Thursday, February 23, 2012

MY LIFE AS A NEUROTIC GREYHOUND, by Nicky

Mom thinks that most greyhounds are neurotic, but that I am may be the most neurotic of all.  Of course, she has not lived with all that many greyhounds, so it's quite possible that she is making a gross generalization.  I will admit to having a few quirks, but hey, who doesn't?  And it's their little quirks that make a person or a dog interesting, at least to my way of thinking.




Another thing Mom says about me is that I may be autistic.  We don't even know if dogs can have autism, but Mom believes that if they can have it, I've definitely got it.  One thing about some autistic people is that they like life to be always the same and very predictable, with everything in its place.  I'm like this, because if anything looks wrong, I get all flustered.  Like for example, if Mom hangs her coat on the stair railing, then the whole staircase looks different to me, and I don't know if it's safe to go up there or not.  Or if there is a kitten on the stairs, I really can't possibly think about going up those steps, because who knows what might happen!

It's the same with coming in the back door from the yard.  I have lots of trouble deciding if it's okay to come in, or if it's the right time to come in.  When another dog is anywhere near the doorway, then I get very nervous about going through it -- especially if it's Barry, because sometimes he attacks me in doorways.


Here's where Mean Old Barry bit me on the face last week,
but Mom has started "managing" the situation,
and we hope it won't happen again!

While I'm trying to get up the nerve to come in the door, I always make circles, and I always go to the left, which is also called counterclockwise.  I don't know why I go this direction.  It just seems like the way I should go.  If I went the other way, that would feel all wrong.  But sometimes while I'm making circles on the patio, trying to decide whether to go in the house, Mom holds the door open so long for me that Jason runs out into the yard.  Then Mom mutters bad words and goes out in the yard to try to catch him, which used to be easy when he was just a little kitten.  But now he's a big kitten, and he knows lots more tricks to avoid being caught.

So in order to keep Jason from running out the door, Mom will pick him up and hold him while she's waiting for me to come in.  But it looks strange for Mom to be standing at the door, holding a cat, and that makes me think maybe it's not safe to go in there.  Or sometimes, just when I am about to go in the door, Mom makes a grab for Jason because he is about to run out the door.  And that's very startling to me, so I have to go back to making circles for a while.


This is such a great place to take a nap!

Actually, there are a lot of times when I'd rather just stay out in the yard, especially if the temperature is nice, like in the 30s or 40s.  I enjoy watching the squirrels in the trees, or digging holes, and I also find it pleasant to lie down in the sun and take a little nap.  Mom gets frustrated sometimes if I won't come in when she thinks I should, but she's getting better about just leaving me outside for a while.  One day she forgot I was out there, and she went away for several hours.  I entertained myself by digging holes, howling at sirens, and snoozing.  Luckily, it didn't rain or snow or even get very cold that day.


I spend a lot of time contemplating the scariness of the kitchen floor.

Anyway, once I do come back into the house, there is the matter of crossing the kitchen floor.  The kitchen floor is a treacherous area because it has no carpeting or rugs.  So before I can cross it, I usually have to work up my nerve by circling numerous times, and then I rush across to the living room, where there are some rugs.  Mom says that there is a lot of texture in the kitchen floor tiles, so it shouldn't be all that slick.  Also she says that if I would just walk across it in a normal way, like a regular dog, it wouldn't seem so scary.  But I find it hard to believe a lot of the things that Mom says, and this is one of them.


The landing is just big enough for me to do some serious circling.

The stairs pose another huge problem for me because, let's face it, greyhounds are built for running, and not for climbing stairs.  So whenever I decide to go upstairs, I usually have to do the circle process again.  What I find to work best for me is to circle first at the bottom of the stairs, and then to go up the two steps to the landing and circle there for a while.  Each time I come around to face the stairs, I have to decide whether I should go on up or not, and often I decide it's not quite the right moment.  Sometimes it takes me five minutes or more of circling before I can finally go up the stairs.

The decision to go down the stairs is usually easier, although I find it helpful to stop dead in my tracks at the top of the steps before proceeding.  This way, Mom can almost fall over me, then change her course to go around me and start down.  That assures me that the plan really is for all of us to descend.  I have to be careful not to go too fast, though, because a couple of times I have been known to trip and run head-first into the closet door at the bottom of the stairs.

My favorite place to sleep is on the big, round dog bed in Mom's bedroom.  It's the kind of place where I can sprawl out in perfect comfort.  If Mom has to go into the bedroom for some reason, like to answer the phone or to get ready for bed, I don't mind if she steps over me.  Some dogs like to bite people who step over them, but I'm not that kind of guy.  If Mom did what that silly obedience class instructor said to do, she would make me get up and move every single time instead of stepping over me, but she didn't like his methods, so she just steps right on over me.


Mom says I make funny breathing noises when I sleep,
but I wouldn't know about that because I don't stay awake to listen!

If Mom happens to be carrying something, though, like for instance, a laundry basket, I will jump up and run frantically out into the hallway.  That's because I think it's very scary when Mom is carrying something.  Who knows what she might drop on me?  I could get killed!  In general, I find that Mom is pretty klutzy, and she often drops things or bangs things around, all of which I find terribly unnerving.  If she bangs a pan in the kitchen, for example, I will go scrambling up the stairs without even taking the time to circle first!

But getting back to the circling, it's not always about uncertainty and decision-making.  Sometimes it's about being excited.  Like if Mom is getting out my leash so she can take me for a walk, I go leaping around in circles because I'm so happy.  And if it's dinnertime, and Mom is about to give me a nice bowl full of dog food, I will spin a whole bunch of circles in hungry anticipation.  But I always circle to the left, as I said before, never to the right.  Circling to the right would just be wrong.

Here I am sleeping with my head propped against the bed frame.
I think it makes an excellent pillow.

Well, I think I've gone on long enough about my charming idiosyncrasies.  You can judge for yourself if you think I'm autistic or neurotic or if I just have a colorful personality.  Mom says she still loves me, in spite of everything.  And in the end, I'm glad that I'm not like other dogs, or even like other greyhounds, because what fun would that be?

12 comments:

  1. Wow I think Nicky is even more neurotic than when I was fostering him!! He never did care for slick floors but I never had a problem with him not wanting to come inside. Maybe he enjoys his time outdoors away from the other dogs...especially mean old Barry! Julie

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    1. He is better about coming inside this winter than he was when I first got him last winter. There was one day last winter when he stayed out in 9-degree weather, with snow on the ground, for 45 minutes before he agreed to come in! In the summer, it's not an issue, since he apparently considers anything over 70 degrees to be "too hot"!

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  2. We have a spinner at our house too. Her name is Pearl-petual Motion, sometimes her name is Pearlpleeeezegolaydown, and sometimes it is other things. She's a malinois and spins when she's excited or can't think of something else to do. She mostly spins to the left but will often do many spins to the left and end with one spin to the right. Mom calls her "special". That's "special" with the quotation marks. She says I'm special too, but I don't need quotation marks with my special.

    --Zest! special superstar in training

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    1. Dear Zest,
      Spinning is an excellent pastime, and it can relieve a lot of frustration. I am sure that Pearl knows this, and that's why she likes to spin. I wish Pearl and I could get together, and then we could do some "special" synchronized spinning -- but only if she would agree to always go to the left.
      Your friend, Nicky

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  3. You have also described my greyhound very accurately! He too has floor anxiety and does not like change at all!

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    1. Thanks for your comment! It's nice to know that I am not the only greyhound who is afraid of slick floors and of anything that is different. Maybe we are the only sensible ones, and all other greyhounds are nuts!
      Nicky

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  4. Nicky should go to bootcamp at Cesar Millan's dog psychology center near LA. The dog pack would cure him and he'd live happier. Not much fun to have even mild autism

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    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I'm sorry, but my mom totally does not agree with Cesar Millan's methods, so she will not be sending me to bootcamp. I have been taking some prednisone because the neurologist thinks I have a sore disc in my neck, and now I feel lots better and more confident about going up and down the stairs. Also I've been eating better. So maybe I'm not really as neurotic as Mom thought I was! Ha!
      Nicky

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  5. I think I have your dog's twin. He is going nuts because I have people painting the exterior of my house. Yes, he's been introduced to them, no mattter. He's already on generic prozac but he definitely needs something more!

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    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I would like to meet my twin sometime! Mom thinks I am the most neurotic dog ever, but now she knows there is at least one more who is like me. I have been taking Prozac, but now I'm not because Mom couldn't tell that it was doing any good. Maybe I just need "something more," like your dog does.
      Sincerely,
      Nicky
      P.S. I'm glad nobody is painting our house because that would totally freak me out!

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  6. What a terrible story...why would you make fun of your dog? You really should not have him or any animals since you appear to be psycho.

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    1. I'm sorry that immature people like you feel compelled to write rude comments on people's blogs. Come back when you've had time to grow up and be more civil.

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