We have lost one of our own.
Late Wednesday afternoon on January 9, 2002 at 4:30 PM, Cassie Gray crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. It was sudden and unexpected

As all greyhound owners know, owning a greyhound is a whole new dog experience.

Just what is it that makes a greyhound owner react to these dogs as we do? You will find that most greyhound owners are a specific type of person, and if they are not that person when they first adopt, they become that person very rapidly. What is it that they teach us, what do they bring out in us that makes us act more responsively to other animals and human beings? Why are we so intent on sharing our greyhound experience with others? Why are we so violently protective of them?

There is something about these animals that is different, something you cannot quite put your finger on or express intelligently in words, something almost mystical. We fall hopelessly in love with these dogs, treat them just a little differently than other pets, and interestingly enough, it is not limited to our own dogs, it spills over to others as well. You will always see a greyhound owner handling another grey as they would their own-so when one is injured, sick or missing, we worry incessantly. When one crosses over the bridge, it is like a cannonball has hit us in the chest, and we cannot breathe for a moment. 

So, as I take a deep breath, I remember Cassie for all the above things. I remember her for her sweet soul and her eagerness to share that soul with others. I remember her for her patience and understanding, exemplified by her ever-patient nature when her mom put  her beautiful costumes on her at holiday time, something we all looked forward to. Did she know that we as well as the individuals she was visiting eagerly awaited her arrival to see “what Cassie was wearing” and how wonderful she looked? I think she did. I will always remember her prancing to greet you or another grey, her head swinging back and forth and sometimes putting her paws to your chest to touch you, and of course her mom telling her “No, Cassie, don’t jump”. 
I for one enjoyed the feel of her paws next to my heart.

We will all think of our personal remembrances of her. My black greyhound Maxwell continually sent her love letters across the Internet, crazy I know but fun. I always received a good face washing when I saw her. Her silly personality, her eyes rolling back in her head with pleasure when Jim picked her up against his chest in that special way she so loved, (which always made us all smile and laugh), her love of bagels and salmon among other things, her gentleness with her “bunny” (her stuffed toy), her firm belief that all floors should be covered with a thick padding just in case anyone wanted to take a quick nap, her love of the wind hitting her in the face while racing at playgroup, walking a trail or hanging her head out of the car window, and of course the little human- like things she did  when it was her alone time with her mom and dad, things only Jim and Jeani would know. Her patience with endless hours of promoting the finding of forever homes for others of her kind will forever secure a place with her name on it in all of our hearts. I hope she knows how many hearts she touched, how many pieces of those hearts she took with her when she left us, what wonderful lessons she taught and how many people loved her and her family. I will surely miss her presence. Nothing will be the same for any of us without her.

We all go to bed at night after a tragedy of this kind, stare at the ceiling and think for a while. How brave Jeani and Jim must be……what on this earth could we possibly say or do for them that would make a difference; we are amazed at the hurt we are also feeling. We ask ourselves why we have been so lucky as to have these animals in our lives, and say a small prayer for those who have not been so lucky. 
Maybe our furkids will jump into the bed with us and we will give them a special hug or belly rub, stick our faces into their necks, drink in their smell and wonder, “What if it were us”? We wonder what we would do and how we would handle it, feel a little guilty for getting angry with them for whatever reason that day and then thank God we still have them with us. Cassie is obviously still with us, still teaching us and hopefully standing back and admiring her work. 

While my beautiful greyhound Cookie was dying with cancer, I would go to bed every night and thank God for allowing me another day with her, now I go to bed every night and thank God for every day I have been blessed with my furkids and for having been chosen to be a part of Cassie’s life.

We love you Cassie, we will miss you.

copyright 2002 helping paws of nc all rights eserved