Monday, November 8, 2010

White whippets and Hamlet

Seeing all of Jo's little white pups makes me think of our first whippet, Hamlet. What Hammie lacked for the show ring, he certainly made up for in personality. Put him in a crate and he would smush his nose up against the bars and make a pig face. Leave him behind and he'd make the most peculiar noises -- almost birdlike, but definitely unhappy! He lived to ride in the car and would wait patiently for hours while we shopped. Although he never finished his championship, he took Johannah to many, many wins in Junior Showmanship, though she had to work for every one of them,,,Hamlet believed in making things challenging for her.

For starters, I could not be anywhere in the building. Though he loved Jo dearly, when he went in the ring, you would have thought he was my dog. he whined and flipped and turned around in circles looking for me. The only way to prevent this act was for me to simply leave the building (and make sure he saw me leave!) And oh, did he love to give her a hard time. She'd have him perfectly set up on the table in the ring, and he'd move a foot. She'd fix that one and he'd move another one. And on and on and on.

When Jo grew up and moved to Boston, Hamlet went with her. When she moved to Indiana, he went with her. When she moved back to Columbia, he went with her. But when she married and moved in with Derek, there he drew the line. He began chewing his foot, making it bloody. He tore up a dog bed and spread it around the house. He forgot to be housebroken. (Keep in mind, this was a ten-year-old dog by now!)

Finally Jo threw up her hands and asked if he could come live with me, at least till his foot healed. As soon as he arrived here, the foot-chewing stopped, he never destroyed another thing, and he remembered to pee outside. Frankly, I think he was just tired of moving! Or maybe he just wanted to retire with Mom. He knew he had my number. Jo took much less nonsense from him!

Hamlet had a terrible heart murmur (we never bred him, obviously) but lived to two months shy of 15 years old. When he was 13, he collapsed and was paralyzed. We put him on prednisone, I held him in the porch swing and cried for hours. It was a Friday night and the vet said to wait till Monday and see how he was. By Monday he was lifting his head, and within two weeks, he was walking. From then on, he lurched like a drunken sailor, but he was one happy dog. Walt took him for walks every day, though we could not trust him off-lead. It was amazing how fast he could disappear even with his zombie-like gait.

The day Walt had to carry him back to the house, we knew it was time to let go. He's buried next to Judy Street Dog, U-CDX, but since they really didn't like each other much, we put a board between their graves. We used to joke that they were beating each other up with their walkers. Neither was strong enough to get in much of a punch, but they'd occasionally go a short round.

We still miss you terribly, Hammie. I wonder if you have come back in one of those little white puppies of Rini's.

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