Finding the Right Homes for Retired Hounds in the Delaware, Maryland, D.C., Virginia Area ...and Beyond!
Dog Diaries

Tag, You're It!

by Merle Doughten

Do you remember when you were young and use to play tag with your friends? It was a game with at least 3 neighborhood kids or more running around the yard with one person being “it” chasing the others around trying to make them “it”. It was a fun game that could last for hours, usually ending when everyone was too tired or hot to keep playing.

I know for me, in our little neighborhood in Delaware that I grew up in, we could have marathon games with close to 20 kids and 3 yards involved. It would get so hectic and frenzied it was easy to lose track of who was actually “it”. I loved it!

So what does this have to do with greyhounds? Well, my three have taken the game of tag and made it their own. Mack, Jack, and Gracie play their own version of tag. Whenever I tell someone about this, I get the look of “you've got to be kidding me.” But it is the truth, and really a riot to watch.

The game actually took a little bit of time to develop. Our yard is not very large by any stretch of the imagination. We have almost a quarter of an acre with only half of that fenced in for the dogs. Add in the shed and the numerous large shrubs and our deck, that area is even smaller.

But that doesn’t deter these guys (and gal) one bit. I’m sure if you ask any greyhound owner that has a fenced in yard, they will all tell you they have a tracks that the dog(s) have made in the grass. A mini race track if you like! Our racing path starts at the bottom of the steps of the porch and ventures between two large English Yew shrubs, emerging between a Blue Spruce and another Yew, across the yard, around the shed and back to the start. Going full steam, slamming on the brakes, around and around, they can make the loop in 8-10 seconds. Usually as they hit top speed, they have to slow to make the turns. They love it.

Now where does the game of tag come into this? One day we let them out and off the deck they went. A few minutes later, we heard all three barking at something, and it sounded pretty serious. We ran outside, and there they were in the middle of the yard facing each other, almost nose to nose to nose, down in a play bow barking their fool heads off. All of a sudden, Gracie shot off, and Mack and Jack were hot on her heels. She hit the shrubs, and Mack followed while Jack went to where she would be coming out.

She shot out with Mack flying behind her, and Jack giving chase to them both. As she headed for the shed, Mack again followed, and Jack went around to the other side. I knew a collision was coming, but before I could yell, Gracie came out this time with Jack in hot pursuit and Mack having turned around behind the shed ran past the deck. Gracie again went into the shrubs, but this time walked out. When she got back to the middle of the yard, all three got together again and started barking at each other nose to nose to nose. This time Jack took off.

I sat and watch this go on for about 5 minutes, before they all stopped and came up panting and looking for some water. I realized they were playing tag in reverse. The other two had to get the dog that was “it”!

Now growing up we had different ways of deciding who was “it”. Everyone would say “Not It” and the last person who spoke was “it”. We did hot potato, where the last person left with a potato was “it”. Guess a number between 1-15, was another way. And the old reliable rock, paper, scissors. However we did it, we knew who it was. I could not tell you how my herd figures out who's “it," but they do, and they have a ball playing.

What’s really funny is when we take in a foster and they see the herd start playing tag for the first time. Most fosters see all the barking and chasing and want to join in but can’t figure out what's going on.

The worst one was a fawn boy named Dodge. He just could not figure out which way everyone was headed and always seemed to get in the way. Even after a month of being with us, he never really got the hang of it. It was a wonder he didn’t get run over!

Some of the other fosters, Kitty and Prince for example, were able to pick it up quickly and had fun running around with the herd. They never got to be “it”, but they did get to give chase.

It was just like growing up with all the neighborhood kids joining in! So if you ever stop by, maybe you will get to see the herd out back playing tag!
Greyhounds aren't just dogs, they are a way of life!