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Why I Rescued Four Retired Greyhound Racing Dogs

By ARynne on Apr. 25, 2017

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In 2002, my husband and I decided that we were ready to be pet parents. We spent months researching and debating which dog to pick and talking through complex issues like age, size, fur type and personality. I wanted a small dog, he wanted a big dog. I had a strong preference for mutts, he liked pure breeds. I wanted a mellow lap dog, he wanted a buddy to take on hikes. And then there was the question of how a dog would fit in our small condo with its bark-averse homeowner’s association. It looked like we would never find our perfect fit.

And then at a dinner party, someone asked if we’d looked into adopting a greyhound. We hadn’t considered the long-limbed stoic athletes because we assumed dogs like that need a lot of space and hours of exercise each day. Plus, they didn’t seem very cuddly. But, our dinner guest insisted that a greyhound would be the perfect dog breed for us.

The next day, I found a local greyhound adoption group called the Greyhound Connection, and made arrangements to go on a walk and meet some of the dogs. We met big goofy dogs who wanted nothing more than to lean close and be petted and dainty dogs who curled up small to snooze away the afternoon. And we learned that greyhounds don’t need to run for hours a day. In fact, they are typically lazy couch potatoes who are reputed to be great for apartment dwellers because of their quiet demeanor (greyhounds rarely bark). The next day we applied to adopt a greyhound. A few weeks later, we were introduced to Roxy.

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Roxy

She had the softest ears, the prettiest golden eyes and her fur was a striking blue color. She was four years old, but in all that time, she had never lived in a house or had a soft bed or toys. Everything was brand new for her! At times, her new world was a scary place. Skateboards, the sound of a ball bouncing, umbrellas and her evil nemesis, the trash truck, would all send her into a state of panic.

Through lots of training, time and patience, she was able to overcome most of her fears (she never did get over the trash truck). She was sweet and affectionate and had a goofy side that she saved just for me. A year later, we adopted a friend for her to boss around. Logan was a large male with shiny black fur who had been looking for his perfect forever home for a long time. He was made of pure love, greeting everyone he met with joy and his patented cross-eyed grin. Together, they were the perfect pair.

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Logan and Luna

Over the years, our hearts broke as first Logan and then Roxy passed away. We now live with sweet Banyan and crazy Luna, who came to us through Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption. (Confession: I constantly look at the Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption site to see the hounds that are available and stay up-to-date on their post-racing rehabilitation. Maybe Banyan and Luna need a new friend?) All of our dogs have been so special and have brought such joy, it’s hard to imagine our life without greyhounds. There are so many greyhounds out there who are looking for a home.

If you are wondering if greyhounds are right for you, check out your local adoption group! Here are some factors to consider before you adopt a greyhound:

  • Greyhounds are sprinters, not marathon runners! They do require regular exercise, but they take their retirement from racing seriously.
  • Greyhounds are house pets. They will need to live inside with you and will want lots of love and lots of comfy places to sleep.
  • Some greyhounds get along well with cats and other dog breeds, and some don’t. Your adoption group will help you find the right fit for you.
  • Greyhounds make terrible watch dogs. They aren’t big on barking and aren’t big on protection. But, they are big on love!
  • It should go without saying but… Greyhounds are fast. Unless you can run 45 mph, you should always make sure that your greyhound is microchipped and wearing a proper collar, ID tags and leash when outdoors. Only let them off-leash in a secure, fenced area.
  • Like all pets, greyhounds require time and energy. There are lots of resources to help you ease a greyhound into life as a pet. Please carefully consider if you have the time and resources to care for a dog.
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Luna

Before life as a pet, racing greyhounds spend most of their lives (about 20 hours per day) crated. They are let out for exercise daily and generally race a few times a week. Race dogs usually retire between 2–4 years of age. Everything about being a pet will be new and many adoption groups rely on foster homes to ease greyhounds into their new life. Foster families play a critical role and most adoption groups have more dogs than they do willing fosters. If you aren’t sure about making a full-time commitment to a greyhound, fostering might be for you!

Don’t have the time for a dog, but still want to help a greyhound in need? Greyhound adoption groups often incur significant costs in rehabilitating dogs newly off the track. Some have injuries and require expensive medical care. Consider a donation to your local adoption group to assist with these costs. Have you adopted a greyhound? Tell us about your pet and in the comments below.

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1 Comments
Comments
by
‎04-26-2016 06:02 PM
I'm glad you took the time to share your inspirational story and provide information about Greyhounds. (And, be assured that your blog is being read and may very well result in increased Greyhound adoptions!)

Before I became aware of the apparent rampant mistreatment/abuse of the Greyhounds, I used to love going to Wheeling Downs (a day trip that I typically could enjoy without being the chauffeur ). Decades later, progress has been made, but it seems like most people are still unaware of the breed's plight and don't know characteristics of the Greyhound beyond knowing they are "fast runners".

So, it is now the 21st Century and Greyhounds need to be mainstreamed and people's attitudes altered to fit reality.

I think "two more" for you now (if you haven't already made the addition) is a great idea! Provided you have the resources and can meet/exceeds their needs, I say, "Go for it!"

Smiley Happy
I'm glad you took the time to share your inspirational story and provide information about Greyhounds. (And, be assured that your blog is being read and may very well result in increased Greyhound adoptions!)

Before I became aware of the apparent rampant mistreatment/abuse of the Greyhounds, I used to love going to Wheeling Downs (a day trip that I typically could enjoy without being the chauffeur ). Decades later, progress has been made, but it seems like most people are still unaware of the breed's plight and don't know characteristics of the Greyhound beyond knowing they are "fast runners".

So, it is now the 21st Century and Greyhounds need to be mainstreamed and people's attitudes altered to fit reality.

I think "two more" for you now (if you haven't already made the addition) is a great idea! Provided you have the resources and can meet/exceeds their needs, I say, "Go for it!"

Smiley Happy
Posted on Apr. 26, 2016
About the Author
  • Allison Rynne is a strategic integrated planning manager for Petco. As a San Diego native, Allison grew up swimming in the ocean and hiking through local canyons. Her love of nature led to a degree in evolutionary biology from UCSD (which is not particularly useful for marketing, but makes great cocktail chatter!). Allison enjoys spending time with her husband Chris and their three rescue greyhounds, Banyan, Luna and Alfie.
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