It’s been over a year! Dismal Wizard and I decided to keep each other. I have a wing-lass, Missy. Although we don’t appear close, I’m her wing man and protector. We perform all of our ZombieSquadHQ duties together. And we chase the rascally rabbit together. Said rabbit always has a plan so we have yet to score.
Dismal Manor, Dismal Gardens, and Camp Dismal
Those are the names of this farm. We live in a 1000 square foot air conditioned kennel shared with the proprietor who also writes our Twitter posts and these blog articles for us. The Manor, Gardens, and Camp are located in the heart of the Dismal Dominion, a mythical area centered on a geographic feature called the Great Dismal Swamp from which Dismal things take their names.
The camp has a fenced garden or paddock known as Dismal Gardens that features a greyhound gallop along the fence, live entertainment, fresh tea but we have yet to catch any of the available critters, and sometimes a paddling pool.
Occasionally, we have guests in for a visit or a sleep-over (a poxy retriever). And, when it is not too hot, we go for a bimble at Norfolk Botanical Garden just down the road.
The estates are on the high ground near Norfolk Airport, affectionately known as KORF (tower radio call). The airport’s ICAO code is ORF.
The estate is a robust 4 meters above sea level which puts us in hurricane evacuation zone Bravo. Alpha is lower and almost always evacuates. Bravo is high enough that we would evacuate only for the big one.
As you know, I’m a March 2020 COVID-19 refugee from Florida. When racing first stopped, my owner decided I should retire and offered me to James River Greyhounds for adoption. So anyway, I boarded the JRG hauler hoping for a placement. They schlepped me to the Richmond area and matched me up with Dismal Wizard, gave me a bath, and sent me off with 3 months heart worm and hookworm medications.
I came from the track with medication resistant hookworms. My vet and the Wizard got me sorted in about 3 months and we are both now hookworm egg free. Somewhere on this sorry blog, there is an article about that.
Although I ran well and knew all my track knowledge, I knew nothing about living in a home with a loose dog and a loose idiot. I had to learn. It took about a year, some of it for brain development to finish, but now I’m pretty civilized. I came home a brash adolescent full of piss and vinegar. Did I say I had lots of attitude? That I swiped food? That I took fingers with my treats? That I was a stuffie and pillow serial killer. Yep, I did all that. But I learned my name in a day. I learned where the loo was by the end of day 2. I gradually learned patience and food manners and came to understand that I would always be treated fairly.
I also learned about the big bed. That there was such a thing. The first bed, the not so big bed, was pretty much worn out and a bit small but somehow all 3 piled in for the first night. Missy slept with us for a couple of nights until she was sure I was not of the undead. Then I shared with the Dismal One. But it was tight and I was always grumbling about encroachment.
Finally, Dismal Wizard ordered a replacement somewhat bigger bed from the folks at Casper. With the help of a couple of church friends, he put it together and it is heaven on earth. There is room. I don’t have to yell at meathead about encroachment. There’s plenty of room to stretch out without legs in the way or worry about going bump in the night. Oh, and Dismal Wizard’s dodgy hip healed up and his aching back magically stopped aching.
At about 0430, Wizard’s innards wake him to go to the loo. I ambush him for brekkie and loo and he accommodates this preference. It actually works pretty well. It avoids that have to hold it while the staff showers and dresses problem. Since we’ve done our business, staff can sleep in, have a lazy breakfast, etc before we need our morning turnout.
Boy was I a Brash Git
At 4, I was still pretty much a muscle-brained adolescent. Year 5 makes a big difference as does patient and consistent teaching of manners. I’m still an extrovert as greyhounds go and will hop on shoulders and give sugar to strangers. But I’ve learned the household routine, what should happen when, how to ask for what I need, and patience to wait my turn for treats, feeding, and other important things. I’m good about sharing toys and don’t hoard the lot.
I’ve learned that the squirrels always have a plan so I menace them only every now and again. Somewhere around here is a video of 2 gathering acorns and pecans last fall. One would work while the other stood watch and called alarm when I started to sneak up or charge. And they were never more than 2 meters from the base of the live oak and safety.
I’m also becoming chill toward the neighbors. I don’t chase bikes, strollers, and skaters quite so aggressively. But I still give them a piece of my mind. Yes, I’m reactive for a greyhound and His Dismal Majesty hypothesizes that I was fitted with a terrier brain by mistake.
But I remain a serial killer of the post, stuffies less so now, and bed pillows. I’ve yet to meet a bed pillow that wasn’t full of zombies. They come that way. A new gift with purchase pillow that came with the somewhat bigger bed was infested on unpacking so I dedded it immediately.