Wednesday, 15 July 2015

A wild thing comes to the city

It looked so incongruous. On springy flanks the greyhound ambled up the street next to its master, a man in a dark suit and wearing a dark woolen overcoat. Next to the man walked in tandem a woman with blonde hair who was dressed for the office. Both of the middle-aged people looked like office workers and would not have looked out of place in any building in the CBD, in fact, except for the presence of the black and white, long-nosed hound walking alongside the man.

It just looked wild and out-of-place, the greyhound. The way they walk, dogs of this breed, with two feet touching the ground only at any time, like a coil springing past in tiny, polite bounces. Like a tumbleweed. Like a stone skipping across the surface of the bay when thrown by someone standing on the shore. Just not the sort of thing you are likely to see in the city at morning rush hour. On a beach, absolutely.

This greyhound looked well cared-for but greyhounds in the main have unstable lives at the best of times. Kept well if they race and win, they are quickly culled if they do not, and often are abandoned or put down, or both. There's someone I follow on Twitter who often publishes details in the feed about greyhounds seeking homes to live in. They look so sad, these homeless dogs with their long, pointed faces. The greyhound I saw yesterday in the city had its ears held close to its head, as if it were being cautious or had been warned to behave. I wondered what it could have felt, surrounded as it was by thousands of people and hundreds of cars crawling through the traffic.

Out of the street I turned into a building and took some stairs down to the basement, where the dusty, acrid smells of cars in traffic were replaced by the sweet aromas of coffee and scented soap. I could suddenly hear people talking down here in the depths. It would have been an entirely different olfactory and auditory world for a greyhound making its way through the city, but the greyhound was not there any more. We had gone our separate ways.

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