Friday, December 31, 2004

The Last Hug

Ours was a November–December romance. I met him on a sunny Sunday afternoon and we both knew immediately that we belonged together.

I lived in Salem and he lived in Gresham. We stole as many afternoons together as we could, knowing that he would soon leave for training.

When our last day together arrived, I arrived Gresham with a heavy heart.

I knew they would do everything they could to keep him safe, but things happened—this could be the last time I saw him.

I entered the kennel building and headed straight for his crate. Flocko was so excited to see me. The kennel building was small and all of the other dogs could see Flocko as he flew out of his crate and wildly jumped up to greet me.

Together we went out to the sprint field so that he could run like the wind—his last run on the Oregon farm.

I hooked up the whirlygig and he chased the old mop head. Leaping in the air toward it, only to have it race out ahead of him.

He grew tired of the whirlygig and raced into the sprint field. He laid down to catch his breath and once again bolted off as if chasing the rain drops that started to fall.

The field was lined with runs filled with greyhounds. To the south were the babies, these guys were nearly five months old now. Flocko slowed down and walked over to the fence.

The babies stood on their hind legs to and touch noses with Flocko. It was as if Flocko was telling them that he would be shipping out the next day—that they too would be leaving the comfort of the Oregon farm.