Written by Panorama resident, Ann Friedman. August 2017
Several years ago, we had a golden retriever and a pound hound dog. Both wonderful dogs in their own way. They played, slept, aged, and became ill together. Ultimately they were euthanized together in our home. We said, “We never want another dog!” It was just too painful a process to lose them.
That lasted about two weeks. The house was just too quiet. No one greeted us when we got home. No one let us know that the mail had arrived. No one was handy to scarf up a stray Cheerio. Something was missing. Should we get another dog? Richard said, “I don’t want to vacuum up all that dog fur anymore!” I said, “I don’t want the hard work of a puppy.” We both agreed on a non-shedding adult dog…but what?
We found that there were several choices. Some breeds had hair that would need to be groomed. There were hairless dogs (no!!). Then Richard read about Greyhounds. They don’t shed much and have calm temperaments. But whoever sees a Greyhound and how would we get one? The closest breeder was hundreds of miles away. But, remember, we don’t want a puppy.
Upon further investigation, we discovered organizations that travel to Greyhound racetracks across the country and pick up truckloads of dogs before they can be “put down”. These dogs are spayed or neutered, health checked, vaccinated, tested for cat tolerance, and made available for adoption. They are anywhere from two to five years old. Some have only had one race, others many more. All are fearful to some degree at first. They have never had the same experience with people and things that other dogs have had.
There were a few rescue organizations near our (then) home in Sacramento, CA. We contacted Greyhound Friends for Life and learned that there were some conditions that must be met in order to look at the dogs available for adoption. First, we filled out an application.
That was reviewed and accepted. Next, we had a home check. This is important to make sure your Greyhound will be safe. Rescued Greyhounds are runners and they have never been in houses before. Our house, yard, and fence passed inspection. Last step, actually seeing a live Greyhound up close and personal.
We drove the fifty miles or so to a lovely Greyhound refuge in the Sierra foothills. There were eight new hounds in the large grassy enclosure. They were big. They were fast. They all raced towards us in a herd. It was a little intimidating. They all just wanted attention. We spotted a small Greyhound in the group. It was a female with beautiful black and tan brindled coloring. Racing Greyhounds aren’t bred for specific coat color so you’ll see black, tan, white, spotted, and brindled.
We were attracted to this delicate girl and learned that she had come from a track in Phoenix, AZ. She had raced fifty-three times and come in first or placed twenty-five percent of the time. She came when we called her by her track name, Juliette, and looked us right in the eyes. As I began petting her, she leaned against me. Best of all, Juliette was not timid with Richard. We were smitten. It was the fall of 2009 and we adopted her then and there.
Because racing greys rarely walk on cement or black top, we had to condition Juliette’s paws by giving her short walks at first. She was a little fearful of passing cars and strange men, but loved women. She housetrained quickly using a crate, which she was very comfortable with, and it is what she knew. Plus, she was unique to greys in that she tolerated our cats.
Speed ahead eight years and here we are living in Panorama. Because she no longer has a dog door, Juliette has many more walks. She loves meeting folks on her potty walks and “Walk the Loop” Tuesday evenings. Juliette has helped us meet so many nice people.
But her favorite thing to do is to visit the Panorama dog park. She is there most afternoons and although we were a little wary at first wondering how she would do with mostly small dogs, it was a needless concern. It took a few dog park visits but Juliette is learning how to play. She runs with the other dogs, small and large. She especially likes to chase McTavish, the Scottish terrier, and hang by Trooper, the shepherd. If the small dogs aren’t going as fast as Juliette, she just jumps over them and runs on. She and Wyatt, the dog, share playground monitor duties barking and scolding the others if they get too rowdy. Everyone gets along and enjoys their time together. The people do, as well.
In reviewing Juliette’s adoption papers and track record in preparation for writing this article, I discovered she is actually a year older than I remembered. She will be twelve this September. That’s very old for a Greyhound but you’d never know it by seeing her. She is peppy and excited for every walk and dog park visit. We think she is finally having the puppyhood she missed by being a professional runner. Everyone thinks she is a lucky dog, but we think we are the lucky ones for owning Juliette, the Greyhound.