Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Greyhounds in Literature

I had a great professor in college who was from Uganda. His favorite quote was "readers are leaders." I tend to agree with him, but the problem with this theory is it doesn't define exactly what it is these folks are reading. In retrospect, I guess what ever you read is what you lead. Kind of like you are what you eat for your brain.

I'm not sure what it says about me that I like great fiction. Not chick fiction. But really good, NYT best seller fiction. I had been putting off reading The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, for a long time for one reason or another. I always like to read the book before seeing a movie if I can, so I powered through it under the covers a few weeks ago before watching Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana make it come to life on the big screen.

It was around 1:30a when I came across this greyhound reference on page 163 of the paperback edition of Ms. Niffenegger's modern masterpiece:

"I've noticed that Henry needs an incredible amount of physical activity all the time in order to be happy. It's like hanging out with a greyhound."

Now, all of us who own a greyhound know that this is totally incorrect. It was shocking to see such a thoroughly researched piece let such a detail get through the cracks and it has stuck with me for weeks. It may not make that big of deal in the grand scheme of things, but obviously greyhounds have this misconception of needing way more exercise than the average dog - which we all know is pretty much the opposite - and it makes our job as advocates and adoption agencies even harder. So I just need to get this off my chest:

Ms. Niffenegger, I wish you would have taken a few more minutes doing research to find out more about greyhounds before crafting this simile. You would have found out that this breed could be considered one of the laziest among all dog breeds and enjoys its down time more than anything else in the world. And while I understand why you were drawing this reference because of what they are known best for (grace, agility and speed) it is simply incorrect and creates a false notion about a breed that is already difficult to adopt into homes across the country.

Ok. Now I feel better. I can let it go. The book is fabulous. Read it and skip page 163.