River + Fir

Retired Racers

I have been blessed to find greyhounds. Truly blessed. They are a very special dog and although they are not perfect for everyone or for every lifestyle, they are perfect for me.

Both of my dogs were racers. One of them embraced retirement with zeal, the other one is still easing into it (a year and a half later). When they come off the track, greyhounds are little aliens – everything is new – everything – kids, cars, garbage trucks, elevators, stairs, windows, the sea lions on the mooring. My two are cat tolerant, but some greyhounds are not and never will be able to live with small animals. That’s where the adoption groups come in – they get to know the dogs so they can find them the right home.

My adoption group fosters dogs, which was important to me as a single woman who worked full time and had never had a dog before so I needed the new dog to know what stairs were. I never really liked black greyhounds, so when “he’s the sweetest black dog ever” was uttered, I almost panicked. I gave it a chance, and I am now the poster child for let the agency pick the dog that’s right for you and not the other way around. Gilbert was the perfect fit to my life, is the sweetest boy, has white toes and the sweetest grey sneaking into his face. My Savannah came a year later, and I don’t think Gilbert has ever been happier. She had been scheduled to race that night, but her owner pulled her and put her on the truck to go across the country. She is a lucky girlie, and I am lucky to have her in my life.

Like I said, greyhounds are not for everyone, but for those of us who have them, they are amazingly special and we wouldn’t have them any other way. If you’re interested in learning more about retired racers, check out Adopt a Greyhound or search for a local adoption group. These folks are doing great work all across the country moving dogs into their retirement. If you’re into real books – and for what I have continued to find vitally helpful in my life with greys – read Adopting the Racing Greyhound by Cynthia A. Branigan and Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies by Lee Livingood. Branigan also wrote The Reign of the Greyhound – about the history of greys which is wonderfully informative.

If you’re looking for a dog – and greys aren’t your thing – give your local shelter a visit. They’ll help you find the right dog for your lifestyle. Just don’t be surprised if it’s the last one you would ever have chosen for yourself. Sometimes that’s the greatest gift.

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