We got our first dog, Andy, when I was three. I don't remember him as a puppy but I don't remember not having him around. Honestly, who could say no to a sweet face like that?
He stuck around until I was in middle school when his ailments finally caught up with him. It was a sad day when we had to say goodbye to him.
Clay's racing tattoos
Clay didn't come along until I was well into high school. We didn't get the pleasure of knowing him as a puppy because he was raised to race. After an unsuccessful career, he was sent to be a part of an inmate program in which each dog was assigned to a prisoner who was responsible for teaching their greyhound some basic house manners. Clay, like all race dogs, had lived his life in a kennel. His inmate was in charge of teaching him to potty outside, sit, stay, lay under the table at mealtime, speak on command and walk on a leash, among other things.
When Clay joined our clan, we received a letter from his previous caretaker, along with a denim coat he'd stitched himself out of old jeans. The hardened biker that trained Clay cried when he was adopted. Clay is that special.
Clay is still in good spirits though his cancer is starting to catch up to him. His lymph nodes have swollen and he has some mild edema under his jowls, so much so that he's starting not to look like himself. Still, he gulps down his food and races around the backyard, then comes in and sleeps on his chair.
One of my defining characteristics is my love of animals. I've always been intrigued by them and am forever enjoying their companionship. While no animal replaces any human relationship I've had, they all fulfill a specific and important role for me. When the time comes, Clay will be sorely missed. Until then, we just keep growing more attached to our sweet dog.