We lost our girl Zuzu on June 30, 2019. She did not even make it to her sixth birthday. We feel cheated at losing her so young.
With her feisty spirit, we thought for sure she would live to a very old age. She had a feisty spirit from the start and did not believe in taking crap from anyone.
Colorado Greyhound Adoption had called us to say they had a litter of Greyhound pups just born that they wanted to get placed in homes.
It was bad timing for us. We should probably have said no thanks. But we didn't.
We visited Zuzu from the time she was just under three weeks old until she was six weeks old.
At six weeks, even though normally you should NOT bring a puppy home at that age, all the puppies went to their new homes. Being raised in a kennel they were not getting the enrichment they needed at this age.
So she joined our home in December 2013. The temp at night that first week was below zero outside.
Romeo, our Vizsla, was not quite sure what to do with such a fragile little thing. He did try to play with her but could be a bit rough at times.
Zuzu from the get-go was not afraid to express her opinions in no uncertain terms. We saw her feisty spirit even before we brought her home. A girl who knew what she wanted and was willing to fight for it. She was my kind of girl from the start!
Her very first friends aside from her big brother, Romeo, were Golden Retrievers who boarded with us when she was around the age of 8-9 weeks. Cooper and Bolo were very patient and gentle with her. Even when she insisted on playing Tug. . . with someone else's tail!
She loved the snow and the cold. Not typical for a Greyhound, but she was a mix. We assume the Irish Wolfhound in there is what helped her to love the cold weather.
She had an interesting coat that had a stripe from her neck to her tail that was longer and wiry – the Irish Wolfhound in her – while the rest of her coat was soft, short, like a traditional Greyhound. And she had what Ed liked to call a “racing stripe” across the right side of her head that was a strip of light brown against her gray coat. Her coloring was a blue brindle.
When she was young, Romeo could outrun her. But that did not last long. She quickly developed her speed and once she did, good luck finding a playmate who could keep up with her!
If another dog was running full out as fast as they could, she could easily catch them. It looked like those cartoons when one character was running as fast as they could. And the other character was easily jogging alongside them wondering why they weren't running faster.
Or she would be in a full out sprint, and her play buddies would quickly figure out you either take a shortcut or just wait for her to circle around. Trying to keep up was never going to be successful!
She was very good at establishing the boundaries/rules for the dogs who boarded with us. If someone was not being polite with the others, Zuzu would step in and handle it. Some dogs who had trouble at dog day cares or dog parks often did not have trouble at our house. Zuzu handled all of that pretty effectively.
Greyhounds, and other sighthounds, are hunters. They are designed to chase down prey quickly. They are sprinters, not distance runners. And boy, was Zuzu good at chasing down prey.
She was quite adept at catching bunnies. Mice. Voles. Squirrels. She was our rodent control. She could detect a vole underground, follow it for a bit, then dig it up and pull it out of the ground.
For her, the chase was fun. I never actually saw her do the grab/shake/kill move – I think most of the rodents who did die (unfortunately), died from a heart attack.
She loved to play Tug. Tug was her favorite game as a youngster. When I was doing her early training, she preferred Tug as a reward over treats much of the time.
She loved to play Tug with the other dogs. If she “won” and got the toy, she would immediately push it back at the other dog as if to say, why did you let go? We were having fun!
On her own, she loved to swing around her Romp-N-Roll ball, which is captured in a few videos here.
She loved to meet up with some of her friends for walks along the Highline Canal Trail or other places. While she loved her buddies August, Otis and others, her favorite was probably Betsy the Greyhound. Betsy actually liked ME more and would come to greet me, but Zuzu would intercept.
Betsy was one of the few individuals (dog or human) who got one of Zuzu's SMILES (or submissive grins). I wish we had video of that. I loved to see it. Sometimes I would get the smile. Betsy always did. Once in a while others would get it. But mostly the VIPs in her life were the only ones who saw it.
One of her other best buddies was Fraser, the Australian Shepherd, just a month younger than Zuzu. He came to board with us when he was a few months old and they became fast friends and stayed best buddies for her lifetime. They loved to play rough and tumble.
Zuzu loved her off leash walks on our property. She could fly through the field. She could fly through the scrub oak. (Not my favorite thing – I am amazed she never crashed into anything.) She enjoyed watching the neighbors and their horses.
She loved to chase deer, but only to the edge of our property. She never chased them off property.
She loved our chickens. When they used to free range, she loved to run through them to watch them scatter. Never tried to catch or harm them, she just thought it was funny.
She thought she was best buddies with the rooster. He thought they were arch enemies. She would taunt him and play bow at him. He would charge her, and she would dart away. Then come back for more.
She LOVED to have fun. She was full of spirit and full of mischief. She loved to play rough.
She did not love the summer heat. I always joked that she “hibernated” for the summer.
We would walk twice a day, even in the summer. In the morning and the evening. In the summers, she would hide away and sleep the rest of the day in the coolest spot she could find.
When it would cool off in the evening, her favorite place was to lie on a dog bed on the back deck and just listen and watch.
She was not a big snuggler, since she got hot so easily.
But the last year of her life, after we lost Romeo, she became more of a snuggler. She and I got to spend more one-on-one time together when it was just us. We grew closer.
While a feisty girl, she was also very sweet. I loved her kisses. Many mornings, that would be my wake up call. Kisses to my face. Not always gentle. Sometimes more like a facial exfoliation. But I miss those now.
I miss those morning walks when we would explore and connect and have fun together.
Rest in peace, sweet girl. We love and miss you, always.