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  • Writer's pictureFenley Grant

A Treatise on Deadlines, My Greyhounds, The Ring of Repugnance, and Reckless Squirrels.


I am under deadlines for writing new pieces (two deadlines) and proofreading other authors' works (two more deadlines.) During the holiday months, these deadlines add on pressure.

How do my dogs, the ring of repugnance, and the reckless squirrels in my yard factor into my deadline stress?

Read on.


I have two rescue dogs, Lilly and Luca. Luca is a rescued Italian Greyhound (the smallest type of greyhound.) Lilly is a rescue from the racing track, and is the biggest version of the breed.

Exhibit A--Luca. Yes, he's adorable. Yes, the tongue sticks out quite often.

Don't let the cute fool you. My friends will tell you he only likes the immediate four members of my family, and he'll bark like a possessed Cujo if someone unfamiliar comes into our house.

Exhibit B--Lilly. Former racing Greyhound. One race to her credit. She didn't want to leave the starting box. Her owner donated her to the rescue group right afterward.

Note her soulful eyes begging you to give her just one more treat.

How do my dogs, the ring of repugnance, and reckless squirrels factor into my already stressed deadlines schedule?

Read on.


The 'Ring of Repugnance' is a term I learned about in high school. At the time, our school was adjacent to a farm. When outside for PE (that's physical education for the youth in the crowd) you'd be downwind of the cow pasture.

Yes, the smell was as bad as you'd imagine.

What I learned from this experience is that cows will not, as a general rule, eat the grass ringed around their own cow patties. This is known as 'The Ring of Repugnance.'

How does this relate to my dogs? My dogs have their own version of 'The Ring of Repugnance.' They will sniff the yard IN SEARCH OF previous rings, so they might do their business on top of previously created rings.

The search for the perfect 'Ring of Repugnance' takes time. I am on deadline, and I don't have much in the way of spare time.

I have to go out with my dogs, even though they do their business in our own fenced backyard, because if I don't, they turn around and eat their own deposits.

Yes, they are disgusting, but this is not unusual dog behavior.

So, we've covered my dogs and the time waste of the search for the 'Ring of Repugnance.' What about the reckless squirrels?

Read on.


Actual reckless squirrel in a tree in my backyard.

We're having mild weather this time of year--even for Texas. The squirrels are enjoying this reprieve from the cold and have been stocking up on their nuts and other edibles in anticipation of the chill to come.

They've also become reckless. They boldly hang out in my backyard.

Lilly is a rescued racer. Racing dogs are trained to run by giving them a small, furry critter to chase.

The reckless squirrels have set themselves up as the small, furry critter to chase. They stay still, like the dogs won't notice them in the yard.

My dogs notice...and give chase.

Barking, running toward, and, on a rare occasion, catching of said squirrels ensues. (You don't want to know what happens to a caught squirrel.)

How does this relate to my deadlines? I'm finally getting to the meat of the story.

Here's a routine happening throughout my day while I'm on deadline:

  1. Dog or dogs must go out. I gear up, and we head outside.

  2. I grab the pooper scooper and follow behind my dog(s) to clean up as we go. Much sniffing for the 'Ring of Repugnance' possibilities takes place. This process can and does last awhile.

  3. Suddenly, one or both of the dogs senses a disturbance in our backyard force. Lilly's ears perk straight up. A scurry of squirrels are clustered in the yard. Lilly and / or Luca take off. The reckless squirrels wait until the last moment to disperse and run. My backyard is the dog version of an action movie's car chase sequence.

  4. I run after the dogs to try to prevent a squirrel massacre.

  5. After the squirrels realize they might actually die if Lilly catches them, they stay in the neighbors' yards for a time. If they're being especially reckless, they stay atop our six-foot-tall fence and mock the dogs. Barking commences. The neighbors love this. Really.

  6. The dogs give up, we go inside, and I get back to work.

  7. If I'm lucky, an hour or so passes.

  8. Dog or dogs indicate it's time to go out. Repeat step one.

It's a good thing I love my dogs.

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