Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Calling All Artists and Craftspeople to Help the Greyhounds!

Our local adoption group, Greyhound Rescue and Rehab, is having their annual picnic in June. It's not all fun and games (well, it's SOME fun and games) but there is also an auction to raise money for the GRR medical fund.

If you can donate an item of artwork (photo, painting, sculpture) or craft (jewelry, clothing, household item or dog leashes or collars (martingale style), PLEASE email me at mvpublic at mac dot com) right away. It's a great way to do something generous for the hounds, but also a way to promote your work! There is going to be about 110 people at the picnic this year.

As for the fun and games, here's a recent picnic costume winner:

And here's a timely rerun of "Myths vs. Truths about Greyhounds"!

Myths vs. Truths about retired racing greyhounds:

MYTH: People who own racing greyhounds just keep them when their racing days are over.
TRUTH: When a racer is retired (anywhere between 18 months and 6 years of age), an adoption group will take the dog and find a home for it. No one knows the exact numbers, but in some parts of the country and at some tracks, dogs are still euthanized when they can no longer race. Thankfully more and more adoption groups are springing up every day.

MYTH: Greyhounds, since they were racers, need a lot of exercise.
TRUTH: Greyhounds, since they are retired, just want to lay on your couch. They don't need any more exercise than an average dog. During their working life they raced (for 30 seconds) every three or four days and slept in a crate for 16-20 hours a day in between. These guys were sprinters, not distance runners.

MYTH: Greyhound are high strung.
TRUTH: HAHAHAHAHAHA. Stop, yer killin' me.

MYTH: Since greyhounds are relatively large, purebred dogs, they must wind up with hip dysplasia and other genetic maladies and have relatively short lifespans.
TRUTH: Racing greyhounds are bred for health and performance, not for looks and "personality". They have a life expectancy of 12-14 years and do not suffer from the health issues that other pedigrees have. And they still have great personalities.

MYTH: Greyhounds were abused, so they must be skittish and spooky.
TRUTH: While we don't love greyhound racing, the abusers are in the minority. Practically speaking, you wouldn't abuse something that you are counting on for your livelihood. It would be more accurate to say that in racing, greyhounds are inventory. They are not pets while working, so they need to learn how to be the object of your affection. They are quick learners.

MYTH: Greyhounds cannot live with cats or other small animals.
TRUTH: This is true for some greyhounds, usually the ones who were excellent racers and have a high prey drive. However, many are retired early because they didn't care much about chasing the lure, and go on to live happily in homes with kitties and/or small dogs. Mine is not cat safe, but is fine with small dogs. The adoption group will tell you.

Other truths you may not know:
Greyhounds don't have a "dog smell".
Many dog-allergic people (like me) can live happily with greyhounds.
Because they are on a strict schedule at the track, many are very easy to housetrain.
They make great apartment dogs. They spend most of their time curled up in a little ball.
Most rarely bark. Some never bark. Mine only barks when he sees a dog who is not a greyhound. (He's a 'breedist". What can I say?)

And maybe the MOST important truth about greyhounds if you are considering adopting:

They can never, ever, EVER be trusted off-leash unless they are completely fenced in. They can see clearly up to 1/2 mile away, and if they spot something of interest (even a blowing paper bag), they will "lock on" and go for it, regardless of oncoming cars, trucks or trains. Oh, and electric fences don't work with greyhounds. If you don't believe me, put the collar on, get in your car and drive through the electric fence at 45mph. You'll be, oh, about a mile away before you feel the shock.
If you are serious about adopting, you will (or should) go through a pretty thorough screening. If the adoption doesn't work out, you don't give the dog away or bring it to a return it to the group. So, they like to be pretty certain that the dog will be right for you.

Bottom line: If you want an incredible companion, don't have the time or energy to raise a puppy, and would like what is basically a cat in a dog costume, then a retired racing greyhound may be the ticket!

If you can't adopt but want to help (adoption groups have to pay for all medical costs when a dog leaves the track, including neutering and dental work but sometimes repair of broken bones as well) click HERE and be sure to say that panthergirl sent you!