This post is inspired by MC of Nourish Paleo, who recently wrote a sweet tribute to her dog. This is a long post, so if you just want to see my dog, scroll down. If you’re interested in greyhounds and how I became a greyhound parent, see below (or seek out a greyhound rescue group!).
Just over a year ago, I got my first dog (as an adult). It was about a month into my new paleo lifestyle, when we were visiting Central Florida for the weekend. My sister-in-law mentioned that the vet she works for needed to get rid of their blood donor greyhound, named “Sue”. Our curiosity was piqued, so we asked for more information. Greyhounds have special blood which makes them suitable as universal blood donors. But Sue had been the vet office’s donor for YEARS… and it’s not an easy life. The vet clinic had already called the greyhound rescue folks to come pick her up the following week. But we decided to at least go see her. Once we did, there was no way we could have left her there!
Sue was born a racing greyhound. We know this, and her racing history, by looking up the tattoo in her ears. Like thoroughbred horses, which have tattoos inside their upper lips, greyhounds who have been raced are all tattooed, and their statistics are maintained in a searchable database.
When the folks who race greyhounds are done with them (done racing them, and/or breeding them), the dogs are destroyed, unless they are rescued. After a handful of races, Sue was apparently not deemed to be suitable as a breeding dog. She placed second in two of the races, but never won.
When we got her, she was so thin, at just 54 lbs. The vet office didn’t starve her, of course, but she was kept in a cage most of the time (in the operating room), and gave blood periodically, too. She had very little muscle mass, and spine issues (she had trouble walking up stairs). She had wounds from licking her legs compulsively. When lifted (as one would lift a dog to put on an operating table to give blood), she shook. While one of the employees at the office took her home some weekends for a break from the cage, Sue really needed a “forever” home.
Sue had the added disadvantage of being a “B.O.B.” dog. Greyhound rescues have found that certain dogs are much harder to find homes for: 1) Black – people tend to be less likely to adopt black dogs (which I don’t get… I wear a lot of black clothing, so having a black dog is very practical!); 2) Old – people want puppies or young dogs that they’ll hopefully have for a long time; and 3) Broken – people are understandably more reluctant to take on an animal that has medical problems from the outset. Poor Sue was already almost 8 years old, black, and had medical issues. A triple whammy.
But once we saw her sweet brown eyes, we had to take her home. Sue’s now almost 9 (her birthday is in September), and wow, we love this dog so much. She’s gained a good 10 lbs, and her personality has really emerged over this year. She loves tennis balls. She’s extremely tolerant of my devil-cat (who did that “no-no-no” thing when we brought Sue home, kind of like this). Since I was newly militant paleo (haha), I started Sue on fancy grain-free food. She gained muscle, her spine problems went away, and she’s mostly stopped licking her legs (we have to remind her sometimes). She’s aged in reverse for her first year with us!
Here are photos of Sue from this past year:
If you’re interested in adding a sweet and loving family member, consider a greyhound.