For the Love of the Hound by ChristyAnn Righi
There’s a particular sculpture nestled in a glass case within the National Museum of Ireland that I find to be the best, out of all sculptures, ever. Immortalized on my Instagram and tucked away in my memories of studying abroad, that little sculpture of four greyhounds has a piece of my heart. It was the most human thing I had seen in my trip through several galleries and museums.
While I maintain that my favorite dog breed is the pit bull, with a close second being the Rottweiler, greyhounds are my third. Egyptians carved greyhounds into hieroglyphs as loyal beasts, and the Romans trained them to chase small game, cementing them in history. Greyhound racing, while barbaric, shaped the history of my ancestors. English nobility found the sport exciting, and it’s still practiced in several regions.
My own mutts came from these odd, skinny hounds. It took me hours to get my own dogs to pose for Instagram pictures, in a way that would capture their muscle curvature and graceful composition.
Such an ancient and graceful breed wormed its way into my heart and decided to sleep there as I stared at the sculpture. The fluidity of the piece alone was nothing to scoff at, the delicate curves and lines in porcelain highlighting the sinew of muscle that the breed possesses. Their speed, despite their big boxy chests and curved backs, strikes me as cat-like. The curvature of each jaw make the sculptures breathe. I could almost hear them whining for a running command: an innate need to sprint, deep in their blood. I’m not much of a runner, but I would have happily chased those porcelain hounds through the museum, narrowly avoiding priceless vases and passing guards.
The sculpture took me back to the time I went to the Renaissance fair and lounged in a gazebo with rescued greyhounds. They were collecting donations for the Greyhound Rescue in Arizona, and I happily slipped a ten-dollar bill into one of their pocketed coats. The sun lazily caressed us as we laid with the hounds. I didn’t want to leave them, stretched out on the wooden floor and panting in the heat of the desert sun.
I don’t remember the sculpture’s name. In the drizzle of the Ireland rain, I found peace in a pristine white porcelain figure no bigger than a cat, that connected me to both my roots and my own canines, and I forgot what it was called.