November, 2023

Thanksgiving: Gratitude for Licorice Noodle

This is a short video (less than two minutes) of me holding a photo of my greyhound, Licorice Noodle, a few months after I adopted her. She was 4.5 years old.

She turns 10 on December 1. And for a Thanksgiving gift to my retired racer, I wrote a letter about her, to express my gratitude. Here it is:

I have had many dogs.

It doesn’t take long to realize that a greyhound is not a dog, but an angel escaped from heaven.

I adopted Licorice Noodle 5.5 years ago. She will be 10 years old on December 1.


Licorice Noodle ran 298 races at Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana. She is a champion, descended from the Downing line. She is small and black, more like a whippet than a greyhound.

I wanted a fawn-colored greyhound, but when I saw her amid the others, my heart did something it had only done one time previously, when I bonded with my daughter in Lenox Hill Hospital a day after she was born.

There is a knowing you will do anything for the object of your love. I was Noodle’s, and she was mine. Just like I was Chrissy’s, and she was mine.

Licorice Noodle is like all greyhounds, I suppose. They are gentle and telepathic creatures, so intensely sensitive they become difficult and bothersome sometimes with their tendency to look deeply at you, peering into the depths of your soul, never complaining, only forgiving, and quietly imploring you to live your best life. To be honest and true in all ways.

And when we fail – and we often fail – greyhounds don’t hold it against you. Never does a greyhound cringe away from your anger, from your frustration, from your irritability. They simply stay the course, waiting for the best you to return.
These quirky and weird sprites, crosses between elves and aliens, have eyes that pierce the heart. These looks can literally be felt as pain, so profound is the “knowing” in the greyhound’s eyes.

If you have been graced with the presence of a greyhound, you have been chosen to live a life close to God, close to nature, and your guide has been the gentle being at your side, always coaxing you gently to keep on, keep going, telling you that you are lovely, kind, and warm despite how you may be feeling about yourself. If a greyhound has accepted the function of being your spirit guide, you have been chosen.

Chosen to accept the frailty, beauty, and awkwardness of life, of the everyday possibility of exquisite love permeating all things, extending to all sentient and non-sentient beings.

I learned about devotion from dogs, from my first yellow dog, Shiva. I learned about the relationship between disciple and master; the relationship between me and God.

My dogs have shown me how to embody my spiritual name, “Gopita”, which means “one who is intoxicated with the name of God. One who embodies divine devotion.” This has helped me understand my path, that of devotion, or bhakti.

My gentle girl is limping tonight. I fear the disease many of these greyhounds succumb to - osteosarcoma.

So, whatever time I have left with my etheric hound, I will cherish it and serve her until there is nothing left – nothing but the enormity of the light left wherever this dog walks on an earth she has never judged or condemned.

Happy Thanksgiving. I am very grateful…


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