Fall, 2000: Prisoner of Love
No, the title does NOT describe how I spent my 37th anniversary in Portland– since it wasn't with my husband, but, instead with "Money Maker" who will become a Northcoast Greyhound Support member next Friday. I am sorry to say the weekend turned out not nearly as planned and that my original encounter with Money was not
under happy circumstances.
Two days before our expected departure, it was apparent that our 13 year old Tricia would require surgery (toe removal) so Jerry agreed to stay home from this long planned anniversary trip. Our intentions were to attend the GPA/NW annual picnic where he was to help me sell NCG goodies. That evening, friends who intended to fly in from Texas to join us canceled their trip, too! Well, HUH! Some anniversary, I thought…
So I packed up t–shirts, jewelry and ornaments and off I flew alone to claim our premium car and luxurious room at the downtown Hotel Vintage Plaza. It turned out to be a good thing we'd arranged these special accommodations. Thursday evening I drove out to GPA National President, Pat Toman's, home to take her to dinner. When I arrived, a call came in from a foster family: after living comfortably together for three weeks, Money Maker had been attacked by the resident Boxer and was now at the emergency veterinary clinic.
Pat and I drove there to check on MM who had two lengthy gashes on his back. The vet explained she'd leave one wound partially open while suturing the other and that we could pick him up after dinner. We couldn’t take him back to the home with the boxer, and, still recovering from anesthesia, he was in no shape to go to Pat’s house with six other greyhounds. I would have to take him back to my hotel in Portland.
When Money and I arrived to our room at 11:00PM, awaiting him were a soft king–sized blankie, bottled water, two stainless bowls, a stack of cardboard & plastic pooper–scoopers, two bags of Beggin Strips and a couple of rawhide chewys! Please note– if you travel with your greyhounds, the Hotel Vintage Plaza is THE place to stay in Portland.
Poor Money Honey had a very difficult night. He yelped every time he tried to lay down in the car for the hour+ trip from Salem to Portland and made little progress in our room. He panted constantly. Since he could not lay down, neither, of course, could I. Twice, I thought that if I quit petting him and turn away, perhaps he'd finally give in, but Money would merely go around the bed and stare mournfully at me across the expanse of comforter.
Several times I donned the same worn jeans and t–shirt and headed with MM to the park only one block away. He enjoyed window shopping, marked all the flower pots outside stores and restaurants, but still, he would not lay down. At 3:00AM, seeing no alternative, we had the valet hail a taxi–van and headed for the downtown Dove
Lewis Animal Emergency Clinic.
Unfortunately, the vet on duty was caring for an emergency situation, so we were there for three hours. Good news was that after inspecting Money's wounds, the vet decided to close the second one with more staples and leave the bandage off. More good news: I would not have to drive MM back to Salem for a check up the following day.
After re–taxi–ing back to the hotel and standing next to my bed until 8AM, Money was finally convinced that he could lay down and quit panting. We cat–napped throughout a day interspersed with walkies and room service. MM ate the melon, the muffin, and all the grapes from my breakfast. Together, during the day, we stood in line inside a downtown bank to get change for the picnic, waited near the door at a Rite–Aid as a clerk fetched Neosporin for us, accepted admiration and sympathy from the many who stopped us on the sidewalk, and visited that same park over and over again. This beautiful 85 pound brindle boy refused to even sniff the ground (let alone actually poop) from Thursday evening until 11AM Saturday. Sorry if this is TMI but I provide the info so you'll understand that even cat–naps were taken with one eye open in expectation of Money's imminent need.
Since all Pat's volunteers, foster parents and board members were attending the picnic on Saturday, there was no alternative to bringing Money with me to the festivities. Surely all of you understand that Money and I were glued at the hip by that point. I'd brushed my teeth that morning with my right hand as my left hand stroked this calm and needy boy who either leaned on me (standing) or hid his head between my knees (sitting) at all times. Actually, he did spend some time leaning on the group of bellmen and valets at the curbside entrance to the hotel who we encountered each time we went for a walk. Several of them became very attached to MM. (I LOVE this hotel!)
At the GPA picnic in the park (scene of the eventual and joyful poop!) Money showed his reaction to his frightful experience by growling, showing his teeth and snarling at every dog who came within 15 feet of him. "Oh woe is me," I thought.. "I can’t put this injured boy on my plane back to Eureka.” What to DO?
Money and I walked back and forth step by step as I set up my display table, visited with friends, and settled in to (I hoped) selling bunches of stuff in support of GPA/NW. When I sat at the table to sell NCG goods, he lay on a bed beside me, pawing at my legs for more petting. I carefully guided participants and their dogs to allow him some extra space, "He's just not (understandably) himself today."
By noon, however, Money chose to sniff a couple of attractive female butts! Hurrah! A major step for this big boy! By 2:00PM, Other dogs were actually allowed to stand near him without reprise– all day, I petted, flattered, hugged and reassured my Money Honey of what an excellent job he was doing at becoming reacquainted with his breed.
At 3:00, Pat introduced me to MM's newly volunteering (in the last hour) foster parents. This wonderful young couple had their female greyhound with them, and a Jack Russell Terrier at home. (This seemed a positive thought since Money would be going into a Humboldt County home with a small black border collie mix the following week.
When I looked over my shoulder at around 4PM, I saw this young couple, Money's new foster family, relaxing at a picnic table behind me. There stood the vulnerable and wounded boy draping his neck over the back of his female foster friend, looking calm and contented. Tears came to my eyes. I admit it– my reaction was partly, “Thank doG, he's gonna be alright." And partly, "But what about ME???
Sigh. These greyhounds are really something– they have such a way of snagging your heartstrings in so little time. I suppose that's why Jerry and I have six. And though we don't need one more, well, Oh, Money Man– I wish you were mine.
Money Maker came off the track to be adopted into a home where, in less than a year, his Father died and his Mother was placed into an assisted living situation. He then went to spend three weeks in this foster home, where his friend, the Boxer, turned upon him unexpectedly. From there he went to an emergency clinic, to the hotel with me, to another foster family with new humans, new dogs, and next Friday, he'll be put on a
plane for Eureka for adoption by his forever family. Way too much stress for any dog.
Here is the good news about my anniversary weekend: I loved every minute of MM's company. I won the elegant JG Durant lead crystal greyhound contributed by Susie and John McQuade of TX, who had intended to join Jerry and me in Portland but were unable to attend. Northcoast Greyhound Support did fairly well at a picnic unaccustomed to bringing in outside vendors- we earned enough to cover the costs of Money’s veterinary treatment in Portland.
Update, September, 2018:
Money’s Humboldt County adopters, a single woman with a middle-school child, called six years later, in 2006, to say she had to move away and needed to return Money.
OH, BOO-HOO! Jerry and I were overjoyed to finally get this very unique boy for ourselves after all he’d been through! If only I had just called Jerry from Portland to tell him to come pick us up and kept Money for ourselves then. He could have been in his Forever Home so much sooner.