My experience has been that greyhounds are the consummate snuggle bug.
While Elvis and Olivia preferred cuddling on their La-Z-Boy pillows, Lucy would invite herself on the sofa, but that's where their differences ended. As I laid alongside them, each would melt into my chest, position their knobby little head under my chin, close their eyes, and revel in the luxury of having their belly rubbed, ears scratched, and nose kissed. Every once in a while they might make a little "mmmmm" sound, clearly relishing the affection. My pups lived for our nightly love ritual.
And then there's Hazel.
Sure, she's affectionate, but on her terms. When I lay next to her on her pillow, she looks at me with this expression that clearly implies, "Okay, if I must." She nestles close against me and I wrap my arms around her with a warm embrace, my heart bursting with love for this dog...and then, after a few minutes, she gets up as if to say, "That's enough," and moves to another spot on the rug, abandoning me on the pillow. The dog pillow mind you. Her pillow. That's right: she'd rather sit somewhere else than stay on her soft stinky pillow because I'm on it.
I know this sounds crazy, but it hurts my feelings! It's like dating all over again. I'd expect this from the school Homecoming King, but really, my own dog? Because seriously, what dog doesn't want to snuggle? Especially greyhounds, who are notorious for being love bugs.
However, in our 14 months together, I've come to realize that Hazel is not your average greyhound.
She's energetic. Rambunctious. Goofy, spirited, and playful. She's everything that our rescue group, Golden State Greyhound Adoption, tells people greyhounds are not. Canine couch potato? Ha! Her energy is endless...no one-mile stroll for this dog. That's just a warm up, mind you.
And people ask how I stay so slim.
She's a barker, something greyhounds rarely do. She doesn't bark out of aggression, but as an introduction. "Hey there, I'm Hazel, who are you? How 'bout we sniff a little tail?" When we're driving someplace she loves, like her BFF's house or Central Park, she'll stick her head out the car window and howl like a fire siren the entire way, holding one single deafening note longer than Andrea Bocelli.
I do know she loves me in her own Hazel way. She follows me throughout the house, never leaving my side. She loves jumping on my lap, not realizing that a 61-pound hound is not exactly a lap dog. When I pick her up from play dates, she plows into me like a canine steamroller, ecstatic that I returned.
And sometimes--just sometimes--while I'm reading a book or watching TV, I'll sense that I'm being watched, and look to see Hazel gazing at me with heart-shaped pupils. It's the look of total adoration that I used to get from Elvis, Lucy, and Olivia on a regular basis. But Hazel is more discriminating, which makes her hard-won affection all the more precious.
I'll take what I can get.