Greyhounds Make Great Pets

On Wednesday of this week, we had to make the agonizing decision to help our nearly twelve-year-old greyhound over the Rainbow Bridge. Chase had been my friend, confidante, walking partner, and “baby” since 2012. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in March, and we feel very thankful to have kept him until November while treating with prednisone. But as a retired racer, he also had arthritis and in the last few months, walking became painful for him, so we added gabapentin to the mix. Over the past few days, getting up and even climbing the single step into the house became a problem for him. His passing Wednesday was peaceful, and we know we did the right thing, but it doesn’t make looking at the empty space where he used to lay any easier.

18402593_10155176948479435_7341594012637963941_n

(Chase in his favorite spot)

Chase originally came from Daytona, Florida. He was birthed in a kennel known to produce top-notch dogs. He was a winner, a talented racer, and raced until mandatory retirement age at four and a half when he sustained an injury. We proudly took him home a few months later when his original family returned him because of financial troubles.

A couple of weeks ago, Florida voted to abolish greyhound racing and close their remaining tracks. Although well-intentioned in their desire to protect greyhounds from abuse, Floridians may face another issue in the aftermath of this decision. Only seventeen tracks remain in the US, and Florida has eleven of them. This is meant to be a gradual phasing out of the sport to be completed by 2020.

But as a volunteer with a local greyhound adoption group, I worry for the fate of these dogs. This decision presents a huge problem to the greyhound community at large. What is to be done with all of the retired racers? Thousands of them will soon need homes. According to the Orlando Sentinel, there are an estimated 8,000 dogs currently on the tracks, and some 7,000 puppies in breeding facilities. Some kennels have vowed to stay open until the bitter end, but many will close down immediately. These people will have lost a portion if not all of their livelihood and caring for the dogs will be too expensive. They will need to get rid of the dogs right away.

It should be noted that although greyhounds may have historically been abused (and no doubt still are in some cases), many kennels truly love their dogs and treat them well. Chase was never abused, and he came to us a confident dog who still loved to run (and we tried to find opportunities for him to do so when possible).

dog-3682139_1280

(Greyhounds in motion are mesmerizing)

Regardless of which side of the issue you stand on, if you’ve ever thought about adopting a retired racer, this is a great time to do it. Greyhounds make wonderful pets. Docile and eager to please, they are not barkers; they are calm, gentle, and emotional. Most do not have a high prey drive (although some do, so they must be tested with other small household pets to make sure they’re suitably homed). People used to ask me all the time if we had to exercise Chase constantly. No. Greyhounds are couch potatoes. They may do 45 miles per hour on the track, but they sleep 18-20 hours a day on a comfy cushion. They love walks, but they need nowhere near the amount of exercise that a golden retriever or a labrador requires. They may weigh in at 50-75 pounds, but they make good apartment dogs and are happy to be anywhere you are (our adoption group leader likes to say, “they’re stackable”). It’s very easy to have more than one grey. I should also mention that Chase never had an accident in our house until he got sick. They are well-mannered, clean, and regal.

Obviously, I’m partial, but I’d like to see all of the dogs get into good homes.

Most states have greyhound adoption groups, but I can also recommend The Sighthound Underground (SHUG). They operate all over the US and rescue and rehome all sighthounds, including retired racers, Spanish greyhounds known as galgos (rescued from deplorable conditions in Spain), Italian greyhounds, podencos, Afghan hounds, Salukis, Borzoi, and mixes of all of the above.

Please feel free to comment with your questions about what it’s like to live with one (or more) of these awesome dogs. I could talk about greyhounds all day long.

For a general greyhound-as-pets site, check out Greyhound Pets of America.

5 thoughts on “Greyhounds Make Great Pets”

    1. Lol! Some of them can get along with chickens, Lisa. Although they really cannot be let off a lead when outside in an unfenced area as sight hounds will take off after anything they see. They are definitely indoor dogs. 😁

      Like

  1. My name is Hector Cruz, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and currently live in Puerto Rico. I am an avid Marathon runner and I currently own a two-year old female Whippet from a very reputable breeder in Mississippi. I flew to New Orleans, rented a car, drove over five hours in the midst of a snowstorm in December 2017 right after Hurricane Maria, stayed overnight and flew back at 6am the next morning.

    The below summarizes my specific personal experience attempting to adopt a Spanish Galgo through The Sighthound Underground Incorporated (SHUG) after filling an application form and paying the required fee:

    1. Got a call and was interviewed for 30 minutes by one volunteer who also called my references and Vet. After a few days got an email from her stating that my application checked out, that she was passing my application to the SHUG’s Director, she stated how “so excited she was about this adoption” and expressed that she wished that I let her know which dog I ultimately brought home.

    2. Got email to set date and time of final interview with Director which I did for Monday Jan. 20, 2020 @ 7pm EST. On that day and time, waited for 20 minutes after 7pm, wrote email to Director to re-check time and got her call by 7:25pm.

    3. During a 10-minute interview, while browsing through my application, I was asked if I lived in Puerto Rico, was told about reduction of flights to Puerto Rico (not true) and requirements to ship dogs on their own (I have earlier stated clearly my intention to personally fly and pick the dog up directly from foster home in Virginia or elsewhere). I was told the airlines that SHUG uses, was asked about recovery after the hurricane 2 years back and was told that I was not a fit for adopting a dog.

    4. Upon questioning, I was told that I was not a fit because Puerto Rico was too far and had the dog needed to be returned, that it was going to be a problem. I further probed to see if this decision was due to flight logistics (as there is a United direct flight to IAD) and was told that SHUG has sent dogs to Alaska. Ok, so then upon further asking, a different reason came up and this time I was told that she felt I was not committed to the dog. Ms. Michael Owens wished me a good evening and hung up the phone.

    5. My only expectation here was finishing this adoption process by talking to an organized professional (on time), someone prepared, (ready to further elaborate on existing gathered info and not ”browsing on the go”), someone holding an unbiased fact-finding conversation asking the right questions (not getting bogged down with “Puerto Rico”) and someone being transparent (offering the true reasons behind a final decision, in this case, not being a fit to adopt). If that had led to a successful adoption, that was only my wish, not my expectation. You’d be the judge, what would happen if many potential adopters go through a similar experience like this? I have explored the SHUG’s website many times and don ‘t need a lecture on costs and expenses incurred in these animals. I only hope my own experience described here is an outlier.

    6. I am indeed very sorry that I have wasted a volunteer’s valuable time when she could’ve been more productive reaching out to more capable US-based American adopters located elsewhere…. but from my part, rest assured that I felt I met a wonderful person in this volunteer who first interacted with me and a great charity Organization whose mission I still firmly believe in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hector, I’m sorry your experience was such a bad one. I do think it’s unusual to SHUG, but I understand your frustration. I only volunteer with them and have adopted two dogs through the organization, but I do know the owner, and I know her number one priority is that the dogs are placed in the right homes. It sounds like you have a love for sighthounds and have given a wonderful home to a Whippet (great dogs!) I’m sorry for the bad experience, but I’m glad you met a friend through the application process.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s