WIZZ, QUEEN'S PIPER, F.Ch.
2003 - 2007
Wizz exhibited some abdominal discomfort during a recent uneventful weekend, and wouldn't eat her Saturday evening meal. The next day she ate fine and seemed less sore in her abdomen. But she kept urinating in the house, which was very uncharacteristic for her, so we suspected a UTI. I took her to our local vet on Tuesday, and all the usual UTI tests were normal. An ultrasound was done which seemed to show pyometra, an infection of the uterus. The surgical fix for pyometra is removal of the uterus. Disappointing, as we had planned to breed Wizz to Admiral next spring, but at least she would be okay.
When our Newnan vet, Dr. Wayne Morris, did the surgery, he found a completely healthy uterus, but there was a large, very invasive and almost certainly cancerous tumor in her small intestine and the nearby lymph nodes. Removing the tumor would have required removing most of her small intestine. Dr. Morris called while she was still under the anesthesia and recommended that we not bring her out but let her go. There was really no decision to make.
We first met Wizz at the Waterloo Cup in England in 2005. She was 20 months old at the time. She wasn't running in it, but her brother Basso was, and they both lived with the same trainer, Terry Richmond. Our British friends the Strunins, who bred Wizz and Basso, were picking up Wizz from Terry to give her a try at racing. Terry's girlfriend Jan, who helps him with the dogs, had gotten attached to Wizz, and she cried when she kissed Wizz good-bye. Wizz was definitely a "lady's dog."
Wizz had nice speed for racing, but she "dwelled in the traps," as the Brits say, meaning she didn't burst from the starting box when it opened and thus always started the race behind the other Greyhounds. I like to think that she just liked to start her runs with the steady human hands of the slipper on her. The Strunins brought her home after a few races when it became clear that running the oval just wasn't her cup of tea.
A few months later, Jane Strunin offered Wizz to come to America, and we decided it would be fun to co-own her with Pam and Glen Davis, with her living at the Davises' home. The Strunins decided to come over for a vist and bring Wizz, so she stayed at our house until Pam and Glen were coming up in a couple of weeks for GreyFest. (This was the year that Lee Livingood came down and held her seminar that Sunday, and she used Wizz to demonstrate some profiling techniques). In that two weeks, Wizz worked her magic on Laura, who found it hard to let her go to south Georgia.
A few months later, it was time for Pam and Glen for bring three of their Amy pups, Donald, Whyte and Red, home from their foray into racing, but they worried about whether they would have enough room. "Wizz can come live with us to make more room," said Laura, and so she did.
Wizz started her third athletic career, in lure coursing, a few weeks later. She was an enthusiastic, but not brilliant, lure courser. I always wondered that if having chased the real thing, Wizz just couldn't be bothered to give 100% for a plastic bag. She had not had the outstanding coursing career in England that her brother Basso did, but trainer Terry once said that if he had gotten Wizz under his tutelage in adolescence as he did Basso, she would have been superb. But she did enjoy her lure coursing fun, and did ultimately earn her Field Champion title.
Wizz discovered "bigger game" in the infamous deer coursing episode at the farm. For months after, whenever she went outside, she maintained a constant lookout for deer; she would relax and do her business only after satisfying herself that there were no deer about. I could no longer take her off-lead from the house to the dog pasture, as she would take off in the direction she had last seen deer and I would have to go retrieve her. I kidded some Scottish Deerhound owners I know that I had a "smooth-coated Deerhound."
Wizz matched her intensity for game with her sweetness. She was a "pet me, pet me" Greyhound. If you were petting another dog, she would push her way in and make sure her head was under your hand. She was always happy and flirtatious, and would roll her eyes up at you without lifting her head from her bed when you entered the room. She had personality in abundance, and seemed to enjoy amusing us. I think she would have been a great mother, and I'll bet she would have been a pistol in her senior years.
We miss all the Greyhounds who have left us, but the gap Wizz has left at the young age of four is particularly keenly felt, and will be for a long time.
John and Laura Parker