When I tell friends, co-workers, and strangers that I own a greyhound—and time flies: Slider’s been living in our house for more than a month now—they usually ask some version of the same misguided question.
“Isn’t that a lot of work?” or “Do you have to take him for a lot of walks?” or “How do you keep up with him?”
What these people don’t know is that greyhounds are like skinny, canine versions of Charles Barkley.
The Round Mound of Rebound and Slider both had long careers as professional athletes. And while they both like sports well enough, what they really love is eating and chilling. If you’ve seen Barkley’s retirement waistline, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “There’s a guy who eats pizza while sitting in a recliner.” Slider would like nothing more than to rewrite the laws of the universe to make it possible to scarf kibble and take a nap at the same time. And just like being Barkley’s roommate wouldn’t require a person to play in the NBA, living with Slider doesn’t mean we suddenly need to run 45 MPH.
As I mentioned in a previous post (and again in the headline), greyhounds are often called “the world’s fastest couch potatoes.” The description couldn’t be more apt. The day we adopted Slider, we took him into our small back yard, to let him explore his new turf. He nosed around for a minute or two, then flopped down in the grass. We brought him inside, sat down in the living room, and he plopped right back down. He’s hardly left that position since.
Slider is what some people call a magnet dog—he never wants to leave our sides, following us around as if pulled by an invisible force. Every time I get up to go to the kitchen, you can see the inner monologue playing out on his face. He wants to follow, but that would mean standing up. He’d have to leave his bed. Is it really worth it? Eventually, he’ll slowly peel himself off the floor, pausing for a big stretch. By the time he catches up to me, I’m usually headed straight back to the living room, beverage in hand, but he never seems to figure out that if he lets me go, I might return.
If you know Rachael, you’re probably aware that she’s world-class at napping through football games, but even she can’t keep up with Slider. On a Sunday a few weeks ago, he snoozed right through a Rams game and then a Cardinals game, back to back.
There are basically three situations in which Slider’s energy meter perks up above zero. At his twice daily meal times, he throws back kibble like it will all disappear if he doesn’t finish the bowl within 30 seconds. When his humans return home from work, he celebrates enthusiastically, prancing and wagging his tail. He gets so excited, he starts snorting and sneezing. If you’re unfamiliar with his mannerisms, you might think he’s about to bite you, though he’s really just smiling.
Then, maybe once per day, he gets a case of what greyhound owners call “the zoomies.” He’s struck with a sudden burst of energy and wants to run—fast. Inside, this means flying across our wood floor, skidding to a stop, throwing his toys 10 feet in the air, then sprinting back the other direction. Outside, he races figure eights around our cars and leaps up the deck steps in a single impressive bound. Even better is when we take him to visit friends’ who have bigger back yards, where he can literally run circles around other dogs. These bursts tend to last just a few minutes, not much longer than his races at the track. Then he goes right back to looking for a place to lie down.
We do take Slider for a lot of long walks, but that’s just because we like to go for a lot of long walks.