Final Johnny "Johnny"

b. 10/7/2005 d. 7/16/2012

Johnny was our very first greyhound.  I was thrilled finally to have such a magnificent canine athlete in our home and knew another chapter in our lives had begun.  At first, Johnny was very timid about his new surroundings and all the changes from track life.  He looked secure in his crate but would not eat after arriving at our home on March 28, 2010.  Hours later he finally took some food from my hand, and the greatest bonding I have ever had with an animal began.  In a matter of months, he became a close, confident, best friend.

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Greyhounds are an amazing breed, anyway: beautiful, stately, sleek, muscular, quiet, clean, sensitive, and loving.  But Johnny stood out even more with his very beautiful eyes, deer like appearance, intelligent gaze, and gentlemanly manners.  I enjoyed just watching him and was amazed every time he ran in the backyard.

Like all greys, Johnny loved to run.  Whenever I came home, he would jump up and down with his front legs, turn circles, and have to go outside to run off his excitement.  Then he would run large ovals around me while keeping his eyes on me and looking as though he was smiling the whole way.  He also loved to run first while other greyhounds chased after him, fake one direction, and turn another to leave them further behind.

Inside, Johnny lay where he could watch everything I did.  He even moved from one window to another to watch me work around the yard.  (He walked ten feet behind me a few times as I mowed the backyard.)  He quickly learned my routines and behavior, anticipated my actions, and was always ready just to be with me.  And I quickly understood what he wanted every time he came and stood quietly facing me.  We knew each other and communicated and interacted easily.  He slept on my bed and would come and get me at bedtime as he did not want to settle down without me.  Some mornings he would wake up by putting his head on my shoulder and looking up at me.  He was so devoted and enjoyable to be with.

I enjoyed taking him out to the park, Meet & Greets, Tractor Supply Co., Lowes, and even my office.  Everywhere we went, people would stop to admire and meet him. During our daily walks, cars would stop and ask about him.  He became a gracious greeter and intrigued everyone.  Johnny was my pride and joy, now that my children were grown and gone.

On Monday, 7-9-12, Johnny started having intermittent twinges of pain.  Wednesday, he started having trouble walking and by Friday he had lost control of his legs.  I had taken him to two different vets, but the medications and various therapies did not abate his quick decline.

For four days, I carried him in and out of the house, brought food and water to him, turned him periodically through the night, and stroked him while speaking softly.  He whimpered a couple of times when I was out of the room but was content when I came back and he could lay his head against me.

On Monday, 7-16-12, we discovered that Johnny had gone blind. 

Around 7:00 that evening, a third vet came to our home, examined Johnny, gave her opinion, and ended his suffering.  I buried him that evening and grieved more than I ever have.

My oldest brother wrote to me:

"For those of us who are lucky, a very special dog finds us.  We connect on an emotional level that defies explanation; it is as if he needs you and you need him and both of you know it.  There is trust and understanding that goes beyond tail wagging and sloppy kisses.  You come into each others' lives, and both are richer for it.  You and Johnny shared such a relationship as Dillon and I did.  The loss of that bond hurts like hell, but our lives were blessed by them."

Thank you, Johnny, for joining my life and teaching me love.  There will be other great greyhounds, but there will never be another one like you.  You are greatly missed.