Not long after Toby came to live with us, I took him for his first Italian Greyhound play date. It did not go very well. I took him to another one later on and he was equally meh about the whole thing.
In the interim, I had his bad tooth removed and put him on thyroid medication which trimmed him down and increased his energy levels. We kept getting invited to the play dates, but for various reasons I wasn't able to take him to one this year—until last weekend.
A couple from the Italian Greyhound community invited Toby to a play date in honor of one of their dog's birthdays. I had the day free, so I loaded him into his carrier in the car and off we went.
He had a BLAST! Finally my desire to get him to run around and play with his own kind had come to fruition. He wasn't as fast or playful as some of the younger dogs, but he ran around with a smile on his face the whole time.
He was even game to wear a party hat. I put it on him and he happily ran around with it on his head for a good 20 minutes or so. It eventually slid over one ear so he looked especially rakish, but he was unbothered.
Photo credit: Cassandra J. Cameron
He did draw the line at "bobbing for weenies" wherein pieces of hot dog were dropped into a kiddie pool for the dogs to retrieve. Toby loves food, but not if it means water is going to touch his body. He managed to score a piece of hot dog anyway, which he successfully gummed into submission before any of the other dogs could grab it away.
He had such a good time that now I feel bad about how boring his daily life must be. He sometimes tries to play with the cats, but they have yet to figure out each others' playing styles.
Last night he asked to be taken out in the yard, so we wandered around fruitlessly for a while until I finally took him back in. My theory is that he just wanted something else to look at.
Then I walked out the front door on my way to get dinner and he bolted past me and ran up the street! I had to chase him almost a block because he was on some kind of dog mission. Dog owner guilt caused me to take him for a walk up the street after dinner even though it was ridiculously hot and humid. That seemed to satisfy him.
Since he's clearly up for dog activities now, that changes quite a bit about my plans with and for him. For starters, I'm going to start identifying the local dog parks that have enclosed yards for small dogs (he can't run free because, as a sighthound, he's liable to run off). I'm also going to try to get to the Italian Greyhound play dates more often.
Then there's next year's BlogPaws Conference in Nashville. Yes, he's going with me. There may need to be a mild tranquilizer involved for the car trip each way, but I'm finally going to get to take him along. I can't wait!