Finding the Right Homes for Retired Hounds in the Delaware, Maryland, D.C., Virginia Area ...and Beyond!
A Lady Flies Pastby Ron Powell
~~The phone rang in the dingy, dusty office. Only, it wasn't exactly dingy and dirty. Everything about this office was precisely calculated to imply dingy and dusty though it was, in truth, immaculate. The phone was a vintage rotary phone. There was an antique hat stand sporting a fedora, along with a trench coat. The open door featured a frosted window. A sterling platter held an I.W. Harper's whiskey bottle and several tumblers. The whiskey bottle held nothing more potent than iced tea which was dutifully filled each day. Its owner liked to drink from it to complete the effect of working in a detective's office. There was even a replica of the Maltese Falcon. It was the sort of thing Maury enjoyed.
The phone rang a second time, echoing into the adjoining room which was just as exactingly decorated. This one, though, reflected a different locale entirely. Several bookcases, filled with dusty tomes lined the walls. A deerstalker cap hung on a hook. A calabash pipe which stuck haphazardly from a tobacco pouch, a magnifying glass and a chess set all featured prominently. A violin completed the decor. There was no phone, however. Mr. Holmes certainly wouldn't have condoned such a device. Maury and Arty might both love detective stories but they chose two distinctly different eras to emulate.
A third ring was cut short as Maury answered phone. "This is Maury, what can I do for you?"
"Maury, it's your sister."
"Hey, Treachery, how you doin'? How's my nieces?"
"Maury, I wish you'd stop calling me that. My name is Theresa and We're not kids anymore!" Exasperation mixed with a healthy dose of good natured tolerance.
"I know, little sis, but I can't let you forget all the times you got Arty and me in trouble. You think you'd be honored. Heck, we even named one of the dogs after you!"
"I know, you big oaf. It took the kids 2 years to stop telling me what a pretty girl I was. I still haven't forgiven you, but I just might if you and my other brother would come up for a visit. Your nieces miss you. I have no idea why, but they do."
"That's a swell idea, kid. Maybe we could stop up next week? I'm sure I can get Arty to close up shop for a few days. Not for you, of course, but those nieces sure are cute."
"Great. I'll tell the kids. Take care of you, Maury, and keep an eye on Arty!"
A few more pleasantries passed back and forth and the conversation finally came to an end. Maury looked wistfully into Arty's office as he replaced the receiver. "Hey, Arty, we're gonna go see sis next week."
"Well, that's a fine idea. I'm glad I came up with it!"
A few days later, Maury shuffled into Arty's office clutching a few sheets of paper. He waited till Arty finished writing some numbers down before he interrupted. "So, Arty, I got to thinking. Maybe we should leave for Sis' house a day early."
"Alright, Maury, but I have to ask why."
"Well, I've been doing a little research. You remember Heart of Treachery, right?"
"Of course. She was a pretty girl, ran well. We got her adopted out after the accident."
"Well, I took the trouble to look her up. Turns out, she's about 20 miles out of our way to see sis. I'd kinda like to look in on her if you don't mind."
"Maury, that sounds like a fine idea. I take it you already have it set up?"
"I sure do. The family seemed pretty excited to have us stop over. Nice folks. Nice folks, indeed."
"Alrighty then, it's a plan."
I heard a car pull into the driveway. I didn't take much notice of it, at first. My head was hanging upside down over the edge of the couch. Prince roached comfortably on a dog bed on the floor next to me. It was time for the fourth morning nap. Retirement takes a lot out of you, so you have to keep your energy up somehow. "Hey Prince, go see who it is, will you?"
"Nope. Too comfy. Glowy box on. Stayin' here."
"Fine. I'll go, but you owe me one."
I gracefully rolled off the couch and made the daintiest thud as I hit the floor. I meant to do that. No, really. I did. Anyway, after a quick stretch I trotted around to see who was now ringing the doorbell. Mom cracked the door while Dad grabbed my collar. He likes to hold on to me so he doesn't get too scared.
The door opened wide and there were two faces I hadn't thought of for months. There, framed in the light of the doorway, was Maury and Arty. Time stood still. Emotions conflicted and boiled. Anger, loss and hatred were brought out from old, forgotten hiding places but were quickly tossed away for happiness and fondness. Dad let go of me (apparently, he wasn't scared anymore) and my tail started to wag as I trotted over to the pair of brothers. It was a happy reunion. They couldn't ever replace my new family, but I would certainly always be grateful to them. Looking back, they were far nicer to me than I allowed myself to understand. They even remembered which ear I liked to have rubbed, which is both of them!
Mom and Dad sat around and talked to Maury and Arty for a while. Prince introduced himself to them Greyhound style. I curled up between Mom and Maury and let them pay attention to me while they talked. Maury and Arty told them all about me and what a good racer I was. Mom and Dad told them all about how I came to be part of the family and what a good snuggle buddy I am and all about my new name. Arty giggled about the new name. It was about lunch time when Dad asked them a question.
"Would you fellows like to see her run again? It's a short drive over to a good dog park. Prince and Lady could use a good run and it's really no problem."
They were startled but immediately agreed. We filed in the cars after much calamity and commotion. I got to ride with Maury and Arty while Prince was in charge of getting our family safely on their way. It was a short ride but Maury took lots of pictures and they kept talking about how great I looked and how happy they were that they got to see me. I think Prince is really rubbing off on me because I really enjoyed the extra attention!
Anyway, when we got to the dog park, they let us out and we went into the fenced in area where we can run off leash. It was kind of a tiring 10 minutes in the car so I laid down on the grass to rest up. Prince flopped down next to me with all the grace and finesse of a run away dump truck. The humans milled about and found seats on benches. It was a clear day. A little chilly but a beautiful Autumn day. The leaves were starting to turn and there was a brisk breeze. I got up, warmed by the sun and the touch of the wind on my face. "Prince. Get Up."
"Why, Lady? The grass is soooo soft."
"I want to run."
Prince got up and stretched luxuriously on Arty's foot, then stomped on Maury's. They both laughed. He came over to stand next to me. "C'mon, Prince. Let's RUN!" I launched myself forward and was at top speed in three strides. Prince kept up with me. We ran and it was GLORIOUS! We were flying through the air, paws touching the grass briefly, muscles rippling as they propelled us onward and just reveling in the joy of being alive. Prince and I ran and ran, shoulder to shoulder, his tongue lolling from his mouth and a sparkle in his eye that must at least match the one in my own. It was one of his more thoughtful looks, I must say. When we completed a few circuits of the dog park, we pulled up to where the humans were and enjoyed a long, cold drink of water. The simplest things, sometimes, make the biggest impact. I can still feel the cooling iciness of the water and the soothing feeling in my throat as I drank. It was magnificent. Maury and Arty were delighted at our performance, clapping their appreciation and smiling from ear to ear. Many pettin's were given and it was a wonderful way to spend an hour on a lazy fall afternoon.
All too soon, it was time for Maury and Arty to be on their way. I was kind of sad to see them go but hopefully we'll get to see each other again someday. They got into their car and we filed into ours for the trip back home. I'm glad they came to see me. It was reassuring to me that these humans were not the monsters I once thought they were. I'm glad I could make peace with my past since it just makes the road to the future that much smoother. I realize now that it wasn't winning that I loved so much, it was the running. Now I know I can run with love in my heart and I won't have to chase, or be chased by, demons any longer. I hope the brothers know that I can finally move on now that the last little piece of what I was is now comfortably put away where it can't bother me any more. I just hope I can get home in time for the first of my mid-afternoon naps.
Several hours later and many miles down the road, Arty hangs up his cellphone and turns to Maury. "Well, Maury, it's done. 10% of all our proceeds will now be donated to the adoption group that took care of Lady and we have a standing arrangement to ship all our retirees to them."
"That's great news. Seeing, er, Lady, with her new family was really great. I'm so happy she's found a home."
"Kinda makes you wanna call Sis, don't it?" The twinkle in Maury's eye was all the response Arty needed.
"Maybe we'll get to see Lady again someday."
Greyhounds aren't just dogs, they are a way of life!