Ex-Racing Greyhound Adoption – Follow Your Heart

[gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]It was one of those perfect summer afternoon’s when we pulled into the parking lot for Lollypop Farm.  The sky was a robin’s egg blue.  It was hot.  Not so hot that the dogs in the ex-pens scattered across the lawn of the animal shelter would be uncomfortable.

We’d been lured out because of a promotional event taking place over the weekend.  Volunteers with several breed specific rescue organizations would be available to talk to the public.  Having euthanized our beloved Great Dane only five months ago, we were still a bit numb, but willing to see if we could find another heart dog.

After spending some time inside the shelter, we ambled outside and started walking across the grounds.  Near the north side of the building,  at the edge of the grass and close to the pavement, I saw one ex-pen with a small table next to it.  There were scattered papers and some pamphlets on the table and an empty chair next to it.

I glanced down into the ex-pen and felt a jolt of recognition.  Curled into itself,  sleeping,  was one of the most gorgeous dogs I’d ever seen.  This dog looked like it was sculpted from marble so perfectly chiseled was its muscled, brindle body.

I was mesmirized.

As I held my breath and feasted my eyes, the dog opened it’s doe-shaped eyes, lowered it’s head and stretched his hind end into an easy, catlike motion that elongated his spine.  There he stood on all four, thin legs.  His huge soft-brown eyes looked into mine.  I felt myself settle into a calm state of certainty.  My heart whispered,  “You can do this.”

I picked up one of the brochures from the table and read:  Adopt an Ex-Racing Greyhound.   While my husband and I read about how the adoption process worked, the woman who owned the dog inside the ex-pen returned.  We talked briefly.  I pocketed the brochure and left with my husband and young son.

Those were early days for greyhound rescue.  It was 1991 and the internet was in its infancy.  Going online to do any kind of research about these dogs wasn’t possible.  Two days later, I picked up the brochure,  and called the telephone number listed on the back and left a message asking if someone could return my call.

Another three days passed before I heard back from anyone.   The woman I spoke with introduced herself as the Volunteer Director for the greyhound adoption program that covered almost all of western and central New York state.  Her name was Annie and we spoke for over an hour.

We talked about dogs we’d loved and lost.  She was no stranger to having had to euthanize dogs that left gaping holes in your heart and she understood when I explained that my family couldn’t bear to have another Great Dane.  But.  We liked large dogs and, if we met with her organization’s approval, we were interested in adopting a large, male, ex-racing greyhound.

Now it was her turn to ask questions.  Did we have cats?  Had we ever used a crate to introduce a dog into our home? Was our yard fenced?  Yes to the first two questions and No to the last one.  Our two cats were used to living with dogs.  We’d used a crate with our dane when he was a puppy.  We weren’t opposed to fencing our yard if  that was going to be the deal breaker for our getting a dog.  We weren’t concerned about the coat color of the dog as temperament and physical size topped our list for what we wanted.

That phone call qualified as our “home visit” as there weren’t any volunteers for this organization in our local area.  The woman we’d been talking with, Annie, lived two hours west of us.  She had heard enough during this one call to feel comfortable putting us on a list for getting a dog.

Now all we had to do was send her our vet’s recommendation and wait.



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