Meet my Dogs: Ash

After moving into my own place with Argos and my cat, Fae, I started to look for another dog as a buddy to Argos, who was missing my old roommate's dog. It took about half a year before I found the right fit. I grew up a cat person (you'd never guess that now) and I wanted an independent, aloof personality. This drew me to Salukis and I wanted to go through a rescue if at all possible.

First picture I ever saw of Ash.

This led me to the Sighthound Underground (SHUG) which is a nationally run sighthound rescue. They have been bringing unwanted but thoroughly vetted sighthounds from their countries of origin (typically Podencos and Galgos from Spain and Salukis from the Middle East) since long before rescue retail and importing rescue dogs with faked records became a phenomenon. I liked that they'd adopt to a young twenty-something single woman. I love that the rescue is run by strong, talented women. I liked that they'd adopt to someone who lived in an apartment with no yard as long as they were committed to always leash walking their sighthound and finding fenced places for them to run. I loved the education they did and their rescue partners abroad. I still occasionally process applications for them and have helped with some short-term foster with them before.

I had been looking online and saw a young (6 months at the time) smooth Saluki posted. It gave me a brief description of Ash (then known as Smiley). It said that he had been rescued from a yard in Qatar as a young puppy and raised in a foster home until he was old enough to leave for Canada. When his adoptive family backed out, he came to the USA and SHUG instead. He was a happy boy who loved cats.

And he essentially was a perfect fit for me.

Ash at likely under three months in his yard.

I later learned that some lovely ladies had seen Ash in his yard as a young puppy, completely covered in fleas and ticks. HIs owner had gotten him from racing lines to race and breed him. They'd passed him every single day and would sneak him food. Eventually, Ash's owner caught them trying to put flea and tick medication on him. The owner finally surrendered him to the ladies and Ash went to a truly wonderful foster home. To this day he still adores kids and big fluffy dogs because he'd had them in his foster home and I am periodically in touch with the people who fostered him Qatar (who I connected with much later).

Car ride home from the airport.

I filled out an application and then went through an application processor and then talked to Michael Owens, who runs SHUG. I was approved and a week later Ash was sent on a plane to Seattle, where I picked him up at the cargo area of the airport. He was 8 months at that point and was growing rapidly. He'd been through two plane flights and several foster homes in the space of a month. It took him awhile to settle in.

He and Argos were best buddies immediately which is good because it took Ash a long time to bond to me. I discovered that when I took out treats to train, he would run and go hide. He spent a lot of time in his open crate where he felt safe. He loved coming to the theatre with me and going for walks but he was very reactive to dogs and some people on leash. He would bark and lunge.

Off leash he was always great with other dogs (he adored dog parks back when we still frequented them and has always had an affinity for giant bear dogs) and he adored people (in a very un-saluki-like kind of way) but on leash was a nightmare for me. Ash is very much the reason why I learned how to work with reactive dogs.

In addition to leash reactivity, Ash would submissively pee at the slightest change in routines or when I went to put his leash on. Despite being on a well-fit martingale, he managed to learn how to unhook his leash, so I resorted to a locking carabiner instead. He also became adept at slipping through open doors. He went through his teenage chewing phase shortly after I brought him home. In short, I'd worked with a double handful of dogs by that point and thought I was ready for an aloof breed but I very much was not.

Ash in his foster home in Qatar.

Keep in mind though, Ash was likely never abused. He likely wasn't hit or punished, or at least not for an extended