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The Day My Afghan Hound Thought I Had Become an Afghan Hound, Too

by Tina Blue
March 31, 2001

          Afghan Hounds seem to have a special affinity for members of their own breed, more so than any other breed I have known.

          When two Afghan Hounds meet and want to invite each other to play, they pointedly bow, with their rumps high in the air, and repeatedly slap the ground with their fluffy forepaws.

          All dogs perform a similar maneuver when inviting other dogs to play, but the Afghan's ground-slapping bow has a formal, ritualized quality to it that even Afghans don't use when offering to play with other dogs or with people.

          My Afghan Hound Jason used to invite me to play in the ordinary way. But one day, when he thought his dreams had come true and I had been transformed into an Afghan Hound, he repeatedly performed the more formal Afghan bow to me, and the difference was obvious even to my dull human perception.

          Since 1968, I have always worn my hair very long, and I seldom put it up. But one day, when Jason was about four years old, I surrendered to the oppressive Kansas heat and put my hair up into pony-tails over my ears. The length of my pony-tails and their position right over my ears made them look just like an Afghan Hound's long, sweeping ears.

          When Jason saw me he went nuts! He began racing around the living room, pausing after every few circuits to bow in front of me and slap the floor inviting me to play.

          Then he'd take off again to race around the room, stopping after a while to bow and slap once again before resuming his frantic run.

          I can imagine what he was thinking. I was his special person. Perhaps he had always wished that I was more like him, a member of his own species.

          But when it looked as if I had turned into not just any dog, but an Afghan Hound, he must have thought his puppy-dog prayers had finally been answered!


          ~While I am on the subject of dogs and prayers, let me ask whether you've heard the one about the two dyslexic theologians who kept arguing over whether there really is a dog.