Spot, who was very special to me, passed away on 10 January 2023 after a short illness.
I am sure many would say that Spot is not a particularly original name for a dog, but it suited him. A greyhound, his race name was Inspector Spot and, as a white and black greyhound, he had many spots.
He was also Izzy’s best mate.
When they were out and about together, we would often be asked if they were mother and son, or littermates. No, we would reply, just good mates. Here’s just a few photos of their many cafe visits together.
Seeing them side by side, I often thought of the novelty salt and pepper shakers that you can buy: two white and black greyhounds. From a distance, such as when we let them off for a free run, we couldn’t tell one from the other.
Spot was a very good example of how dogs can bring people together. I met his Mum when Izzy and I did her home check for Greyhounds as Pets. During that first meeting, I was required to ask if the adopter had any preferences as to colour of their hound. As many of us know, white-haired dogs seem to shed a lot and this was true of Izzy. As Izzy was being patted and shedding unceremoniously on the carpet, I received the dry reply, “probably not white.”
We would laugh that, just weeks later, she showed up with her newly-adopted Spot at a greyhound group walk. Spot was the only match at the time she was adopting and, with his personality and charm, the issue of white hair and shedding was soon forgotten.
He was a keeper.
I now count Spot’s Mum as one of my closest friends. We have taken walks together, dined together, taken a short holiday in Hanmer Springs together. With few exceptions all of our activities have included Izzy and Spot and, since March 2022, Sox and Spot.
Just weeks before the global pandemic locked us down in March 2020, Spot and his Mum participated in filming of my online workshop for Greyhound Massage and Stretching.
Spot and his Mum were always invited to Izzy’s birthday parties, most of which occurred on the beach and one memorable birthday when we hired the Dog Swim Spa so Izzy’s friends could try swimming. Spot always enjoyed my doggy birthday cakes.
A particularly memorable outing with Izzy and Spot was to the Leeston Dog Park on a winter’s day. There were several large puddles in the park and Spot took the time to wallow in an invigorating mud bath.
Occasionally, I would do “A Spot of Daycare” which allowed Spot and Izzy to enjoy each other’s company during the day without doing anything particularly special. It didn’t even matter when I noticed that Spot was killing off some of my plants – showering them with love, his Mum would say.
Spot wasn’t always happy with my small two-seater sofa and we would joke about his obvious displeasure at my substandard couch…
….until his Mum replaced her furniture and Spot had to become accustomed to a two-seater at home, too.
Spot was retired from racing after suffering a broken hock, which was repaired surgically. For this reason, he became a regular client in my massage practice soon after he was adopted. He particularly enjoyed a warm wheat bag when his muscles were tight. Warmth worked wonders for him.
Last year, 2022, was a year of transition. Izzy passed away in December 2021 and I needed a dog to demonstrate at massage workshops. Spot stepped into this role, for which I will be forever grateful.
When I signed a sponsorship agreement for Greyhound as Pets in 2022, we used Spot to feature in the advertisement for the sponsorship.
When Sox arrived on the scene in March, Spot was gently mentoring him in greyhound pet life. Yoda to my Luke Skywalker, a Greyhound Master.
Perhaps the most bittersweet of memories I have of Spot is from our time together in October last year. His Mum had to go out of town at short notice, with Spot staying with us for over two weeks. Spot slotted right into our routines, hassling me for morning walks alongside Sox when I was trying to tie my shoes, hunting a hedgehog together (I am quite sure that Spot encouraged Sox to pick it up while he looked on innocently in the background), and making trips to the red zone for off-lead walks. While Sox slept on the sofa, Spot slept on a dog bed in my bedroom. On several occasions, he cuddled up in bed with me, too.
I would later say when his Mum returned to collect him that I would always cherish the close time we had together, not knowing when I said it that Spot would be gone within a matter of weeks.
We had planned to use Spot’s love of the beach (taught to him by my water-loving Izzy) to teach Sox to love the beach this (southern hemisphere) summer. Sadly, it was not to be.
Spot was a pet for just over five years; reflecting on all the things we have done together and many happy memories, it seems like he has been a part of my life for a lot longer.
Is it possible to love a dog that is owned by someone else as much as your own? Yes, I think it is, particularly going by the number of photographs of Spot that I had on my phone and computer. Time has slowed to a crawl since Spot passed away and I have placed a photo of him in frame next to one of Izzy so that when I light a candle at night, it shines for both of them in case they want to come for a visit.
He should have been with us for much longer. Izzy made it to almost 13, Spot was taken from us at age 10. I think that is what makes his loss even harder.
Spot, I hope you are up there with Izzy enjoying a summer day at the beach. I miss you dearly and promise to look after your Mum. Sox and your other greyhound friends will give her lots of cuddles in the days to come.
Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand