Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oct 28, 2004: A special litter of greyhounds are born

Happy Birthday, boys!  Doe's Bruciebaby and Doe's Bumper were born on a Greyhound Farm in Rhode Island on this day 6 years ago.  

While this image was not from their farm, it typifies a greyhound run - picture rows and rows of these and they separate multiple litters from each other and they instinctively run after / chase each other up and down the runs all day long.  They are not raised as pets - they are raised as working animals, almost livestock.  They stay with their mothers longer than ANY pet breeder would allow (6-9 months) and this teaches them how to be true dogs - pack animals.  As a result, they are one of THE most socialized dogs out there and their communication amongst each other is amazing to watch.

Brucie is in the red silk on the far right

 I will dispel the single largest myth out there about greyhounds.  Everyone assumes because they are the fastest dogs on the planet, they need a ton of exercise and are hyper / rambunctious.  Well, nothing could be further from the truth.  As they are sprinters, when they are 'on', they're ON!.  But like a cheetah, they sprint and spend the rest of the day recovering from the effort.  In real life terms, they sleep 18 - 20 hours a day at home.

As triathletes, the athleticism of these dogs should really resonate with us.  The way they are trained is no different than the way we train.  Did you know:
- they're weight is monitored and tracked daily.
(They have an established racing weight and if they are ever +- 1.5 pounds, they aren't allowed to race).
- They are taught / learn how to navigate the pack on the track to get to the front.  They are allowed to draft, though, lol!
- They get lengthy training and build muscle most of their lives.
- They eat a special and monitored diet
- If they 'look' (it is seen as an aggressive trait) at another dog while racing, they'll get a penalty.  If they get 3 such penalties, they are banned from racing in that particular state.  They don't know anything about a penalty box so they aren't stopping in a T-zone!!

- The winner makes $$ for it's owner and even the 4th place finisher takes home a few bucks.

- Some tracks are more competitive than others and pay more.

- All dogs are checked for injuries after each race and almost always get massage therapy.

So, they receive a ton of attention while racing - don't forget - they cost their owners a lot of $ in their 18-20 months before they even get to a racetrack so the owners obviously want to recoup their investment.  Their dogs need to be in top shape in order to win and 'bring home the bacon'.

There are still pockets of horrendous crimes against greyhounds occurring.  Those that don't make money, can't race, get injured, etc, are literally nothing more to some owners than an expense.  Any smart business person wants to reduce expenses.  As such, thousands of greyhounds are humanly and inhumanely euthanized across North America (as well as the rest of the world) every year.

Enough of the bad stuff, fact is, thousands also make it into homes every year - they are the lucky ones.  They bring with them such different characteristics in a dog.  There is nothing else like them.  

When we adopted Brucie and Bumper, when they were a little over 4 and having raced 115 times each, they had no concept of what a house was.  The ONLY thing they knew was the track, kennel, and a hauler.  They were not pets.  All of a sudden, they no longer had a job to do, they saw hardwood / slippery floors for the first time - same thing for stairs, couches, stores, walks .. the list goes on.  Even other breeds of dogs / animals.  Imagine - they had never seen another animal, other than other greyhounds.  Imagine how their world was opened up.

I must say they caught on quite nicely and quickly.  Bumper hated the wood floors so we got some area rugs. Both dogs demanded nothing of us and were not used to asking for things.  They'd sleep on their backs (roaching) on the floor and never bark at a doorbell, run for it, or anything.  They are such social dogs that they do love company but they are quick to leave the people alone.  They are such independent thinkers - it's in their genes as well as their training.

It's been a wonderful ride with these boys ever since they walked through our front door and they've brought so much to our house.  We may as well have had 2 extra children!!  They are truly part of the family and fit like a glove. 

And I'll say this....there is something AMAZING about watching a greyhound run for the love of it.  They were born and bred to run and are true athletes through and through.  Go ahead, adopt one and have your life changed for the better!

Hope you had a great birthday, boys, and that you are enjoying your retirement!

1 comment: