Finding “forever homes” for retired racers
Smiling as their third greyhound, Daisy, “watched” TV with their children, Judy Puetz wondered that she and her husband Eric had ever hesitated to adopt one of the retired racers as a pet. They had been concerned about allergies and worried about how the dogs might behave around their children. They also thought that the dogs might be hyperactive, having been bred for racing, and might have difficulty making the transition to a more docile life as part of a family.
“Allergies were definitely a factor in this decision,” Judy explains, “[and] neither of us had [ever had] a dog as a pet. Initially, we had some reservations based on a few false assumptions.” Judy and Eric mistakenly assumed that greyhounds, being “racers,” would be hyperactive. As they wondered whether they could help a racing greyhound transition to retirement, Judy says, “The task seemed overwhelming.” However, she continues, “we adopted Sadie, a four-year-old red-fawn female. We fell in love with the breed and have been adopting greyhounds ever since.”
Eric and Judy quickly discovered that their concerns about owning a greyhound had been unfounded. “We found the breed extremely loving and affectionate,” says Judy, “[and the dogs have] transitioned to our home very well. All of them have been bright and intelligent. Unlike other breeds, they do not shed much. Although our family is plagued with allergies, this breed does not seem to aggravate us as much as others. They also do not bark as much as other breeds do, which is a relief. Most important, all of our greyhounds have been so patient and loving with our kids. We are hooked on greyhounds.”
Having recently welcomed the fourth retired greyhound, a petite grey named Luna, into their home, Eric and Judy also see greyhound adoption as a way to advocate for dogs that, because they are generally bred to race, often face destruction after their brief racing career. “[When] we began to look into the breed, we discovered that many owners, at that time, would destroy the dogs when their careers were over. As a result, organizations began to form in order to rescue these beautiful dogs and place them in homes. Since the average greyhound’s racing career is approximately three to five years, many of these animals could then live the majority of their lives in retirement.”
“Greyhounds that are no longer making a profit for the racing industry [are often] disposed of,” explains Chris Miller, who has served for several years as a greyhound adoption advocate, activist, and volunteer in and around Georgetown. “That’s why finding loving homes for these retired racers is so important. Every dog we place in a home is a life saved. I’ve helped find homes for greyhounds with varied backgrounds—including those that are breeding, farm-raised, and stray greyhounds—as well as those greyhounds that no longer qualify for the racing industry.”
For Judy, owning a greyhound, whether a retired racer or an abandoned stray, gives at least one dog a safe, comfortable, “forever home.” “More than anything else,” she says, “we really want to advocate for the dogs and to provide owners with an option other than killing them. If organizations [are] successful in adopting out the greyhounds, then maybe more owners will consider placing them instead of euthanizing them. Over the years, we have seen more and more organizations, such as Austin Greyhound Adoption, helping to place these retired racers. So word is getting out.”
For more information about greyhound adoption in Central Texas, contact Austin Greyhound Adoption at 512-895-9150. Find the organization online at www.austingreyhounds.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/austingreyhounds.