Paper thin.

Greyhounds aren’t like any other breed I’ve cared for or owned. There are hilarious shirts about 45 mile per hour couch potatoes and purses with silly greyhound outlines. At the dog park, people will come up and ask me what breed she is, because it can be rare to see one. Even working at a vet’s office during college, I didn’t see one. Other than the greyhound that came to our house with its person to verify that our house had a fenced in yard and that we were ready to meet the adoption agency’s standards, Bella is the only other greyhound I’ve snuggled. Our adoption counselor told me that we would fall in love and become greyhound people, that I’d probably end up wearing the shirts and purses and answering all the questions about how unique this breed is. I don’t have the clothes yet, but I do have pajamas for my dog, very cushy beds for my dog, and I’ve definitely answered questions regarding my dog and why it has a coat on in Georgia. Greyhounds have been bred to increase their speed and aerodynamics. They have less fat on their bodies than any other dog breed, so they can’t regulate their temperature as well. Plus, they need more support in their beds, because it’s essentially bone against whatever they choose rest on. I don’t know any greyhound owner who doesn’t let their dog or dogs on the couch, because it feels better to their dogs, legitimately. That speedy, slim design also causes very, very thin skin. In the sunlight, Bella’s back legs look like a window cling sun catcher in the afternoon rays. They are all but translucent. We learned how thin Bella’s skin is very quickly, within a weekend of her coming to live with us. She went outside to play, got excited about the yard, did some loops, and bounded up our back steps. She slipped and the skin of one of her front paws just peeled away, like plastic cling. The howl we heard was unmistakably one of pain. Since their skin is as thin as it is, bandaging a wound on a greyhound is a precarious job. The adhesive can cause more ripping of the skin itself. I managed to make a bandage by cutting the ends off of a baby sock we hadn’t thrown out yet and taping around the sock, then spraying the sock with bitter apple spray so she’d leave it alone. The muzzles greyhounds wear during races isn’t to prevent them from biting. It’s to prevent their teeth from slicing the skin of their faces and their bodies if they bump into each other as they propel themselves around the track. Bella is the oddest dog I’ve ever encountered. She even drinks my coffee out of spite if I leave when she doesn’t want me to and I’ve forgotten to pick it up. I’ll find her holding my cup on the couch, in between her paws, glaring at me. The adoption counselor warned me I’d fall in love and my world would begin to recenter around this creature. She wasn’t wrong, and I’m glad she told me to read all the books and to be ready for weirdness.

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