Last week’s “Pets” described the crimes and misdemeanors of my first three Afghan Hounds. I really planned to include all six, but didn’t realize my individual Afghans had such long rap sheets. Therefore, Part 2 will list the silly and serious transgressions of my precious, passed pups-Trevor, Halle and Edgar Afghan Poe.
Trevor a slim, black Afghan came from a top show kennel on Long Island. I adopted him as a pet and pal for my bigger black Afghan Alan. Their backgrounds were polar opposites. Trevor’s sire was the top show Afghan ever at the time, while Alan was from Oyster Bay Town Shelter after being imported from either Poland or Russia, and then abandoned with two other Afghan imports by the person who brought them to the US.
Trevor was conditioned as a show dog from the day he was whelped. He knew to stand for examination, how to self-stack, how to walk on a leash perfectly, how to allow people to touch him anywhere. He was so trained that when I took him to obedience school none of the instructors could teach Trevor the SIT command because he wasn’t supposed to sit in a ring. They gave up. I eventually got him to sit on command because he didn’t have an audience at home.
Trevor was a canine super model. He would not fuss if I dressed him. Instead, he would go out in the yard and pose on his own in his chili pepper visor, or fuchsia ensemble accessorized with a string of pearls. He would bark at passersby while decked out in his Gloria Swanson gold lamé. No one could take him seriously. Trevor had a full wardrobe for every occasion including his red, David Niven smoking jacket for quiet nights at home.
The first week he came to live with us, Trevor destroyed a dog toy that had sentimental significance. Mr. Pasty was a squeaky toothpaste tube with a dog’s head who had been the imaginary puppy when Juliet our first Afghan went into a false pregnancy. Juliet mothered and smothered the toy until we rescued and hid him. However, Mr. Pasty never stood a chance when Trevor found him. He tore him to pieces but never harmed anything else in the house.
Halle a black and tan beauty queen was adopted via Afghan Hound Rescue. She had been purchased online by people without any sight hound experience. Supposedly, she was tied to a radiator during the day and to the bed frame at night because they owned cats she would chase.
Halle was born to be the life of the party, as long as the party was quick, and for her. She had a wonderful sense of humor but the attention span of a flea. If she was bored at agility class, she’d slip around the partition and interrupt the free style class. Halle would snap her teeth together like castanets when she wanted to vamoose any gathering.
She sensed in a nanosecond if you dropped her leash, and would take off at the speed of light. Her greatest escape was during a Halloween pet event. We were outside, changing her into a red sequined Spider Woman outfit when she realized I let go of her leash. She took off in costume into traffic with my husband running after her. As she was about to cross a busy street, someone walked out of the Catholic church carrying two long boards. He stepped into the road and held them up like a cross. Traffic stopped; my husband grabbed Halle’s leash. Divine intervention?
Halle was a therapy dog in nursing homes. Once we walked into a room, and the resident was sleeping deeply, almost comatose. Halle took it upon herself to jump up on his bed as light as a butterfly and straddle him. I was aghast until the man opened his eyes, smiled and said softly : “Oh, my, an Afghan Hound!” How did Halle know her ballerina stunt would bring this man a moment of joy?
Edgar Afghan Poe’s life began on the dark side as one of 67 neglected Afghans (plus 25 parrots) seized from a New Mexico hoarder, so matted he had to be anesthetized at the Santa Fe shelter to be stripped down, so terrified he refused to walk. He was among seven flown to Newark and then kenneled on Long Island for a two weeks’ rehab by breed volunteers. The rest of the surviving Afghans were placed by Afghan Rescue chapters throughout the country. Edgar’s brother and clone Shamir lived in Switzerland.
Halle showed Edgar how to relax and enjoy the gifts of speed, stealth and grace- all part of his breed’s birthright. He remained fearful of guests at our house and retreated to the sofa, and leery of some folks, especially fishermen, he met on walks in the woods.
Edgar was always more relaxed in the company of other Afghans. The turning point to his fears came when we attended the Afghan National Specialty in Rhode Island so he could be in the rescue parade. He really enjoyed being surrounded by other Afghans. That’s when I got up the courage to take him to the Birmingham Ballet to perform in the Muttcracker with a group of rescued and show Afghans. Edgar did fine despite angels on wires swinging over his head and a packed audience. The second year, Edgar had purple chalk highlights in his domino topknot.
We made the trip to Alabama two years in a row with his main squeeze Jasmine from Toms River, also a rescued Afghan. They were inseparable traveling and ballet buddies. We could leave them alone in the hotel room together, and be back in time for rehearsals. The concierge Pam became their adopted godmother. They were rewarded with room service.
Forty years of sharing and enjoying life with Afghan Hounds went by in a flash. I miss my beloved breed each and every day.
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