Dog With 'Human' Teeth Helps Her Mom Make Friends Everywhere She Goes
“Salty is our baby and we are besotted by her … The greatest joy in our lives is seeing her happy.”
As a member of the fastest dog breed on the planet, the quick pace of city life agrees with Salty the greyhound.
The white dappled dog is a fixture in coffee shops and pubs around Melbourne, Australia, and her mom, Lucy Percival, is happy to encourage her social spirit.
“We live in Melbourne, which is famous for its bars and cafés, and Salty is a true ‘Melbourite’ as she loves them, too,” Percival told The Dodo. “Salty’s favorite things are catching the train to go to a bar, or walking to our local cafés for a puppuccino. If she chooses her walk route, she always chooses to walk to the train station!”
Most dogs would prefer to head to the dog park rather than a bar — but Salty isn’t like most dogs, for a number of reasons.
Whenever Salty is contentedly sitting at her favorite spot, something odd happens: She reveals her pronounced front teeth and her jaw starts to chatter. This behavior can draw curious, even concerned, stares from her fellow café patrons.
“Some people think the shaking is because she’s sick, scared or cold,” Percival said, “but she is definitely healthy, happy and warm in the Melbourne summer!”
Chattering (chittering or knitting) is one trait that makes greyhounds special. Unlike humans, where teeth chattering is an involuntary form of shivering, greyhound teeth chattering is usually a sign of happiness or contentment, similar to a cat’s purr.
Though Salty’s chattering is not especially uncommon for greyhounds, it still draws attention — and can get quite noisy.
“Salty chatters a lot! She chatters when it’s breakfast or dinner time, she chatters when we come home and she wants cuddles, she chatters when she’s sleeping on me like a giant baby,” Percival explained. “She also chatters a lot when we go out. Salty really loves being with people, so she often chatters when we're in bars, pubs and cafés.”
Salty’s pronounced chatter highlights yet another unique trait: Her humanlike front teeth.
“Her lower jaw is slightly shorter so her top teeth are more prominent. I think that her top teeth have not worn down over time because she doesn’t chew with them much,” Percival noted. “But there’s no trickery in the little toofers, they’re always prominent.”
In the two and a half years since Percival and her partner adopted Salty, these buckteeth have helped her build quite the following on Instagram.
When Percival and her partner first moved to a small apartment in Melbourne, they thought a sweet, docile greyhound would be the perfect addition to the family. And when they saw then-5-year-old Salt at rescue organization Gumtree Greys, they knew they made the right decision.
“As soon as I saw Salt (as she was called) I was smitten,” Percival said. “I have a lot of cooking salts and flavored salts (about 14 types). It’s a bit of an obsession. So it just seemed so perfect that a dog called Salt would join our family.”
Moving to a new place can often feel isolating, but bringing Salty to Percival’s new apartment changed all that. Percival had no idea how instrumental her pup would become in helping her quickly form friendships and feel like part of a community.
“Getting Salty gave us an instant support network and amazing group of friends. We now volunteer with Gumtree Greys at its market stalls and it’s so much fun hanging out with our new friends and a bunch of greyhounds every weekend,” Percival explained. “It also helped us meet many of our neighbors and we have made lots of friends in our local area through Salty.”
While Salty has acted as an unexpected social lubricant for her parents, she has also transformed their lives in other indescribable ways. “You can’t really explain how unconditional love changes your life,” Percival said. “Salty is our baby and we are besotted by her … Salty’s dad is just as doting as I am. The greatest joy in our lives is seeing her happy.”