Monday, November 10, 2008

My two cents...

So given that Sasha and Malia will be moving into a Presidential fishbowl, I fully believe that they should be able to pick the puppy they've wanted for so long. However, just in case the Obamas weren't aware of all of the options...

(photo courtesy of Barbara Karant)

Retired racing greyhounds make wonderful pets. I currently have two (and would probably have at least a couple more if I had the room in my house); they are among the great loves of my life, and they have turned me into a greyhound adoption activist. The breed isn't for everyone, to be sure, but a lot of people either have just never considered one or have some misconceptions:

1) They won't necessarily eat your other really depends on the individual dog, and it depends on the dog's "prey drive." Some greys should not be around smaller dogs, cats, birds, small animals, etc. Other greys will be happy to curl up with your kitty or will even make friends with your pet rabbit, although with the latter, I would NOT recommend unsupervised conduct. They are a hunting dog and do have an instinct to chase. But again, it depends on the individual dog's temperament, and a good rescue organization will check to see if a greyhound is "small dog-friendly" or "cat-tolerant." My husband and I have two chinchillas. I NEVER leave them out of the cage, unsupervised, with the dogs. However, our dogs pay almost no attention to the chinchilla cage and will even take a nap in the same room without bothering the chins. Even Anubis, who wants to chase every squirrel and bunny he sees outside.

2) A greyhound's ability to get along with small children really depends on the individual dog...just like with every other breed. Through my work with Cleo and Anubis' adoption group, I've met many families with children and greyhounds, and everyone seems to get along just fine. A lot of it has to do with supervising kids' contact with ALL pets and making sure that a curious toddler doesn't molest a pet beyond its tolerance level.

3) They do not need any more exercise than any other dog. Some people believe that you need to walk greyhounds for hours and hours...they're racers, right? Actually, greyhounds are sprinters and can only maintain their incredible speeds (up to 45 mph!) for short periods of time. Greyhounds do need exercise and walks, like any other dog, but mine are happy with two 30-minute walks a day. They enjoy longer walks, of course, but they aren't bouncing off the walls if you don't provide them. Which brings me to my next point...

4) Greyhounds are LAZY. A lot of people, again, assume that because they are racers, they must have lots of energy. Well, from what I've seen over the past two years, greyhounds can sleep up to 20 hours a day, and what they most want in the world is a soft bed or couch to curl up on. The largest grey has a lot more in common with a housecat than a Jack Russell terrier, which really will bounce off the walls without tons of exercise.

5) They are larger dogs, but they have longer lifespans than many big breeds. 12-14 years is the average. Hopefully mine will live forever!

6) Greyhounds are quiet (except for Cleo, when she wants something), have short hair, and do not shed as much as other breeds (which makes them a better breed for allergy-sufferers) clearly, they would make good Oval Office companions. ;)

All that being said, there are two things I should point out:

1) Greyhounds must either be fenced in or MUST MUST MUST be on a strong leash. A runaway greyhound is much faster than a mere human can catch, and they could wander miles before they stop running. Also, a runaway greyhound is at serious risk of being hit by a car or other terrible injuries.

2) Once you get one, it's really hard not to get more. :)

If you have any questions about this wonderful breed, please leave them here, and I'll be happy to answer them!

No comments: