My boyfriend’s sister and her family lost their beautiful Greyhound, Howdy, yesterday. My heart is completely broken for them. He was a beautiful, sweet boy and they loved him beyond words. I wanted to do something to honor him.
A simple picture and condolences doesn’t feel like enough to commemorate the life of such a vivacious pooch. I thought about all the other Greyhounds out there who are still waiting for families like Sal’s sister’s. I think the best way to honor Howdy is to raise awareness about Greyhound adoption. Throughout the post, I’m sharing a few of my favorite pictures of Howdy that I took at various parties since Sal and I have been together.
Greyhound Adoption: Giving Retired Racers a First Chance at Life
When you adopt a retired racer greyhound, you’re really giving him or her a first chance at life. As I’m sure many of you know, Greyhounds are used as racing dogs. For the first few years of their lives, they spend days pent up in crates as they’re transported from track to track. Then they stand around waiting their turn to race, run like the wind for about 30 seconds and head back to their crate. When they can’t pull off top speeds during those 30 seconds anymore, they’re tossed aside, “retired.”
Not exactly humane. It’s actually illegal in 39 states. Hopefully someday it’ll be illegal in all 50. The Humane Society has great tips on helping end Greyhound Racing. In the mean time, though, there are thousands of dogs that need your help. Many of them have never (and will never) see a racetrack, since breeders constantly breed more than “needed” in an effort to create faster dogs.
Greyhound adoption gives these gorgeous dogs a chance to experience so many things for the first time. Things as simple as walking up stairs! Sal’s sister told me that Howdy was actually frightened of steps the first time he saw them! It also gives them a chance to know real human companionship for the first time, to understand what it means to be part of a family and not just a money maker. Greyhounds do get a little confused by firsts, but they adjust pretty quickly.
As with all dogs, Greyhounds have a few special needs. They have very short coats, so they get chilly pretty easy. I remember when I was talking to one of the volunteers from our local Greyhound rescue (Pocono Greyhound Adoption), she explained to me that if you’re wearing a coat, your greyhound should be wearing one too. They actually say that on their website, so it must be a pretty important rule! You’ll also need a vet that’s familiar with the former racers, because they tend be more sensitive to anesthesia.
A good greyhound rescue group will go over all the ins and outs of adopting before you even begin the process, so you’ll know if you’re a good fit and vice versa before you have your heart set on a particular dog. While I’m definitely encouraging you to consider adopting a greyhound, I also want you to make sure that it’s for keeps. Adoption should be forever.
Greyhound Adoption Resources
You’ll find many great greyhound adoption resources online and in your own area, depending on where you live. I’d talk to your vets and local animal shelters first to see if they can refer you to a local greyhound adoption organization. As I mentioned above, if you live in the Poconos, Pocono Greyhound Adoption is fantastic. You’ll find them at numerous events throughout the year showing off their fosters available for adoption. National resources include:
- Adopt A Greyhound: Use their “Agencies” tab (click ‘for adopters’) to locate agencies in your state or country. It does load a little slowly (for me, anyway), but I like it because you can find adoption resources just about anywhere in the world. They also have a ton of other resources, like articles, tips and a Celebrating Greyhounds magazine.
- National Greyhound Adoption Program: They have a great section on adoptable hounds, broken down by gender as well as the different types. They also have good articles with tips as well as an informative greyhound health section. Very user-friendly!
I also came across this great post on what to know before you adopt a greyhound. At first, I read the title and thought “well, hey, now, this sucks!” But then I read it. I suggest you do the same if you’re considering adopting a greyhound- or any dog for that matter! The writer starts with 10 reasons not to adopt, followed by 10 reasons to adopt.
If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, I hope you’ll consider adopting a retired racer. They have a lot of love to give and deserve a first chance at a real life.