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Kelsey rests in the sun. Photo by owner Anne Restino.
Have you adopted a retired racing Greyhound dog-or- would you like to? The newly formed Cape Cod Greyhound Meetup Group started by Anne Restino of Falmouth provides a great way for Greyhounds to bond with other Greyhounds and Greyhound owners to bond with other Greyhound owners while exercising and training their adopted dogs.
A recent group activity was agility training at the Dog Paddle in Bourne which gave the dogs and their owners a good workout.
Meetups are often just a walk or a hike and, of course, lots of support from others who are experiencing the mutual euphoria of Greyhound adoption.
The Greyhound breed has an amazing history depicted in works of art as far back as early Egypt where the God Anubis was reputedly modeled after a Greyhound. Carvings of the Greyhound were found in tombs in Egypt dating back to 2900 B.C. In a four minute video narrated by Gary Tinterow, Head of the Department of Nineteenth Century Modern Art and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Mr. Tinterow gives an erudite homage to the breed based on his personal twenty-year ownership of Greyhounds and he illustrates it with art masterpieces that feature the dogs. He also explains the physical attributes of the breed which make them the fastest dogs (clocked at forty-three miles per hour) as well as the sleek, thin body giving them a look of haute couture.
Their speed and instinctive desire to chase places them in the category of sporting dogs. In fact, they were and still are used for a form of hunting called “coursing” where sight hounds, not scent hounds are set loose in fields and when they see small prey such as hares they run after them until the prey is exhausted. These events frequently involved wagers. In the 1800s Greyhounds were brought to North America to control the jackrabbit population which was destroying valuable crops. Competitive racing followed and became popular, especially after the invention of a mechanical lure which allowed the dogs to run on tracks.
The Greyhound racing industry has been in decline with many states banning it as Massachusetts did several years ago. Part of the decline is attributable to animal rights groups which have serious concerns over the well-being of the Greyhound racers and in part due to the coupling of dog racing where poker or slots are more attractive and a quicker thrill for gamblers. Dogs usually race twice a week and may race up to six times a day. They wear protective muzzles to prevent them from accidently hurting themselves or one another. Racing careers last from two to six years. Then the dogs are retired and become adoptable through Greyhound rescue agencies.
Those who adopt greyhounds become a part of a unique group of dog owners that run the gamut from royalty to cartoon rascals. Some of the famous owners and appreciators of Greyhounds include Alexander the Great whose Grey's name was Peritas; Prince Albert & Queen Victoria whose Grey's name was EOS; Sir Walter Scott whose Greys' names were Percy & Hamlet; General George Custer whose Greys’ names were Byron & Blucher; JK Rawlings whose Grey's name is Sapphire; Rutherford B. Hayes whose Grey's name was Grim. Finally, Bart Simpson, famous cartoon rascal, goes to a dog track with his father, Homer, who wants to win enough money to buy Christmas gifts for the family. Instead, they lose money but take home a Greyhound abandoned at the track that is greeted as a gift by the rest of the family. Thus the name of the dog is “Santa’s Little Helper”.
Once adopted, greyhound owners can look up their dogs racing and breeding history by reading the tattooed number on the inside of their ear.
Greyhound owners wax eloquent about the breed’s gentle nature, the fact that they rarely bark and that they are quick learners. If your interest has been peaked and you want to consider adopting a retired Greyhound, the adoption agencies go to great efforts to assure that you, your family and the Greyhound are a good match.
Once home, Greyhounds may experience stairs and other breeds of dogs for the first time and, of course, they have never lived in homes.
But according to Anne Restino they are easily trained, affectionate and as the owner of her second Greyhound, Kelsey, knows they make wonderful pets.
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