T.B. was our second greyhound, after Elmo. He's called T.B. because his race name was Trent Bale and his kennel name was Inuit. We weren't sure what he'd be like, so in the meantime I suggested we call him by his initials, and it has stuck.


We met T.B. before he retired at the same kennels as Elmo. The trainers said he was very gentle, but `a demon on the track'. T.B. was shy and trembled on the grooming table. While we were all talking I started stroking him gently, but not looking at him. He still looked uncomfortable so I stopped. Then he turned his head toward me as if to say `Excuse me, but I liked that', the typical greyhound response when you stop patting them! So I started again and he turned his head away and just stood there quietly, his eyes blinking slowly as he relaxed. He was entered in a big race in Auckland, but tore his gracilis muscle beforehand. The trainers contacted us and asked us if we would like him straight away. We were delighted of course, and he came to join our pack.

T.B. is a little different, not just because of his personality, but also because he had to have his right eye removed not long after we received him (glaucoma, detached retina, cataract and a tumour), and in a pack he has to watch out for speeding hounds approaching on his blind side.

He is quieter and more reserved than the others and he likes to do his own thing in the garden. We often say he's away talking with the fairies. He took months and months before he showed any inclination to play, and it's always on his terms, but he loves people and is very affectionate. He also has a lot of special routines that he likes to follow. In the morning he is the first greyhound up, all ready for his walk and he prances along with a lovely gait. And he'll only eat his meals beside his bed, and he always lifts any biscuits onto it to eat them. He used to save them up, but he can't do that in a household with other dogs, so now he cleans up very carefully, licking each crumb off the tea towel we put down - always last to finish.

After dinner he likes to have his sofa to himself, and lies stretched out with his back to the room. He's always listening though, and if you approach him for a pat he might roll over doing the greyhound shark thing for a stomach rub.  Later on in the evening he appears beside me when I'm at my computer, and I have to stop so I can stroke and gently pull his ears for a time until he is satisfied.

T.B. is both charming and loving, and he seems to ask for so little, while giving so much. He's a very special dog, and taught us about the more timid greyhounds. They have so much love to offer, but you must let them offer it in their own time. The rewards are enormous.


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