I am one of those “greyhound people”. If you’re not familiar with greyhound people, you may recognize us by one or two common characteristics. The dead giveaway is usually the four leashes in each hand, leading to a pack of tall, skinny dogs at the base of our feet. You may also identify us by our vehicle – usually a mini van or compact SUV, plastered with a myriad of bumper stickers that read, “one is never enough” or “my greyhound is faster than your honor student”.
Once you turn into a greyhound person, you never go back. Adopting a retired racing greyhound is highly addictive because they really are the most wonderful dogs on the planet. It’s difficult to live without a grey once you get used to having them in the house, which I know firsthand as my first greyhound passed away last February. I don’t think I will ever fully process that loss, but this week my heart healed a little when I brought home another retiree, a handsome fawn boy named “Monty”.
We’ve only had a few days together, but it’s clear that Monty has a lot more to teach me than I have to teach him. Today I wanted to share some life lessons that Monty has already mastered but that I’m still working on.
Greyhound Life Lesson # 1: Face Your Fear
When greyhounds arrive in their new home after retiring from the racetrack, they’ve usually never been in a house before. This new environment presents a multitude of new fears and challenges for the dog to face, the greatest of which is usually learning to go up and down the stairs. When Monty arrived last Saturday, he was noticeably frightened of the stairwell. His body froze up as tried to place each paw on the steps and hold his bum up with my knees. Yet 24 hours and a block of cheese later, he was cautiously yet courageously going up and down the stairs all on his own. Could you face your fears with the same depth of courage as a greyhound?
Many people won’t even admit to having fear, let alone summon the courage to face it. It is more common to distract ourselves by eating, shopping, playing video games, or watching television than confront what we’re scared of. Yet in succumbing to these distractions we re-enforce fear, and the price we pay is great. Holding on to fear prevents you from living fully because it goes against the true nature of your being. In harboring fear, you rob yourself of infinite possibilities and take away your divine birthright – the power to create the life of your dreams. Think of fear as a goblin, blocking your creativity, holding you down, and preventing you from doing what you really want to with your life.
The truth is that as a spark of infinite intelligence, you are meant to live an adventurous, joy-filled life. You can take a step towards this life today, by making a commitment to face your fears and take responsibility for your creative power. Since you were created to create, why not envision a fear-free life of fun? If Monty had of been too afraid to face his fear of the stairs, he would have missed out on all the comfy beds and fun dog toys that we keep on the second floor. What might you be missing out on because you’re too afraid to go “upstairs”?
Greyhound Life Lesson # 2: Get Plenty of Rest
One misconception about greyhounds is that they are very active. The truth is that a greyhound’s favorite activity is deep, intense SLEEP. A typical day for Monty includes sleeping in, napping after breakfast, napping after lunch, and napping until dinner. After dinner he naps until it’s time to go to bed.
In our hectic society, we tend to feel guilty when we take time to relax. Yet rest can be one of the most productive things we can do for ourselves. When you rest, not only do you give your body and mind a chance to repair and recuperate, but you also leave room for the Universe to do its’ part in bringing you your needs and desires. The most important thing to remember is that the opportunities, relationships, and situations that you experience are being drawn into your life because of the frequency you hold, not because of how hard you work. With that in mind, realize it’s actually more productive for you to rest while emitting gratitude than work hard and emit grouchiness.
Greyhound Life Lesson # 3: Be Yourself
A common joke among the greyhound community is the dreaded “greyhound gas”. I realize that all dogs fart, but there’s something about greyhound toots that can really clear a room. Monty is no exception, and even though he is new to the family, he didn’t hesitate to let ‘er rip within the first day of his arrival. I thought it was cool that he obviously didn’t care about making a first impression in the same way a human would.
The point of this life lesson is not to encourage you clear out your friend’s party after a good dinner at El Torito. I do however want to inspire you to be yourself and to release the need to care what other people think of you.
Caring too much about what other people think of you is dangerous because it prevents you from listening to your own inner wisdom. The fear of rejection and the need to conform will always demand that you follow external advice rather than do what you know is right for you. If you fail to follow your own guidance, you’ll fail to live an honest, genuine life, and eventually you’ll feel empty and hollow inside. “Your soul would rather fail at it’s own life, than succeed at someone else’s”; so be yourself, listen to your inner voice, and let ‘er rip.
If you are interested in adopting a retired racing greyhound, I highly recommend reading the book “Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies”. For more information on adoption, you can contact GPA if you live in the US or GRA if you live in Canada. Adopt a retired racer, save a life!