Superior Devine, or Dev as we call her, is a retired racer. She is our Greyhound Rescue. In her previous life, I imagine she lived a lot like a race horse – fed, groomed, but very little affection or
playtime with people. Now, she’s pure lazy. She sleeps on a Slumber Ball, walks 4+ times a day (but only 30 minutes or less, or she gets too tired), and has a subscription to BarkBox.
Dev is our baby.
In the fall of 2015, I finally paid off my credit card debt that had been lingering for almost a decade, and to celebrate, I decided I wanted a dog. My boyfriend decided he wanted a greyhound. I wasn’t feeling picky about the breed, so I said yes.
All I knew about greyhounds were what I saw in my neighbor’s dog growing up. Scars and constantly scared – super loving, but not great with strangers. Her name was Candy, and she would sleep behind the toilet during thunderstorms.
So yeah, we decided on a greyhound – they tend to be low maintenance, and it feels good to rescue, right? The local adoption agency we used is Greyhounds Only. All their dogs come from racetracks in Florida.
Old Race Dogs
Dog racing has been going on for a long time. And in the past, there wasn’t a lot of oversight going on with the treatment of the dogs and the condition they were kept in. Honestly, a lot of dogs died for our entertainment. But in the 1980s, things started to change, and there’s when adoptions started to be offered instead of euthanizing them when they “retired”.
Agencies, like Greyhounds Only, work to find these retired racers good and safe homes. They want a fit for both the dog and their families.
Finding the Right Fit
Adopting an older dog is not like getting a puppy. A puppy loves unconditionally and doesn’t have much ‘baggage’. BUT you’ve got to train them from scratch. An adopted dog may take more time to bond with your family, but they could come with all sorts of ‘tricks’.
In the case of a greyhound, it honestly depends on the dog, and a good agency should be able to pair you with a dog that will fit best with your family.
After deciding on a Greyhound, we filled out an application. It’s like Match.com for dogs. How big is your home, is it an apartment, does it have stairs, do you have children, do you want children, any cats, etc.
From there, you’re invited to meet the dogs. Greyhounds Only has a separate facility that they receive new dogs at – there they do a basic assessment of health and training and watch how the dogs interact with new people, other dogs, cats and kids. This lets them know what kind of family may be the best fit for the dog.
We met 6 dogs that day. All beautiful – with different personalities and quirks. Dev was somewhere in the middle. We asked to see her again at the end. She was overall calm, and obviously beautiful – I mean look at her! The woman who helps run the adoptions said she’d be a great first, solo dog.
Bonding takes time. This is true in all relationships. With Dev, it took me about 9 months to connect with her. My beau took a lot less. We struggled a little to find a connection. She’s not a lap dog, doesn’t fully understand affection, and only plays for about 5 minutes before she’s done and ready to nap again – it’s a Greyhound thing.
When adopting a greyhound, they tell you that things will be different 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and a year after they move in with you, and it’s true. Remember in less than 3 months, they go from racing full-time to living in a home with a family – so completely different from their norm. The longer they race, the longer it can take to adapt to the changes.
Dev raced her last race in September 2015 and was living with us by November. It took her time to learn how to be a house dog. Every month, she learns new things. This morning, she laid in bed with us! That has never happened before.
So if you’re thinking about adopting a Greyhound – be patient. Know that they need to adapt to all the changes in their life. They need to learn you and you them. But trust me, they will love you. It may not be puppy affection, but it’ll be there. Remember when they’re anxious that this life is new for them. They are used to being surrounded by lots of dogs and very little humans. They may miss their friends.
Adopting any animal is rewarding. It changes their life and yours for the better. Consider adopting before buying.