A Day in the Trenches: From Pristine to Triage

January 12, 2012



Husband Mike and I live in what was a nice, small, open design, contemporary house.  Both the house and the yard were completely remodeled six years ago.  We worked so hard for the better part of a year to transfer this outdated, over-painted rental into our dream home.  The house was redone in very pale to white colors, very light hardwood floors and acid washed, polished concrete floors.  The yard was sculpted with strips of grass, paved areas and different textured rock areas with a water feature, fruit trees, berry bushes, etc.  Truly lovely.

Less than a year after our remodel, we decided our lovely home felt too minimalist.  Besides, we didn’t know what to do with all the free time we had since we were no longer painting, sanding, staining and dealing with contractors.  So we decided to get a dog.  And I’m talking about a small dog, maybe a Jack Russell.  I found myself pouring over the Internet looking at and reading about dogs and their characteristics.  In the process I remembered a friend from twelve or so years ago adopting a greyhound.  So I started looking at greyhounds on line and I Was Hooked.

I talked to Mike and also started making phone calls to different adoption agencies in the northern California area.  As I wrote in my first blog, the result was Lola.  (Please see The Legend of Lola.)  Then came Ava, ‘cause Lola was lonely.  Then came Alex when we lost Lola to cancer because Ava was lonely.  I have a sneaking suspicion that if Ava could talk she’d be saying about now that no one bothered to ask her if she was lonely before they came home with the 2 ½ year old fireball Alex.

Anyway, this was a happy, manageable little home for the first few years.  Oh sure, there was the occasional muddy paw print, or barf on a throw rug, or wet toilet seat.  There was the stuffing from a toy to pick up and the more often vacuuming of the floor and the furniture due to the dogs that “don’t really shed very much.”  But it was all within manageable limits.

So I said to Mike, “You know, I think I might like to foster a greyhound.  I’m not working full time any more, so I’d have the time.”

“But we’d end up owning fifty greyhounds!” he said, as I watched his face contort and turn a sickly grey color.

“Oh no, that won’t be a problem.  I know this house can hold no more than three, and they would be very short term, I’m sure.  Besides, I’ll only do one or two a year.”

For the most part this rationale went pretty well.  Granted, a few more than one or two a year (5), but hey, we could have said no.  Or Mike could have said no.  I always gave him the chance to say no.  But Mike never said no.  So, of course, I never said no.

It is now just a year since we started fostering.  We have met wonderful dogs and wonderful people.  We’ve loved every foster.  At some point with most of them we’ve vowed never again.  With the last two I’ve vowed to take a break and “get some projects done.”  But none of that has happened.

So as I write this I’m sitting in what can only be described as a war zone.  There are pallets with dirty covers on the floors in almost every room.  The den couch cushions are stacked on a wall in the entry area, should we choose to put them back on the couch.  The couch itself is completely draped with blankets, which I have to change out daily due to tiny spots of blood.  There are bones and bone fragments scattered about on the floor.  There’s a huge crate in the entry that could easily contain one prisoner.

The pristine hardwood floors are covered with dirty muddy rugs and hair and bits of paper and eviscerated stuffed animals and the occasional sock, shoe and yes, even a bra.  There is a sheet of sandpaper pilfered from the repair drawer.

The living room is blockaded.  None of the furniture is accessable, and neither is the rug.  That means that the dining room table cannot be used, because the dining room chairs are barricading the living room.


In the kitchen, there is no food in sight anywhere.  There are bowls of water and bowls that once contained food littered about the kitchen and laundry room. It’s as if the home is under siege and no one is able to bring in food.  There is not even a stale loaf of bread on the kitchen counter.  Nothing.  There are shackles in the form of collars and halters hanging on a hook.  There are bloody bandages in the trash, as if the area is also a triage unit.

And laid out in various stages of repose, seemingly knackered out from a hard day in the trenches are not one; not two; not three but four greyhounds.

Tanner has a broken leg

Alex, the warrior is exhausted

Lucky has a drainage tube in his hip


Then there’s a red-haired female reclining, serene in the knowledge

that she has secured and indeed deserves the prime spot on the couch.

But four, that’s it.  That’s the limit. This house cannot possibly accommodate another dog.  And when the two fosters, Tanner and Lucky are placed, I’m going to take a break to do some other projects.  Or at least clean the house.



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