Yes, I own a racing Greyhound and no she isn’t a rescue

Am I the only Greyhound owner who gets annoyed when asked if my Greyhound was rescued?  It really gets under my skin and it seems to happen far too often.  The other day we were buying dog food and I was asked if my Greyhound was “rescued.”  I was in a particularly rotten mood and my husband elbowed me as to say “please do not unleash your bad mood on this poor kid.”  I put my bad mood aside and replied, “No, they were not rescued and yes they are racing Greyhounds.”  The kid looked perplexed but continued to bag our goods and not ask for more clarification.

I feel continually frustrated about the misinformation that makes its way into the mainstream.  It seems like the anti-racing (AR) propaganda penetrates so deeply that it has affected many people, even people who own Greyhounds.

This past week I read two articles in two different papers in North America stating complete inaccuracies about Greyhound racing and the lives of racing Greyhounds.  By no means am I saying there are no failings in the Greyhound racing industry and that it is perfect.  However, I feel that the vast majority of people working in the Greyhound racing industry love Greyhounds and respect the breed for what it is: a functional, fast, exceptional hound.

If you are into Greyhound adoption and have not visited a track, you’re missing out.  I am lucky to be a part of a Greyhound Adoption group that arranges yearly visits to racing kennels and tracks encouraging adopters to see what life was like for their Greyhound before adoption.

It is important to be thoughtful about our opinions, and knowing the details of both sides is important to understand the entirety of a subject.   Unfortunately, it seems that most of the AR supporters cannot see past outdated reports of abuse and neglect to see the positive changes in Greyhound racing today. It oftentimes seems overwhelming to educate the general public and some Greyhound enthusiasts that racing Greyhounds are loved, well exercised, well fed and happy in their professional careers.

There are certain ideas created and propagated by the AR machine about retired racing Greyhounds that have invaded mainstream Greyhound adoption.  One idea is that skittish dogs were abused throughout their professional careers.  This idea is complete rubbish.  First off, by now we all know that negative training is not successful.  Why would someone spend thousands of dollars on a dog that could create revenue and abuse it, thus diminishing their chances of success? Complete insanity.  Furthermore, dogs have different personalities just like us.  I have raised a fair number of terrier pups and for the most part they are fearless dogs, but I have seen dogs be gun shy or timid with no external cause for them to demonstrate that behavior.  Skittish Greyhounds are most likely that way do to nature not nurture.

Another idea that makes me nuts is the raw meat myth.  Feeding raw meat is not a bad thing!  Dogs are predators and they are made to eat raw meat.  Now, let’s talk about non-human grade meat.  The labeling of meat is not just based on the quality of the product but also the facility it is made it.  Lots meat packing facilities have quality products but have not obtained certification from the USDA to mark their product as “human grade.”  Most pet foods are not made for human consumption, as the regulations and certification for this labeling would be very expensive, increasing the cost of pet food.  It’s just not a logical business move. Thus, the non-human grade meat myth should be a moot point from now on.

Opinions and facts are not the same; however, opinions create gut responses and bias.  When dredging through the misinformation about Greyhound racing it is important to push our bias aside and get at the truth.  I support Greyhound racing for many reasons and as I have seen and learned more about the industry my support grows.  I hope that this article encourages you to reinvestigate your feelings about Greyhound racing immersing yourself in facts and not opinions.




23 Replies to “Yes, I own a racing Greyhound and no she isn’t a rescue”

  1. Calli, I just love your blog! I was visiting Dr. Radcliffe with my greyhound, Whiskey, in Wheeling WV (greyhound vet and a greyhound track). The hotel clerk asked me if he was rescued. I said no that he was a "special" type of greyhound who's parentage came from England (clerk was impressed). Then she said, "Isn't it awful how they make those track dogs run?" I laughed and told her you can't make them NOT run. Suggested she visit the track and watch the dogs run. The same visit, a patron at the vet's told me that she heard that if a greyhound is cornered, they will fight to the death; she couldn't remember where she heard this. I told her, like all dogs, a greyhound will fight when attacked, but usually only to get away. They run a lot better than they fight.

  2. My standard opening to the "rescued?" question is along the lines of: I don't like the word rescue, as it implies that they were in a certain degree of danger, which just isn't true. Not in today's world. I prefer adopted, and retired. Greyhounds run because they have been bred to do so, they love to run. They run best when happy and healthy, and that is how active racers are kept.

    And depending on the interest level of the poor soul that asked, I could go on and on.

  3. I had 2 greyhounds that were retired off the track and I adopted them through an adoption group that worked with great breeders in KS.
    Pinky 1994-2005
    My 2nd one became my Service Dog. Drew 1995 to 2009
    My 3rd was a feral thought to be a failed coyote dog.

  4. Calli, Bravo!!! Finally a positive write up on the greys that we love and adore! If you're ever in Iowa, stop by and see my farm….lots of puppies here, any age from just born to mommas, too. All greyhounds! Melissa

  5. "Why would someone spend thousands of dollars on a dog that could create revenue and abuse it?"
    Well, you might as well ask why a slave owner would abuse his slaves, who work to make him rich.

  6. After adopting my greyhound, I took him back to the Birmingham(Alabama) track to board him while I was gone. As soon as I drove in there and got him out, it was as if I was racing the Iditarod in Alaska! He nearly pulled me all the way to the adoption door while beating me with his wagging tail the whole time. He greeted everybody with a full body greyhound hug (paws on their shoulders). He was so happy there that he could have cared less that I was leaving. Yes, that was a little hurtful, I'm not gonna lie. But I was happy that he was so comfortable there. He loves every single one of the staff there.
    When I went back to pick him up, he walked into the room, tail still wagging and happy, looked at me like "oh, your here……whatever". Needless to say………he is definitely NOT being abused in any way.
    One time I opened my hatchback at the racetrack and before he had his leash secured he lept out and ran ( tail wagging again) from the parking lot right to their door. He looked like a shopper pacing at the door of their favorite store waiting for it to open!! "Open, open, open"

  7. My Greyhound is a certified Therapy Dog. We visit a particular nursing home often. Just this week a visitor there asked me if my dog was a rescue. I gave my standard answer, "No… she rescued me."

  8. I've had several, starting back in the 70's when a coworker at the TV station introduced me to the hounds (he raised them for the track) – and found a woman that had lost her licenses due to some fraud.. and had 35 dogs to get adopted quickly. I've seen the facilities at the tracks. Derby Lane? Hot tubs, air conditioning and so on.. If they were not happy, they would not run well. They keep the dogs happy! My current dog failed the prey drive test, so I got her as a 1 1/2 year old. Not retired like my second one.. but a great dog none the less. She loves being around ALL greyhounds… Bill Blomgren

  9. I answer back: "Rescued? That sounds so dramatic…like I broke into the kennel at midnight and squirreled him out. She's a retired professional athlete that i was lucky enough to adopt."

  10. New adopters are "warned" about this if they choose to board with us.
    It is a very common site to see greys do this.
    The first time they come back to camp we hear " I thought you were kidding!"

    For the hounds it really is like coming home in a way. Even the ones who have been long adopted remember the routines and sounds of the racing life.

    I've had an 11 year old senior start jumping and acting like he's 2 again as soon as he heard the whine of the lure.
    I had to grab his lead when this gentle old grey almost pulled his owner off her feet because he wanted to chase the lure.

    Clay Partain
    Assistant Director of Adoptions
    Alabama Greyhound Rescue and Adoption Center

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