My entire life, I have grown up around animals. From fish and turtles to dogs and cats, I can never remember a time when I didn't have pets in my house. A few years ago, my mom and I decided we wanted another dog.
At the time, we had two cats and hadn't had a dog in the house for several years. My dad was initially opposed to getting another animal, but my mom and I convinced him.
After a few months of research, my mom and I had our hearts set on getting a retired racing greyhound. We began the process of looking for a place to adopt from. We found a greyhound rescue facility in Ft. Myers and spent a few days looking through the pictures of dogs available for adoption on their website. My mom and I both picked out a favorite and knew we were going to have a difficult time choosing one.
My parents and I made the two-hour trip to the adoption kennel and were bursting with excitement.
When we got there, I quickly asked about the dog I saw on the website. To my disappointment, I learned that she had already been adopted. We walked around and looked at all of the dogs, and one quickly caught my eye. She was white, brown and brindle, and perked up whenever we walked by.
I asked if I could see her out of the crate and the kennel employee put a leash on her for me to walk her around. She was excited and friendly and immediately wanted to sniff my parents and me. I knew she was my first choice, but my mom wanted to look around some more.
My mom picked out a tan, enormous dog. While he had a sweet disposition, he was huge. He was heavy, long, and tall - there was no way he would even fit in the backseat of our truck.
We went back to the first dog and chose her. My parents signed some papers and paid the adoption fee, and we were free to take home our new dog.
Now, most retired racing greyhounds have an extravagant three-part name, much like a racehorse.
Our dog, however, had a very simple name - Styx. My parents thought it was cool that she was named after a band from the '80s, whereas I thought it was absolutely ridiculous.
On the car ride home, I rode in the back seat with Styx. We weren't sure how she would react to the long car ride, but were pleasantly surprised when she fell asleep about 20 minutes in.
When we arrived home, we had a major hurdle to overcome - our cats.
She had been deemed "cat-safe," so we unhooked the leash and let her check out the house.
One of our cats was lying on the kitchen table, and Styx went over to sniff him. He immediately freaked out and leapt off the table, straight into our sliding glass door.
Although it has certainly been a long process, our dog and cats have now adjusted pretty well to each other. The cat who was initially terrified of her now spends a lot of his time vying for her attention - which she completely ignores. Most people assume greyhounds are very active; she is an absolute couch potato, with the occasional exception of running her homemade track around a tree in the backyard.
Sadly, because of her track upbringing, she doesn't really know how to play, but she is a sweet, friendly, happy addition to our family.