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Some Background about Reitred Greyhounds
The greyhounds we place are generally retired, trained athletes. Although we may very infrequently have greyhound puppies or dogs that have never been trained for the track, these are much more the exception than the rule.

Greyhounds are generally bred by professional breeders who look for speed, endurance and even temperament. Most are bred on "farms", usually in the Mid-West, where the breeders pay close attention to the physical soundness and emotional disposition of the puppies. As a result, hereditary physical and temperament problems have been largely avoided in the breed. For the first year of their lives greyhound puppies are handled frequently by walkers and others associated with the breeding "farm", but they are not exposed to other breeds of dogs. Consequently, they are surprisingly socialized to people and completely unfamiliar with other breeds of dog. Sometime between 4 and eighteen months, they generally are placed in individual crates where they spend most of their time between exercise periods and training. The crate becomes the dog's private, safe space where they cannot be bothered by other dogs. Generally, greyhounds are not abused or mistreated, although their handling is straight forward and utilitarian. They do not get anything in the way of attention or handling that is not needed as a part of their training for the track.

Official Greyhound Color Chart
 
Greyhounds as Pets
When you bring a greyhound into your life, you begin a journey - a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage.

If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life, about yourself, and most of all, about love. You will come away changed forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its mark. Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life’s simple pleasures -jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of puddles, and even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears. If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly experience every element, for no rock, leaf, or Jog will go unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable information. Your pace may be slower - except when heading home to the food dish - but you will become a better naturalist, having been taught by an expert in the field.

Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the details - the colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig. Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world. We stop; we browse the landscape, we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows: that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing wonders, each day an essence all its own.

Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world around you. You will find yourself watching summer insects collecting on a screen. (How bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!), or noting the flick and flash of fireflies through the dark. You will stop to observe the swirling dance of windblown leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life’s most important details slip by. You will find yourself doing silly things that your dog-less friends might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the pet store aisle looking for the dog food brand your greyhound must have, buying dog birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time because your greyhound enjoys the ride. You will roll in the snow, wrestle with chewy toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross, and even run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie - with a greyhound in hot pursuit - all in the name of love. You may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that old plastic shopping bags are conveniently positioned by every house entrance for pick-up duty in the yard.

You will learn the true measure of love - the steadfast, undying kind that says, “It doesn’t matter where we are or what we do, or how life treats us as long as we are together.” Respect this always. It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another. You will not find it often among the human race. And you will learn humility. The look in my greyhound’s eyes often made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and dismissed them as mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to love me anyway.

If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you will be not just a better person, but the person your greyhound always knew you to be - the one they were proud to call beloved friend. I must caution you that this journey is not without pain. Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day your dear greyhound companion will follow a trail you cannot yet go down. And you wilt have to find the strength and love to let them go. A pet’s time on earth is far too short - especially for those that love them. We borrow them, really, just for a while, and during these brief years they are generous enough to give us all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left. The greyhound that only yesterday was a racer is all too soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun, waking up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew that this journey would end. We knew that if we gave our hearts they would be broken. But give them we must, for it is all they ask in return. When the time comes, and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one final gift and let them run on ahead - young and whole once more. “Godspeed, good friend,” we say, until our journey comes full circle and our paths cross again. ~Author Unknown
 
5,000 YEARS -- FOR A SINGLE PURPOSE
From Greyhound Club of Canada
newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 1.
February, 1996
©Stuart McLean

Imagine a dog, a regular dog, in fact: imagine a mutt. Imagine this mutt is a very happy go lucky, average sized male who possesses instincts and traits handed down to him by ten different breeds of his family tree. He has a good temperament, our imaginary mutt: he is friend to both animal and man. His behaviour is generally good: he comes when he's called.

When out for a walk with this mutt, or a game of chase-the-ball his behaviour is predictable and safe. If you're out at the park with the mutt and you lose sight of him, there is no need for worry. One shrill whistle will bring him running back to you from behind whatever tree or bush he was investigating.

The point is this: he's safe. He's safe because we know what makes him tick, we know what he will do, and when he will do it. He shares the common behaviours and physical limitations of almost every dog you have ever seen throughout your whole life; you know exactly what to expect from him.

Now, just for fun, let's do some genetic engineering to this imaginary mutt. The first thing we'll change is his personality; alter his patterns of thought and reactions with instinctive behaviours that most dogs do not have. From now on, imagine our mutt has the uncanny ability to perform hunting tasks. Then again, almost all dogs have hunting ability, don't they? Well, let's enhance our mutt's abilities beyond those of most dogs. Let's imagine our mutt enjoys the benefit of, oh, let's say five thousand years of single purpose breeding; the purpose being pursuit and capture. Hunting.

Let's change him even further. Let's give this mutt the physical enhancements he would need to fully exploit his new instincts. First, we'll change his vision, giving him larger eyes so that he can spot his prey even if it's a kilometre away. We'll make his vision sharp and clear so that he can tirelessly scan the horizon, looking for targets.

Now, in order for our mutt to be able to catch what he spots so far away, we'll give him great speed. Imagine that we can re-create his heart and lungs to be larger and stronger, and alter his skeletal frame and musculature to be more efficient, powerful, aerodynamic. With this new body design, our newly enhanced mutt can go from a standstill to sixty kilometres-per-hour in about three seconds. We will also add to his great speed the power of agility, giving him the ability to corner and change directions at high speed, so he can easily capture what he chases.

Let's summarize our changes. Our mutt has single mindedness now, and determination to hunt; he possesses instinct centuries old. Our mutt also has the physical ability to back up this powerful instinct; he can hold his own with the fastest land animals in the world, and he can spot prey with the proficiency of an eagle.

What else does he need? What other changes should we make to this mutt to compliment intelligence for the chase. Imagine that this mutt has the instinctive intelligence to go around fences, bushes, walls and buildings to catch what he sees. He no longer just stops and barks like a fool when something comes between him and his target.

Finally, there is one last change we should give our imaginary canine creation. He should have the power of camouflage. He will possess a calm demeanour and a tranquil, loving attitude. It will not be obvious that he has such great powers.

Wow! We've imagined quite a super dog! All he needs is a name. Maybe "Feline Terminatorus"? Or "Squirrel's Nightmarous"? Then again, in keeping with his personality, something low key would be more appropriate; let's just call him "Greyhound."

Now -- when you take this re-created animal out to run and play, will you forget his new abilities? Will you allow his powers of calm tranquillity to lull you into believing he's just a dog?

Will you let him off the lead in an area that's unfamiliar to both of you, or unsafe? An area where the sight of another dog, car, bird, squirrel or white piece of floating trash could send him streaking at sixty kilometres an hour across a traffic-filled road? He would appear out of nowhere, instantly; a driver would have no chance to even attempt to hit the brake. Will you expect this "Greyhound" to stop, or come to you, when he can't hear you calling out over the thunder of his own legs striking the ground in full sprint? Would you expect him to respond to your panicky shouts when the only thing he can hear is his huge heart pounding, the panting of his own breath, and the relentless howl of centuries of instinct?

Your answer should be "no." A Greyhound is a specialized animal possessing physical ability and instincts beyond normal dogs. A responsible owner must never forget that. The "mutt" in this article is a metaphor; our final imaginary product, the Greyhound, is real. You own one, and I own one.

My adopted Greyhound is Voodoo. Voodoo is without doubt the best friend I have ever had. I love him, and I know him very well.

I know that he doesn't understand that a car (his second greatest love in the world) can kill him. I know that if I let him off the lead to run (his first love) in an unsafe or unfamiliar park of meadow, he could be a kilometre away and totally lost in less than a minute, and never hear me calling. I know that even though he hasn't shown aggression toward, or a desire to chase a "Whizmo" look-alike for over 8 months--he could at any time. After all, he's from the track, his programming is to pursue and capture.

I love this breed and I love Voodoo. It's because of this love that when I am out with Voodoo, I never take my eyes off him. I never let him run free unless I have carefully scouted the park in advance and know everything in it and around it; I also learn the safest, best time to go there.

As adopters, we all know these rules, and have been warned by our adoption representatives. Did you pay close attention? Do you understand fully what this wonderful breed is physically capable of?

To all the new adopters, I would like to say: listen to the advice! Bond with your dog -- know your dog. Don't be in a rush to watch him run for the first time. I know it's tempting to just unhook them and watch them fly! Please don't throw caution to the wind.

To all the long term adopters, I would like to ask: Has your friend's power of tranquillity ever lulled you? Love them, enjoy them; don't risk them. Please.
 
 
Forever Home Greyhound Adoptions is Dedicated to finding Loving Permanent Homes for Retired Racing Greyhounds, Built On A Foundation of "FOREVER"
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