About 12 years ago, when discussing succession planning with the vet after my beloved border collie developed cancer, he recommended a whippet.
‘A whippet?’ I said, scrunching my face. ‘But they’re so… so… weird looking. Why would anyone get a whippet?’
How wrong can a person be?
So today I want to use this space to
#58 Indulge in All Things Whippets
The vet explained that they were ideal dogs because they were adaptable to any lifestyle and had few, if any hereditary diseases. No congenital hip problems, no bowel torsion, no slipped discs, no laboured breathing or snorting. In fact, he concluded, ‘if everyone had a whippet, vets would be out of business.’
‘I’m listening,’ I said.
It only took a little research to see his point and a few months later, my new whippet puppy, Ziggy joined the household.
Unbeknown to me, friends who travelled with me to pick him up were thinking along the same lines. That’s how Ziggy’s brother Charlie, found a home too.
Almost twelve years later, the important thing we’ve come to learn about whippets is that they’re a law unto themselves.
Part Ferrari with a streamlined construction made for reckless, breathtaking speed,
part cat, displaying a ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude to any attempt at training,
and endlessly comfort-seeking:
‘Being so thin and scrawny, I must be allowed on every soft surface in the house’
‘Well, you left the cake on the kitchen bench and turned your back for a few seconds. What was I supposed to do? Ignore it?’
‘The sun has moved. Either move it back or shift my bean bag a few metres forward, would you?’
‘Just because I’m called a sighthound doesn’t mean I’m a watchdog. If you’d wanted someone to bark mindlessly at nothing, you should’ve got yourself a yappy little terrier.’
‘Look, I have no doggy smell and my coat never needs clipping or brushing. Finding tiny hairs all over the couch is a small price to pay for the pleasure of seeing me draped like a statuesque Egyptian god.’
So recently, Charlie’s owners and I decided to indulge our weakness for whippets by attending a couple of Whippet shows in Melbourne.
What’s the collective term for them? A Slender of Whippets?
We’re not sure what the criteria are for snaring a prize, but they do look impressive as they’re judged.
The winners were all leggy and elegant and terribly skinny as befits every supermodel – but not a black one among them.
We took comfort in the knowledge that the prized statuette for Best in Show was, of course, a black whippet:
aka a replica of Ziggy and Charlie…
In human years, our two are now in their seventies and slowing down a tad. Although they live several hundred kilometres apart, every time they meet up they’re instant mates and both would secretly agree that there’s no better playmate than another whippet.
That’s Ziggy on the left … definitely.
The strange thing is though, I don’t think whippets look weird any more.
In fact, despite his rapidly greying facial hair, his ridiculous bilby ears – instant disqualifiaction at a dog show, I’m told – his intermittent limp, and the odd tremble in his back legs, I think Ziggy’s the handsomest dog in the world.
Yes, he’s my very own velveteen whippet.