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People Who Will Be Their Greyhound's Best Friend
am a trained athlete and am now retired. I may have had a
long and successful career or I may be just a-pup who couldn't "make
it" in the racing game. My breed has a Hall of Fame in Abilene,
Kansas. I'm a descendent of an ancient breed that goes back
to the Egyptians. The Egyptians worshipped me as a god and
you can see my ancestors inscribed on tombs of kings. In
England, only nobility could own a greyhound. I think you'll
agree, I have a distinguished background. But modern man, in
pursuit of the "almighty dollar?' had changed all that.
Now, when I'm not needed or can't make money for my people, I'm
discarded, sometimes inhumanely. I'm looking forward to my
new life. I'm sure we'll become best friends. Treat me with kindness
and I will return your love tenfold.
I'm a dog, like all others, but have some unique characteristics.
I am not a vicious predator, as some believe, but chase
by nature. I love people, in fact, more than most breeds, and
tend to be quite sociable. I possess superior intelligence.
I've never had the opportunity to really be a puppy and
may need to act out some puppy behavior, which I'll get over
(like chewing). I will try hard to please, so am easily trained.
I am quizzical, shy sometimes, very sensitive and surprisingly
gentle. I know other greyhounds, but not other breeds or
cats. Please be patient with me. I will get to know them quickly.
I may not know how to defend myself and may "freeze" if
attacked. I look to you to protect me. I have keen eyesight,
hearing and sense of smell. I like riding in cars and would
love to go places with you. I do not bite but sometimes
show affection like a wolf, with mouth agape, gently grasping.
I love with my whole body and may rub up against you or
lean against you, like a cat. I feel the winter cold or
rain and if outside for more than a short period of time,
should have a coat. I am used to a leash, love to walk,
and will learn to heel quickly. I am not a barker by nature,
but may bark if excited or trying to tell you something
(like I need to go out). I will probably be confused in
my new environment, but willing to learn. I sometimes don't
know how to sit, climb stairs or play games. I will learn
all these things. I love to run but don't need more exercise
than other breeds. I will be safest with a fenced yard.
It needn't be big or elaborate.
I Get to My New Home (the first few days)
probably never been in a house before and things will be
strange. I may be tense, possibly withdrawn. Be sure I "empty" before
entering. I may be afraid, though you may not notice. This
is normal. At some point I'll pick a spot and lie down. An
old blanket will do for me to lie on. Of course, you'll also
be using my crate at this time. It will be a secure place for
me to be while I get accustomed to my new home. It will probably
be the only thing with which I am familiar. Let me remain quiet,
unless I come to you. Be patient, gentle, speak softly and
soothingly. Say "no" more strongly for unacceptable
you do not want me in a certain room or on the furniture (although
I'd love to lie on the sofa), firmly, but gently, tell me "no",
while you direct me away. Repetition and softness are the keys
to my learning. Mirrors, fireplace glass, glass doors reflect
my image. This may perplex me. "Who is the other dog?" Time
my feeding (two times daily). Others may want to share in this
at first, but it is best for one person to eventually do the
feeding. I should go out first thing in the morning (before
feeding), around lunch time, late afternoon (before supper)
and before bed. At first you will want to take me out more
than usual, so I can get the idea about where and when it is
appropriate to go "potty". Remember to use my crate
when you cannot watch me, at first. I am as a toddler. I should
not be left alone to get in to trouble. We will be happier
sneak up on me. Let me know you are there, especially when
I am sleeping. I'd love a big rawhide bone for my teeth. Since
I've never had one, it may take me some time to understand
what to do with it. I may be very afraid the first few night.
The sounds, smells, shadows are all new to me. It would be
helpful if my crate is placed where I can see you at night.
This is even more important if you have no other dogs to keep
me company. Remember, this will be the first night of MY ENTIRE
LIFE that I have spent without the company of lots of other
greyhounds. Your closeness, scent are my security in this bewildering
environment. But remember, once you allow me in your room at
night, I'll expect to be allowed to do this all the time. Don't
allow me to do things at first with the intent of changing
things later. Once you commit, I will expect to do the same
things again. At first, I may stare ahead and seem unresponsive.
Unlike some dogs that may get excited when nervous, this is
my way of showing stress. A light and gentle massage over is
soothing for both of us (try not to pat).
it is time to go out, let me loose if you have a safe, FENCED
yard (after you have taken me around on a leash to show me
where the fence is). If you have no fence, use an 8-foot lead
and MARTINGALE COLLAR, so I can't back out of it if I get frightened.
After I have done my "duty", praise me with "good
boy" and a light pat. I will learn quickly. For athletes,
extras are rarely allowed. I would love to learn about 'Treats",
but don't let me get too fat. It will be as unhealthy for me
as being too thin. A good rule of thumb is that you should
be able to feel my ribs but not see them. You shouldn't be
able to readily see my hip bones, but you should see 1-3 vertebrae
in my back.
a puppy at heart (and very swift). Unlike other breeds, I rely
mostly on sight. I cannot easily find my way back as scent-oriented
pups do, so NEVER LET ME LOOSE WITHOUT THE PROTECTION
OF A SECURE FENCE! You will not be able to catch me
if I start to run and, while my goal is not to get away from
you, I will be lost before I know it! I don't know about traffic.
Many of my kind have had their lives ended by well-meaning
owners who thought their greyhound was "different".
Leave the trust to things that don't matter. Even though you'll
never allow me to run loose, I should be trained to come when
called. Good books on training are available. I would also
love to go to "obedience class". Ask your placement
group to recommend a good one!
your patience and devotion, I'll become your best friend. Then,
we'll both be WINNERS!