Mention his name in Greyhound racing or Greyhound pet owner’s circles in New Zealand and you’ll get a variety of responses. Racing people will talk fondly of watching him race, pulling his trainer around and wonder how he’s doing. Pet owners, if they’ve met him, will talk of his lovely nature, amazing good looks …. and size. Pet owners who haven’t met him will invariably ask if he is as big as they’ve heard 🙂 Tiny is ‘world famous in New Zealand’, as we say here. An icon in the small, tight knit world of Greyhounds.
I don’t know if Tiny is the biggest Greyhound to ever race in New Zealand but I haven’t heard of any larger than him. He raced at between 42 and 44 kgs and now tips the scales at close to 50 kgs. When Tiny retired from racing a couple of years ago he moved from the South Island up to the North Island to live with his lovely new owner, Chris. Here are a couple of photos I took at a Greyhound run in September last year when I first met Tiny. He made a lasting impression on all the people there and made sure to say hello to everyone and have loves.
A month ago, at the far too young an age of 6 1/2 years old, Tiny was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in his left hind leg. A heartbreaking double whammy for Chris, who hasn’t been well herself. There was a huge outpouring of grief, sympathy and love for Tiny and Chris from the Greyhound community. A BBQ was held a couple of weeks ago to honour and celebrate Tiny, to allow people to meet him and friends to wish him well. There were lots of people and hounds there, Tiny enjoyed himself and some tears were shed. I was gutted to not be able to get to the BBQ, so when Chris’s daughter asked on Facebook if anyone could take some photos of Tiny for Chris I was quick to put my hand up.
I met up with Chris and Tiny on Friday afternoon for a photoshoot at a park near a harbour.
On the way down I was visualising being able to capture some tender moments between Chris and Tiny. What I hadn’t bargained on were some people at the park having a couple of remote controlled little planes that sounded very much like a lure! Tiny heard the noise in the distance and that was the end of any lovey-dovey stuff 🙂 But I got lots of photos of Tiny being Tiny and I think that is what was important to Chris.
We wandered around the park a little and down to the harbour. All the while Tiny kept his ears pricked for where the lure sound was coming from. When we decided Tiny had had enough Chris walked back over the park to get her car and I held onto Tiny. He started tugging at the very flimsy lead I’d put on him (see above photo) and I thought seeing as the afternoon was all about Tiny I’d just follow him. So off we went at quite a cracking pace and I soon realised where he was taking me. He’d figured out where the lure noises were coming from!! Then he saw the little planes in action and OMG, it’s one of the few times I’ve been glad I weigh considerably more than 50 kgs! He bucked and bounced, twisted and turned. Luckily I’d grabbed hold of the control loop on his collar as soon as I realised what his intentions were, that little lead wouldn’t have held him. He sure took some holding but it made his afternoon 🙂 Any aches and pains were forgotten and I think he was reliving all his glory days in those few moments.
It was a pleasure and privilege to spend the afternoon with Tiny and Chris. To spend time with him and see him as he sees himself. He isn’t a dog stricken with cancer who is going to be robbed of a long, happy retirement with an owner who thinks the world of him. He’s TINY, a larger than life dog, who is going to live life to the fullest for as long as he can. Chris is facing the toughest decision a pet owner has: when to let Tiny go and run pain free. My heart aches for her but I know she will do right by Tiny and not let him suffer. Much aroha to you both xx
What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.