I’ve always been a sucker for a skinny dog. Over the years I’ve had several Whippets but none were as smart as the dog I grew up with, a fantastic mutt called ‘The Fang’.
The Fang’ was a white rescue dog from The North Melbourne Lost Dogs Home and I basically spent my first 17 years with her alongside me whenever I visited my Dad.
The Fang was super-smart and incredibly loyal. She would guard my pram when I was a baby and would only chase the chickens if Dad pulled out the axe and started chasing one. Then she would catch that particular chicken and bring it to you. Otherwise she just left the chickens alone.
We also had a cat from time to time which she lived happily alongside. Her true quarry was rabbits – for some reason still unknown to me we always referred to rabbits as ‘dingoes’ when Fang was around. If you said, ‘Dingoes Fang!’ in an excited voice she would become completely alert and her whole body would quiver while she looked around looking for the rabbit. Then her acceleration speed was spectacular. (Whippets are known to be faster accelerators than Cheetahs.)
We were never really sure what breeds she had in her, but it was unanimous that her main breed was either a Whippet or a Greyhound, but after reading this article today in the Gulf News I’m wondering if it might have been Saluki. (Salukis look a lot like greyhounds but they typically have feathery ears and a tail.)
Taking Fang to the vet was always an experience. Fang HATED the vet, even though she visited frequently because she was a sight-hound. Sight-hounds run fast and keep their eye on the prey. Needless to say that scraping fence posts, jumping over barbed-wire and running through balckberry briars at around 50km per hour meant that she had various knicks, cuts, slashes and tears all over her once perfect white coat.
When you normally arrive at the vet the receptionist goes to the card file and gets your dog’s card (this was before electronic files… yes I’m old). With most dogs the receptionist would look through the cards until she found you dog’s name and then pull out the card which had the dogs visit history. With Fang she would go to the card file and find Fang’s name. Then she would pull out the first card. Then the second card. Then the third card. And then the fourth card. The receptionist would then look at you as though you were some kind of animal abuser and call the vet to come to the front desk.
The vet liked Fang, quite possibly because Fang put his kids though private school. Luckily the vet knew that Fang was a well-cared-for dog with a great life, consisting of sleeping by the open fire at night and running around the bush during the day. So he’d stitch her up, give her an injection of penicillin, give us the pills to follow up, pat her and say he was looking forward to seeing her again soon.
I remember once Dad tie-dyed her tail orange and pink with vegetable die when my aunt Maggie was going through a hippie tie-dying phase. Fang was embarrassed.
Another time Fang caught a snake and we put it on the barbecue. It tasted like chicken or so I am told. I refused to eat any.