Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dog Adoption: Educate Yourself

Today is the start to a stressful and exciting weekend for Virginia Greyhound Adoption (VAGA). Two volunteers are on their way in a cargo van to South Carolina to meet a hauler from Florida. The hauler will have ten Greyhounds saved from being euthanized because of several track and kennel closings. The estimate is that there are over 200 Greyhounds in Florida that because of these closings could end up dead if groups like VAGA don’t rescue them. Other groups and kennel owners do help try and place the hounds but they can only do so much.

You won't here me castigate kennel owners or tracks because I'm not for or against the tracks, owners of the dogs or kennels. There are good people in the industry and there are terrible ones, but that's true in any industry. What you will hear from me is all things for the Greyhound. I'm for rescuing all dogs, all breeds, and my own pack shows that I really have no breed preference. However upon meeting a pack of Greyhounds last summer at my local Petco, my husband and I fell in love. Here is a hound that comes in almost any color, size and has a beautiful temperament. Theses hounds look at you and spill their souls through their eyes. ( If you don’t believe me look at my photo albums to the left) It didn't take long for my family and I to fill our application out. We did so after our second time meeting the same group (VAGA), but we initially said we didn't want to adopt until November because we had Chester my old boy who wasn't in the greatest shape. But, we kept thinking about those wonderful dogs we met, and by the middle of August I was calling the adoption coordinator, telling her we're ready, we want to adopt now. Two weeks later we had our handsome Dexter.

When Dexter arrived it was love at first sight for my family and for my dogs well Josie was the one that accepted him instantly, then my boy Chester and it's only been within the last 8 weeks that Wyatt actually wants to play with Dexter, but for the most part my pack blended well and Dexter slipped into our household routine almost immediately. Before my family and I adopted Dexter I spent a few weeks reading anything I could find on Greyhounds and racing Greyhounds in particular. There is a difference between what you see in the AKC show ring and what you see on or from the track. The sleek body is there for both but the racer is more muscle defined and tends to be larger than ones bred to show. One thing holds true in the two variances is their look, which hasn't changed much since the first cave paintings. After I satisfied my knowledge side I announced to my husband I could handle a pack of four if I could get the moon and stars in regard to behavior and temperament, so I called and changed our date to accept a Greyhound. With Dexter my family received far more than the moon and stars I asked for we got the whole galaxy!

I'm not going to end this with me telling you to adopt a Greyhound; I'm going to end with urging you to research the breed or breed mix before you adopt any dog. Be sure you have the knowledge first and then base your decision, not on how cute the puppy or dog is but how they interact with you and your family and that includes any pets you might already have. Understand that no matter how well your initial meeting goes with your potential new family member it may not go as smooth when you get home. It's not the dog’s responsibility to learn your rules; it's your responsibility to teach them the way of your home and how to behave. Educate yourself and if after your research you decide you want a Greyhound then e-mail me and I would be more than happy to tell you all about the joys and even some problems I've had since adopting my beautiful Dexter. I warn though my joyous times most definitely outweigh any negatives.

Until next time Woof, Woof and a Roo!

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