martha's vineyard

Feb 7, 2016 - Nancy Luce’s grave, in the West Tisbury Village Cemetery, with some of the chickens, and other things that have been left on it -taken on Oct 30, 2013

Nancy’s one wish was to be buried next to the graves of her beloved chickens on the family farm, but the town didn’t allow it, so over time, stone, porcelin and plastic chickens in particular, have been left on her grave, somewhat mysteriously left though since no one has ever witnessed anyone leaving anything on her grave.

Feb 24, 2017 - May-May, back a long time ago when she still had four legs, and was about 7 years old. She has been gone since mid-June of last year, and I miss her terribly everyday -taken May 30, 2007

May came to live here on this day[Feb 24] in 2007. It almost didn’t happen.

Back in Feb 2007, I got a call from a woman who said she had a female Greyhound that wasn’t working out for her, and knowing I had Greyhounds, hoped that I would take her. When she described the situation, she spoke of how May, back then called Maizie, was a wonderful dog, but she seemed to suffer terribly from separation anxiety, which was making her life difficult, because she couldn’t leave her alone in the house while she went to work due to the separation anxiety. May would get frantic, fearfu, and anxious, and tear things up, and make desperate attempts to get out of the house. This woman had resorted to crating her during the day which seemed to worsen May’s anxiety, which makes sense to me, since she probably felt trapped. This woman was at her wits end as to how to help this situation for herself, and for May, and had finally decided with much difficulty that she would try to find a new home for her.

I have to say this did not sound like a good situation to me at the time, after just having lost a Greyhound to cancer who had had some different behavior issues. I didn’t feel too eager to take this on. I told her that, but said I would think about it.

About 10 days later, she called back. She said that she and her young daughter were going away for school vacation, and wondered if it would be possible for May to spend the time they were away at my house, and maybe that would be a way to see how well she worked out here. I agreed, unsure of what was ahead for the next 10 days, but I always have a soft spot for Greyhounds.

I had never seen May before she arrived here. She was almost all white except for an oval tan patch on her back, a grey patch over her left eye, and funny polka dot ears. She was unsure of what was happening, but fit right in immediately with the other two dogs living here, a female Greyhound, Lacey, and a female rescued Beagle, Pebbles. Besides her collar and leash, she arrived with a winter coat, a raised stand with water and food dishes (Greyhounds are more comfortable eating from dishes placed in an elevated position), and her favorite toy, a squeaky floppy frog. She arrived, won everyone over, and never left.

During her 9-½ years living here, she never showed any sign of the separation anxiety she had suffered with so badly, except for one time back in 2012 when she had to be in a kennel alone for a short time while I was in the hospital having surgery. Lacey would have been with her, and I am sure things would have worked out differently if she had been, but sadly Lacey had died suddenly the week before from the lymphoma that she had been diagnosed with a year and a half earlier, and so May ended up alone there. She was frantic enough that time that she tore out her bottom canines biting at the cage trying to get out. I felt terrible for her, and terribly guilty for having put her in that situation. She developed such a close bond with Lacey, who allowed her to be the top dog since Lacey seemed to have no interest in that position, and I think that closeness and bond quieted the separation anxiety until that moment when she was suddenly left alone again.

I have lived with a number of dogs over my life, and loved them all, and mourned their deaths, but May and I formed an especially close bond, even more so after Lacey died, and I have found her death and the loss of her in my life, eight months later, the hardest one I have yet had to endure. May had a bigger than life personality. I don’t think she got her former racing name - Lil’ Wild Child - for nothing. She was a little wild child, and was such a joyous dog to be around with wonderfully funny and quirky ways, and seemed to understand everything I was about to do or say. After Lacey died, when she was the only dog left in the house, she and I became even closer. We started taking these long, and very cold(late fall/early winter) beach walks on many of the beaches on the Island. Every time I stopped to take photos, she would quietly stop and patiently wait beside me until I finished. I have wonderful memories of my years with her, but I miss those special times together so much.

There are two new dogs living here now, Bandera, a Spanish Galgo, a distant cousin of the Greyhound, and Sonia, who is said to be probably a Galgo/Saluki mix, but looks so much like a Silken Windhound that I wonder if she could be that instead. They both were rescues from Spain, where Galgos are used basically as tools during the yearly hunting season , and then most are discarded in large numbers in the most horrendous ways. They have now been here for a little over two years, and are wonderful loving dogs. Sonia, who was older, arrived with some serious ingrained fears of certain situations, which she seems to have finally gotten over. May was still here when they arrived, and spent a year and a half with them, so I think she was a big factor in helping them adjust, and lose their fears.

So now my days are filled, and brightened, by sharing them with these two wonderful dogs. Bandera, whom I call Dera, or Deri, most of the tiime now, has seemed to have formed an especially close bond with me. She likes to snuggle a lot, and when lying in a bed, or chair, with a blanket over her, she lets out the loudest self-satisfied groans of pleasure I have ever heard from a dog. It makes you laugh every time, as do her incredibly loud, silly yawns.

I am grateful, and happy to have these two in my life, but the loss of May still weighs heavily on me. And to think she almost didn’t come to live here at all. I think about that often. When she left last June, I think she took a good part of my heart with her. I sometimes for a moment think I hear her in the house, or outside. Her happy, often mischievous face with her silly polka dot ears sometimes appears before me in certain situations, and memories flood back. I miss her terribly every day. What a wonderful dog she was. I am so glad I was able to spend so many years with her. She will live forever in my heart.