Photo credits: Joshua Richey
The first time I met a greyhound I thought it was the most ridiculous looking dog I had ever seen. Her name was Midnight, and she was standing in the back of a minivan outside of the local Malibu pet store with a couple of other greys. She was all black, all bones (practically 2-D) and fresh off the racing circuit, looking for a home.
It was an uncanny coincidence that greyhounds should appear that day, as over lunch my boyfriend and I had just been discussing getting our first dog together. His mother suggested we adopt a retired racer, but I felt reluctant. Growing up, my dog experiences consisted mainly of the teddy bear variety- enormously fat and fuzzy collies, honey coated golden retrievers, perpetually enthusiastic chocolate Labradors. These dogs were always positive and upbeat, seemingly innocent of any knowledge of "The Void."
I myself happen to know quite a bit about "The Void," as I spend a goodly amount of my time trying to steer clear of it. My hope was that a third and fuzzy addition to our little family pack would be all about fun. Then that minivan full of homeless greyhounds appeared.
We were unable to adopt Midnight that day (she found a good home), but gave our number to the owner of the agency and began to prepare ourselves for an upcoming addition. About a month later, we got a call that they had found the dog for us. Her name was C'mon Conquer, she was four years old, and we adopted her sight unseen.
Conquer entered our lives in exactly the way her name would suggest. She is an unusually bold and gregarious greyhound, but tempered by a patient sweetness. Her favorite thing to do is sleep upside down on the sofa, delicate paws pointed skyward. Watching her run for the ball is a breathtaking display of nature's design prowess. Every inch of her is perfectly tuned for it's purpose and utilized to its fullest potential. She is pure joy when she runs, completely engaged in the moment. I have never seen such a perfect example of fragility and strength combined.
Recently, Conquer turned eight. It's been amazing to watch her blossom over the years. She's evolved from a mange-ridden, steroid pumped, bag-of-bones into a glossy and elegant princess. Her personality has revealed its innate silliness and she is an incorrigible flirt. She was a wonderful dog from the beginning but it took over a year with lots of love and patience to really earn her trust. Then we became family, not just roommates.
I still think greyhounds are ridiculous looking, but not in an alien sort of way, anymore. Now they are one of the most gorgeous sights I can set my eyes upon, which has shown me how my perspective on beauty has evolved. Commercial perfection interests me less and fringe proportions of all types intrigue me more. The beauty that affects me most these days is quirkiness that enhances elegance and the recognition of "The Void" instead of its denial. Conquer taught me this.