Tuesday, April 20, 2010


One of the things I have tried to do since Kassa came to our home is to plan to go to outdoor activities that he can attend. This usually provides a lot of opportunities to tell people about greyhounds and greyhound adoption. Now I'm no adoption expert and have not dedicated myself as many specifically to promoting adoption, but when I'm out and about, I do what I can.

One thing I have noticed is that there is a variety of semantics regarding what we do. Common terms I have heard are "rescue" and "retired". Now this is not a big deal and I don't want anyone to think that the semantics police are coming, but here is why I don't prefer to use them. The term "rescue" puts the focus on me rather than the focus on the dogs. The implication is that I, out of the goodness of my heart, have taken on something unwanted and useless. The term "retired" racer implies that the dogs are old and done don't need or want anything beyond a couch.

One of the things I try to communicate is value. My dog is valuable. As an athlete and a working dog he was very valuable to his owners and trainers. As a pet and companion he is also extremely valuable. He is a purebred. He has excellent characteristics that make him a wonderful dog. He is great indoors. He is calm and happy. He is great with people. I can take him on hikes. I can take him to coffee shops and sit on the patio. He is just a great dog to be around. So my point is I don't want people to think I've done something wonderful or selfless by "rescuing" him. I "pretty selfishly actually" wanted a valuable purebred dog and adopted one.

The other term I am not fond of is "retired". Greyhounds can live a good long life of 12 years or more. If your hound "retired" at 3 years old and lives to 12 (common) he has only lived 25% of his life before he came to you. The life expectancy of a male in the US is 74. A dog retiring at 3 years old would be like a man retiring at 18 years old. So yes, greyhounds, after racing, don't need more exercise than other dogs. That said I think that all dogs need exercise and stimulation. It is up to us to figure out creative ways to give them that.


Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

My group uses the term former racing or ex racing greyhounds. We removed the term "retired" from all of our materials.

jcp said...

I think my group did that as well. But old habits die hard and I still hear it thrown around a lot.