I must admit that I never really new sighthounds other than retired racing greyhounds until these past few months. I knew that Jenna had a special relationship with Zoom, her cream and white whippet, and when we moved in together, she had just brought in a brindle and white whippet puppet.
I figured that the puppy would wind up being her dog, and although I was quite aware that whippets were quite trainable dogs, I never really thought I’d become attached to one.
As Poet has matured, though, he and I have drawn closer to each other. It was he who made the first mood. A few months ago, he just sort of declared in his subtle sighthound ways that he was my dog, end of discussion.
And I’ve accepted the arrangement. I have found him to be as biddable as any golden retriever, and I have trained him to sit, heel, lie down, stand, and speak. He fetches the ball like a demon, which is to be expected. His father is a Frisbee nut.
He likes to go with me everywhere, and because he’s smaller and innocuous, I generally don’t have a lot of trouble taking him places. He is genteel and kind, but he is not demonstrative with strangers.
Through one family line I trace to the rugged counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, the same counties that spawned the modern whippet as a rag racer. I suspect my Quaker ancestors in that part of the world may have had little greyhounds much like whippets, perhaps to fill the pot with rabbit stew on cold winter nights.
So we are now attached to each other. I have a nice little whippet with a show and coursing career ahead of him, and I now know the full appeal of this breed. Once they choose their person, you are it. No one else really matters.
And that is strange and moving feeling, especially when you’re used to golden retrievers that are so socially open.
Poet is my little boy. My little whip. And I am his person.