This is a collection of short vignettes about our sweet Mr. Preston who crossed the bridge a few weeks ago (In April of 2020) Life is very much quieter without him.
Oh, Carol, if you get a call about a skinny teenager wearing a NBRF tag on a necklace its Daniel. He is wearing Preston's tag to feel close to him.
Preston came to live with us 5-6 years ago. We had lost Perry a few months earlier and the pack never seemed to rebalance and so I called about getting a new fellow to join the crew to rebalance the pack. Carol had Preston, a 5-year-old, in a foster in Florida and he sounded like a good fit.
He proved to be just what the doctor ordered. He was sweet and had a slightly silly personality and brought sunlight back to the pack.
If you were down you could always count on Preston to try to cheer you up - he became the moral officer. If I was in a mood and the other guys were steering clear that was when Preston would come to me to cheer me up.
OK, enough of that. Time for the stories!
Preston Gets a Nickname
Everyone in the pack has a nickname and it wasn't too long before Preston got his. Preston's nickname was Captain Slow!
If any of you are fans of Top Gear you know who Captain Slow is. It is James May and he is so named because he almost always loses the races and often takes unplanned detours.
Well James has nothing on our Capt. Slow! Getting Preston to come in was a 10 min affair. He could turn a 100-yard straight walk into a 300. He would continually move in the general direction of the house so he wouldn't get scolded but geez, he would walk as slow as possible and take ever detour by every tree, bush or obstacle. If he didn't think you could see he would just stop and stand there.
A Real Captain Slow and so that became his nickname, Capt. Slow.
Preston and the Bone
Periodically, when my guy at the farmers market has them, I give everyone fresh knuckle bones. Everyone gets hugely excited for them.
Apparently, Preston had never seen one when he came here.
So, we are out on the front porch and everyone is jostling to get a bone. Preston wasn't quite sure what the commotion was about but he was in there to get his.
When it gets to his turn, I hand him his bone and I get this quizzical look like "What am I supposed to do with THAT?!"
He gingerly takes it from me, holds it for a second and then drops it on the porch with a THUD narrowly missing my foot!
OK, I'm not believing this, a Borzoi who doesn't like knuckle bones???
After a little persuading he finally takes it out in the yard and sees what the others are doing and finally the light goes on, "I CHEW THIS!"
He fell so in love with them that I had a new problem, he kept trying to bring his bone back in the house!
Spike is the only Borzoi I have met who would play fetch. His favorite toy was a 6-inch diameter tennis ball on a rope. He would grab the rope and run all over the yard before bringing it back.
I think this unBorzoi behavior annoyed Preston so he made his own version of the game which combined fetch with hide and seek.
If he could beat Spike to the ball, he would take it, head held high and go prancing off with it. He didn't care about being chased, he just took the ball and put it somewhere, usually behind the house.
I really think he did it to annoy Spike which it usually did.
Messing with the Boy's mind
Preston could be a scoundrel at times and a consummate sneak.
Now Daniel, my foster son, was like every 15 yr. old, a bottomless pit and it didn't take Preston long to figure out how to take advantage of that.
On day Daniel went into the kitchen and made himself a turkey sandwich and took it back to the game room. A minute later he goes back to the kitchen to get the drink he forgot and heads back to the game room.
He comes right back out and goes to the kitchen and starts looking around. Now I'm curious so I ask him what he is looking for. The response "My sandwich, I thought I took it to the game room but it isn't there."
Ok, I know what happened but I decided I could have some fun with this, "you sure you didn't eat it?" "No." "Maybe you took it to your room and not the game room?"
At this point D is beginning to think he has lost his mind while the only evidence left are a few crumbs on Preston's bed and a big belch from Preston.
Over time Preston got so brazen that one evening D was eating some leftover pizza while on the phone. Preston waited until he was totally focused on the call and walked over, grabbed the slice out of D's hand and trotted back to his bed with it!
And That's the Way It Was
Preston was a real talker too. You could easily carry one a conversation with him; he would start talking and all you had to do was say "Really?" or "you don't say" and he would keep on going.
Whenever Cricket (Karen Murray) came over he would be our regular Walter Cronkite. He would spend 5-10 minutes just talking to her and as soon as the news was over, he would go lay in his favorite spot.
As you can see Preston was pretty smart (he kept the boy fooled on the food snatching for quite a while) and that really showed in the last year.
Last August Preston was diagnosed with a liver tumor (inoperable) and so we went on a maintenance and support regime.
I know this sounds far fetched but we developed a way to tell me what he needed. It was a bark system, 1 for no and 2 for yes. There were 4 standard questions.
Are you owie? Do you need a pain pill?
Do you want attention?
Do you want to go out?
Do you want a treat?
The order changed and whatever got 2 barks was what he got. Now admittedly the treat was the most popular, but on many occasions the pain meds were question 4 and it got the 2 barks. Then we would head right to the kitchen to get it. I am convinced he knew the difference between the questions.
We really miss our Capt. Slow. His silliness, slyness and his warm personality. The house isn't the same without him.
- Ken Terry