One of my best friends just adopted her third ex-racing greyhound. Her immediate problem was that he didn’t know how to go up and down stairs. For most ex-racing greyhounds right off the track, this is their biggest challenge. Once, they figure this out, they fall easily into household routines.
“Did I want to come over to meet him?” she asked.
I grabbed my camera and slipped out the front door.
From what I can tell (and I’ve been out of the greyhound business for many years), the adoption activity may have slowed down, but not the reasons for why people continue to love them.
So, for those of you who wonder why that is, here’s my “best of list” for why greyhounds make such great pets.
1. There is no such thing as an ugly greyhound.
Seriously. If deep, soulful eyes and a sleek physic are your idea of dog bliss, one of these might be the right dog for you.
2. Forget the trials and tribulations of puppies.
No doubt, puppies are beyond cute. But they are not house broken.
3. Greyhounds are natural heelers.
No dog can be that easy but, for the most part, ex-racing greyhounds are wonderful walking companions. Their tendency is to stay close to your hip. Imagine a dolphin slicing through a low-slung wave – no wasted motion.
4. Want a barker? Not this dog.
For the most part, greyhounds are pretty quiet, more cat-like than dog-like in their overall demeanor.
5. Greyhounds make their owners look good.
Adult greyhounds are what’s called “easy keepers.” It’s almost impossible for you to look bad because of that. For first-time dog owners, this is amazing. For seasoned adoption volunteers, it can be a nightmare because those newbie dog owners assume that every other dog in the world is like their greyhound.
6. One greyhound can easily turn into two. Or three. Or ….
Repeat after me: “Greyhounds are like potato chips. You can’t have just one.” If you hang out with dog lovers the world over, we all feel this way about whatever our breed of choice happens to be. But, it’s certainly true of greyhounds – they do well with their own kind.
7. Total strangers won’t hesitate to come up to you when you’re out walking with your greyhound.
You meet a lot of people (at least you did back in the day when 8 out of 10 people on the street had no idea what a greyhound was). You can still get drawn into conversations with all kinds of folks. These days, people you meet will tell you what kind of dog you have.
8. Prepare to be part of the local greyhound
There’s sure to be a community of ex-racing greyhound lovers that grew up around the various adoption groups in your area. They like to hang out and, the more adventuresome like to socialize on a grand scale.
If you’re close to the Finger Lakes region of New York, and you’re not doing anything else in July, the Grapehound Wine Tour is a fun event.
If you like the beach, there’s the annual meet up in Dewey Beach, Delaware.
9. Greyhounds will make you smile.
See? Easiest job in the world. They just live in each beautiful present moment. There’s a serenity that washes over them. Collectively, they are one of the most laid-back breed of dog I’ve ever come across.
Except for those flash-in-the-pan explosions of pure speed when they’re lazer-focused on a lure hugging the inside of a race track or zeroed in on a squirrel or rabbit. Or the neighbor’s cat. That’s if their prey drive is really high.
Speed merchants. Give them the right set of circumstances and they easily run 5/16th’s of a mile in less than 60 seconds. That alone is enough to make anybody smile.
10. They are canine fashion divas if their owners are so inclined.
Bet you didn’t know that there are all kinds of collars specifically for greyhounds? Coats, hats, neck warmers, necklaces, bow ties … A lot of these dogs walk in parades. A dog’s gotta do what a dog’s gotta do, am I right?
If you’ve never had an ex-racing greyhound and, you think you’d like to meet one or two … or three, you can contact the group that brought my friend’s dog, “Zeus” up from a race track in Florida. They call themselves Greyhound Adoption of Greater Rochester, NY. If they haven’t changed their home page, you can see one of the photos I took of Zeus on that day when I first met him. Or not.