Bloodstains On The Looking Glass

A ribald old-timey revue, featuring the Scots Flying Monkey Battalion and Shakey Pervy Pete, the Inelegant Dinner Guest.

Friday, March 03, 2006

You Need A Pet

...and it needs to be a greyhound.

I'd been seeing them for years outside Wal-marts and pet stores. Little doggy fenced-in-areas run by dreadfully serious people, talking about rescuing these greyhounds; little concentration camp victims by the look of them (even the healthiest greys are painfully thin). Apparently they don't get treated well by their trainers during their first four or five years, when they can be competitive racers. So sad, but not interested, thank you.

Then, on my husband's birthday (he LOVES dogs) we walked yet again by another of these little impromptu dog selling stands, and this one big goofy guy named BUD grabbed his attention. My husband stopped to pet the dog (because that's just good karma) and Bud instantly loved him, and wow. The lady in charge of the operation, a very funny woman from England, gave a bit of the shpiel, and kept telling Scott to take the dog for a walk, which she rightly knew would hook him completely, so Scott said no.

He came and told me about the dog, but he knew I wouldn't go for it. The dog we have (a sheltie) is great, but very very standoffish with other dogs, and we didn't think he'd take it well. Add in that it rains a lot here so walking a dog isn't always possible, and it seemed very unlikely. Oddly, I don't know why, I insisted on at least SEEING the dog (white and brindle, with eyes that melt your soul!), when Scott had the common sense to try to avoid seeing him again.

In the end, I was the one who took Bud for a walk. Greyhounds are massively powerful runners, they can go from zero to 45 mph in a couple seconds, but Bud was so happy to go for a walk, and when I reached down to look at him, he gave me this huge lick on the face. TOTAL LOVE.

We talked with the lady a little bit. Turns out you can't just take the dog--they have to come to your house and see how he'd live. And she didn't want to talk much about the racing, for good reason we'd find out later.

Anyway, long story short, we waited the week and then did the little home visit, and both Bud and the lady cried when she left. But Bud, who we renamed 'Scuro (short for Chiaroscuro), quickly found the bed we'd bought him, and played with the toys. And surprisingly, our other dog, Static (named after the comics character), didn't get too upset. Nervous maybe, but not angry.

Over the next couple days, Scuro absolutely made himself at home. And he's become such a part of the family already. He adores attention, loves to cuddle (if you lay on the floor he spoons right up, it's hilarious), loves to go for walks...he's just a huge bundle of love. Greyhounds sleep most of the day and'll never have a lazier dog, but when they run, holy crap they're fast!

We did a little bit of research on racers, and...ugh, it's bad. Many many of the dogs are simply shot in the head once they are no longer competitive. They're fed the worst food imaginable, what's called 4d meat, that comes from, I kid you not, diseased and infected animals. It's so bad, they can't even use it in regular dog food. They're not taken care of at all except to train as racers part of the day, and they spend up to 23 hours a day in small metal crates with thin cardboard or carpet to lay on. They frequently get injured during races and are not cared for. They often get sick or die, and are simply replaced. There's more, but you get the idea.

How does a dog come through a puppyhood like that and still be such a wonderful, happy, loving dog? I don't know, but they do. I've never talked with a greyhound owner who didn't absolutely adore his/her dog. It's an interesting thing, but when these dogs DO get rescued, and go to a nice home, they go through a little bit of the puppyhood they missed out on. You can see puppy behavior, and it takes them a few days to learn house manners, but they do learn FAST, and I cannot tell you how rewarding it is to have such a beautiful, loving animal in your home.

If you're thinking it might be hard having a traumatized animal in your house, let me allay that fear. That's just not how it is. These dogs are grateful, happy, non-cringing dogs. They fricking ADORE you and let you know all day long. They love milk-bones, walks, playing in the yard, toys, and just laying at your feet. I'd have to say, Scuro is one of the most loving, fun, joyful dogs I've ever met. The ONLY evidence we have that he had bad times is that he seems to have a lot of bad dreams, but we put a hand on his head or belly and he calms instantly. Other than that, he's simply a big hilarious goobe. He lays on his back with all four long legs in the air and his tongue out one side of his mouth, and he's impossible not to love.

All I'm saying is, think about it. There's probably a greyhound rescue op near you already. You'll be doing a good thing, yes, but you'll be repaid a million times over. You will LOVE this dog.

Just saying.



  • At 5:40 PM, Blogger Keyam63 said…

    I have a cat that traumatises me occasionally.

    Yes, I love the little bugger.

  • At 9:50 AM, Blogger rooboy666 said…

    I would just like to second getting a dog at a rescue. Both of my boxers are rescue dogs and they are both the sweetest things.

    My boy boxer will also snuggle right up to you, no matter where you're laying.

  • At 5:06 PM, Blogger Scipio said…


    Thank you for rescuing and for spreading the word about its joys. As a "dog professional", I hear stories that break my heart daily about the number of unwanted dogs that suffer while people gobble up puppies like emotional potato chips.

    So it's good to hear the successes!

  • At 5:38 AM, Blogger Paul D said…

    Hi Gail,

    My wife and I have three greyhounds: Sammy, Mouse and Prince. They are a few of the sweetest dogs ever. I always enjoy hearing other folk's stories about how they first adopted one of these great dogs.

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  • At 2:09 PM, Blogger cattrax99 said…

    I commend you on rescuing your little bundle of joy. I've had both rescues and purebred pups over the years but the rescues were always closest to my heart. My dog of choice though is the mastiff and I have all kinds of tips and inforamtion on them at my site if you'd like to take a look. Thanks for your blog. Barb

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