a ride. Except when we go to the vet's which is usually a pain in the butt.

A short nap later and we arrived at Miss Lisa's house. I remember her! She's got really soft grass to tinkle on. Her place was the first stop on my way to becoming a Greyhound Detective and the last stop I made when I retired from racing. Good times. Gooooood times. Mom leashed me up so she wouldn't get lost and I jumped down and led her over to a very nostalgic spot. Ahhhhh. That taken care of, I took her and Dad inside so Miss Lisa would see what a good job I've done with them. It was then I saw a bunch of other dogs in crates, waiting to find their own trainees. Some of them weren't quite sure what was going on yet and they all had a serious case of "track rib". I wished I could be there when they discovered Volcano Mucho Grande burritos for the first time. I chatted a couple of them up while I was waiting on mom and dad to quit talking.

"Hey, bub, what's goin' on," I ask of a nearby fawn boy.

"I dunno, man, I just got off this truck a few hours ago. This doesn't look like any track I've ever seen. What's gonna happen to us? We see pups leaving all the time but never know what happens to 'em."

"Don't worry, junior, you're on your way to being Greyhound Detectives. You're gonna get a nice cushy office, some assistants to train and all the treats and tummy rubbin's you can handle."

Just then, a pretty little brindle number piped up. "I'm kinda scared. There's lots of new faces around here. There's not enough dogs around. This ain't right."

"Don't worry, toots. It's an adjustment, but you might go somewhere you're an only dog. That's the bee's knees, right there, 'cuz you never have to share treats!"

"Only? No other hounds? Oh my gosh, I don't know about that. That sounds scary to me!"

"Nah, if you get too scared, they'll find you a Senior Greyhound Detective to live with and learn the ropes from. These humans, they love us 'hounds and they need all kinds of help from us, but they take care of you real good around here."

A little guy in the corner joined in, too. "Wait a minute. I know you! You're Occam's Razor of Lightspeed Doom. You had a cage across from me. You left and no one knew where you went. We was all kind of scared you went over the bridge, Razor."

"Well, now they call me Prince Frecklebum. Prince for short. It wasn't too long ago I was in one of these crates, waiting to find out what life had in store for me. Let me tell you something, kiddos, if this ain't the life, I don't know what is. Nice sunny spots on comfy places to nap in, once you get your humans trained you get all sorts of treats - just watch out for inside rainstorms - and it beats bein' caged up waiting for your next race by a mile. The hard part is learning the ropes and getting your assistants trained up right. Even that is a walk in the park."

The fawn boy looked thoughtfully for a minute. "Thanks, Prince, you're a swell guy. I feel much better about all of this stuff now."

"Great, kid. Now, when they bring out humans to meet you, if you find a set you like, pour on the charm, give 'em the big eyes and lean on 'em, so they know they're perfect for you and you'll be on your way to the land of couches and tummy rubs before you can say 'this here's the life!'. That goes for all of you. That's lesson one. I'll catch you guys later, there's a water bowl over there just begging for my face to be in it."

The pups all quieted down and I trotted over to my hero, Miss Lisa, to see if she remembered right which was my favorite ear to have scratched. Yep, she remembered! Both! I hung out, letting the other humans have their Prince time and found a soft spot on the floor to pass the time. I watched some of the other pups successfully find their assistants but there was one left after all the prospective assistants were picked. It was the little fawn guy. He was a little upset about it, so I moseyed over to reassure him a little.

"Hey Prince, I couldn't find anyone to take me home with 'em today. Guess I go back to the track, huh?"

"No way, kid. You just didn't find your assistants today. You'll get another shot at it. They'll just send you home with someone for a while, till they can find more people you might like, then you get another chance."

"Really? That don't sound so bad to me. I hope I get to go home with someone nice."

Seein' that poor schmoe worried really tugged at my heart, y'know? I figgered I could maybe help the lad out some. "Say, kid, you want I should see if you could come home with me for a while? I'll show you all you need to know about how to teach humans to live with you."

"Really, Prince, do you mean it?"

"Sure thing, kid. Now look, I'm gonna set the stage, but to seal the deal, you really gotta make out like you're happy, Ok? When I get their attention, pour it on thick! What's your name, kid?"

"Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail is my racing name"

"Yikes. Well, no worries kid, you're gonna get a new Greyhound Detective name here shortly." I laid down by the kid's cage and whined a bit to get Mom's attention. When she looked, I leaned up on Jumbo's cage and wagged my tail. Jumbo did his part and did a fine job of it, too. Mom, Dad and the other humans chatted about how well we got along and sure enough, when the time came, the kid and I settled down in the back of the wheely thing for the long ride home.

"I like my new name, Prince."

"Slobbers is a great name, kid. Glad you like it!"

"So, what do I need to know, Prince?"

"Well, first thing is you're going to have to master going up and down stairs. They can be scary at first, but you have to be brave and show your humans how to get up and down them, so learn 'em quick. Then, you gotta learn about these invisible hard things that are in the house. You can see right through 'em, but they're solid so you bonk your nose on 'em. I learned that the hard way if you see what I'm sayin' here. You're going to learn how to lead your humans around on a leash. There's some floors that are really shiny and a little slippery, too. You might fall once or twice, but you'll get the hang of 'em. At least, you better because that's where you will find your food and water bowls. We'll go over more, later, kid. Right now, I'm gonna take a snooze. Gotta keep my energy up if I'm going to do my job as Greyhound Detective."

The kid let me snooze a while and when I woke up, we were back at the house. I jumped out and showed him how to water flowers and make sure there were enough holes in the garden. He perked up when he saw a rabbit. I said, "leave it alone kid. The rabbits around here are real shady. You chase 'em and their accomplices steal your house. Trust me." I showed him the house and I told him the house was his crate now and he shouldn't be trying to water the carpets, that's for the garden, like I showed him. I showed him where to find soft comfy spots to lay on, how to watch the glowy box on the wall and how to lean properly on a human to get treats and love. It was a pretty good first day, really. Poor kid was all tuckered out by dinner time, but I could tell he had the makings of a great Detective in him.

Over the next couple weeks, I really taught the kid how to train humans. He took to it like a pack of me's on a pound of bacon. mmmmmm. Bacon. I had to make sure he knew, in no uncertain terms, which spots were mine and which bowls he could use and that the big white water bowl was off limits, and where the cursed treats were, and how to make humans feel better and all the things a good Greyhound Detective had to know.

Today, however, Mom and Dad loaded him up in the wheely thing and left for awhile. When they came back, Slobbers was not with them.

"Hey, Prince, your buddy got adopted!"

Adopted is what humans call it when a 'hound Detective picks 'em to be his assistants. Cute, ain't it? You gotta love 'em, even if they need so much work to get 'em trained right. And have cursed treats just layin' around. And keep the big white water bowl to themselves. Anyway, I was happy for Slobbers. He graduated to fully credentialed Greyhound Detective and I solved the Case of the Unexpected Rookie.

Wherever you are, Slobbers, I'm proud of you.

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