I was adopted by a retired racing greyhound named Zorro.
As a greyhound person, I am often asked two questions. The first question is something like “Wow, is that a greyhound?”. It’s hard to see a greyhound, with its graceful form and regal demeanor, and not want to know more.
The inquisitive probe deeper: “Why did you adopt a greyhound?”. The truth is, I didn’t really adopt a greyhound. A greyhound adopted me. This long-legged boy walked into my house as a foster dog and never left. Each time he looked at me his soulful eyes seemed to say “Can I keep you, please? Can this be my forever home?” And with each look it become increasingly clear that this long-legged boy was to become my lifetime friend. So, I failed at fostering, but excelled in greyhound love.
Though no one knows the numbers for sure, it is apparent that many greyhounds bred for racing never make it to the adoption groups that place them as pets. Some reports indicate that about 20,000 dogs a year may be killed or sold for medical research when they are no longer competitive at the track. If this happens to even one dog, it is a tragedy and a travesty.
Greyhounds make wonderful companions. Many people who have had the privilege of sharing their lives with greyhounds report that their lives will never be the same. They have never been touched by such beauty, grace, and dignity in a canine friend.
Greyhounds are typically quiet, gentle and sweet. They are often very good with other dogs, and some are even good with cats. They are NOT “hyper” and don’t require tons of exercise, which often comes as a surprise to people. Greyhounds, like all dogs, need to stretch their legs and minds with walks and exercise. But, once retired from the track, greyhounds TRULY are retired. The only race most retired racers strive to win is the race to the couch – and your heart.
Greyhounds do have some special needs. They must be fully welcomed in the house because they easily get too hot or cold. Plus, they thrive on human companionship so to adopt a greyhound is to make a commitment to be an attentive friend. And, they must ALWAYS be kept leashed unless they are in a confined area. When left to their own devices greyhounds do what Mother Nature and training have conditioned them to do – run like the wind and chase moving things – so greyhounds must be protected against their own drive and desire to run, chase, and run. But the greatest need of each and every greyhound is to be a welcomed member of a loving home.
Many people do not think of greyhounds when they consider which future dog will grace their hearts and home. Thanks to the energy and commitment of adoption groups, greyhounds do not typically show up in the classified ads of newspapers, or at shelters (though some do). However, out there right now – in adoption kennels and volunteers’ homes throughout the country – are thousands of greyhounds waiting for their forever homes, waiting for a second chance at life, waiting to look up at you, with deep soulful eyes that ask “Can I keep you, please? Will you provide my forever home?”
If you think a greyhound might be right for you, and you right for a greyhound, please contact an adoption group. Different adoption groups have different procedures, though all are dedicated to helping these majestic dogs find permanent, loving homes.
This photo is of Beauty, Claudia Presto’s dog. Claudia has made the adoption of retired racing greyhounds her life’s work. Her organization,the Greyhound Gang, is dedicated to raising awareness about these wonderful dogs and she works tirelessly on their behalf. I took this photo while visiting Claudia and the Gang at their home in southern Utah. I am very proud of it because it allowed me, in a small way, to further contribute to greyhound awareness and adoption. For several years it was available, in postcard form, through Claudia’s phenomenal website and at Carpe Canem.
Here are some important greyhound links:
Information About Greyhounds &
Links to Adoption Groups Nationwide
California Greyhound Adoption
There are many more adoption groups in California, but these are two with which I am familiar.