Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Hound Blogging

We're going to do something a little different today and instead of peaking in on the overlords--who we are told are all at a shoe tying seminar anyway (End the embarrassment of Velcro straps!)--we're going to tell you about one of the IM Central pack o' hounds, Vacume.

Yes, that's right, Vacume. And that's the spelling too. We don't know, so don't ask. All we know is that was his racing name and when his original owner adopted him off of a track in Florida she decided to keep it. After four years she was unable to care for him anymore and he came to the marbled halls as a foster. By that time he was nine years old and competing with two and three year olds in the adoption market proved to be a real challenge.

After a few months and no interest Mrs. IM decided that we should make the arrangement permanent and formally induct him into the pack. This was fine with Vacume whose needs were always pretty simple: Food, soft pillow and his giant stuffed rat, which he never chewed, but was slowly dissolving due to the many years it had soaked in dog drool.

So Vacume came to live with us, taking the job of greyhound ambassador over from Rollie, who was two years older than Vacume and quite ready to retire and spend his days lying in the sun contemplating lunch, or whatever meal was coming. And Vacume was good at diplomacy too. He visited schools, retirement homes, and Brownie groups. He went to trade shows, exhibitions and even dog shows where, even though he wasn't a competitor, he was still a standout and a crowd favorite.

Because greyhounds don't get any dental care at the track and their diets consist of what can most charitably be described as a toxic mush, they tend to have issues with their teeth and Vacume was no exception. Over the years, despite often heroic efforts by the Vet, Vacume lost all but about four of his teeth. Two of the teeth he kept were his lower canines, and because he had lost his upper ones, the lower ones stuck out over his lips thus earning him the nickname Count Vacula.

Through it all though, Vacume maintained a cheery disposition and even retained the ability to work a Milkbone, although it was never clear if he actually manipulated it in such a way as to chew it, or just let it dissolve in his mouth like a piece of hard candy. For a racing greyhound he was never into competition very much and while the other two were tearing around the yard like crazy dogs, he would seek out the shade of the pine tree and lie in the hole that he had dug underneath it. That hole was his project too, and eventually it was so deep that when he would go lie in it, you could only see the tops of his ears sticking up above ground.

Mrs. IM says that if you look up laid back in the dictionary Vacume's picture will be next to it, and we have no reason to doubt it because a perfect day for Vacume was: go outside, eat, nap, go outside, have a snack, nap, eat, go outside, go to bed. Repeat. We looked up his racing record once and the kindest way to describe it is undistinguished, but he was a dog who really came into his own when he got to retirement. He was a pro at it. We tell you all this because last night Vacume lost his battle with kidney disease and passed away at the ripe old age of 13 and a half. They say when a dog dies he takes a piece of your heart with him, but leaves you a piece of his. It is a lasting gift and for that, and for him. we will always be grateful.

Vacume 1995 - 2009


Anonymous said...

To have given one more dog a home is so admirable; but to give a home to an "undesirable" oldie, is incredibly exceptional.
His name sounds like the word some French people mispronounce and I can hear it ringing so clearly. "State of emptiness"; place of isolation"; "the world outside of no moment".
How you changed his life and he yours. And how grateful he was as all Greyhound adopters are, and share these bittersweet memories with you.

Michelle Young Cuenant

Anonymous said...

Here's to "Count Vacula " from fellow Greyhounds everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry to hear about Vacume. He was a lucky hound to have had a home in which his people are so passionate about greyhounds. It's true what you say about how they leave you a bit of their heart. I think it's the bit that can make us better people.

Rest in Peace, Count Vacula.

Sarah Regan Snavely said...

So sorry for your loss...

Anonymous said...

May all dentists in heaven work wonders with Vacume and give ham bones when he's not "laid back".

Ironicus Maximus said...

Thanks for the kind words folks.

George said...

No doubt Count Vacula sunk his teeth into the hallowed IM halls. May he rest in the peace only a greyhound knows. And may all of you left in IM find solace.