Rainbow Bridge Memorial

Linus "O Ya Lionheart"

"O Ya Lionheart"
February 14, 2013 - February 11, 2023

Dearly missed by Susannah, and by the North Loop Greyhound Gang

Linus and his brothers were Valentine’s babies, and so perhaps it should be no surprise that he was a little love-muffin from the very beginning. He ran 13 races, winning only once, and I always joked that he was the Ferdinand the Bull of racing greyhounds: truly a lover, not a fighter. “Lionheart” was far too strong a name for such a gentle soul — he needed something much softer, even wimpier, and so he became Linus on his adoption day.

When he first came home to Vancouver, everything in the loud, busy city made him jump. Over our 7.5 years together, and with lots of love and support (and me strategically serving as a human shield), Linus grew from a reserved, sensitive, skittish omega who was nearly afraid of his own shadow, to a reserved, sensitive, composed, even-keeled darling of a dog: the very best boy.

After his adoption in WA, Linus became an unwitting international ambassadog: first with GPI in Vancouver, BC, and later with the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas, in Austin. We attended dozens of meet and greets and walked hundreds of miles together. Gentle giant that he was, he even managed to win over several people who’d had a lifelong fear of big dogs.

In the last few years of his life, Linus was serendipitously surrounded by half a dozen younger rescued greyhound friends who’d been adopted into our neighborhood, and who he saw regularly for walks and as dogsitting host. He did not lack for love, attention, or community, and a neighbor told me after his death that he had become something of a local celebrity — the outward elegance that hid the private goofball.

Linus was an awful racer and the perfect companion. He was a velcro dog and a mama’s boy; it was hard to say who was happier to see the other, when I got home from an errand or a trip. He adored long sniffing walks, car rides where he could observe the world from a safe distance (and behind glass!), and sleeping as close to me as possible, preferably while I touched him. For most of his life, he was terrified of cats, and would hide behind me whenever one appeared. He loved napping in a sunbeam and his warm winter clothes, and always danced happily towards me when I first offered his hoodie each fall. In his later years, he learned the words “do you wanna lick my bowl?” and waited to hear them after every meal, attentively hoping to be the furry pre-rinse cycle. He loved the Texas sunshine as much as he hated the Vancouver rain, although — notwithstanding his penchant for a long walk — he was really always more of an “indoorsy” dog, and preferred all the humans to be inside with him.

He was exceedingly sweet and sensitive and loving, and we were each other’s emotional support animals. I got him through youthful reactivity and fear, a mast cell tumor, awful teeth, and a janky middle-aged back. He got me through breakups, an international move, and several years of a global pandemic. I could always feel my blood pressure drop whenever he settled in and let out one of his contented old-man groans, his sign that all was right in the world. We were simply on the same wavelength.

Linus was just entering his “elder statesman” years when a brain tumor took him very suddenly and unexpectedly, three days shy of his 10th birthday. There’s never enough time together, but this was really nowhere near enough time to say goodbye.

Goodbye, sweet boy. You were my heart dog, my canine twin flame, a soul mate, and the house is so empty without you. I miss you so much everyday, and I’m forever grateful to GPI for bringing us together. Run free, sir. You’re so good. I’ll find you at the Bridge.