© 2013 by David Wainland
About fifteen years ago this month I was exhibiting in an outdoor art festival and if you are at all familiar with Florida, you will know how hot it can get. Outside of my tent the temperature had risen to almost ninety degrees and the humidity matched in numbers. Inside the tent, away from the glaring sun it might have been a slight bit cooler but the air was very still and thick. On the horizon an early summer storm was brewing, heavy black clouds hung like window curtains and I was fully expecting an imminent downpour.
I was busy securing my merchandise against the weather when a woman, three leashes in hand, paraded by with the most unusual dogs I had ever seen. They were Greyhounds and I had never been exposed to them before. The dogs had lean racing bodies, muscular hindquarters, heavy chests, and small heads and were every color but gray.
The young lady paused in front of my exhibit and examined my work, admiringly I hoped. Meanwhile the long tongues of the Hounds were reaching almost to the grass.
“Are they thirsty?” I asked.
“No, that is how they deal with the weather. These three are just off the track and are not used to doing a lot of leash walking.”
“Real racing dogs,” I asked in amazement and she nodded yes. “What are you doing with three of them?”
I was about to learn the history of these poor suffering animals and their treatment at the hands of their owners and trainers and how, after running their hearts out in an effort to become champions, many of them were destroyed, literally thousands every year. Some were “Humanely destroyed,” others suffered more horrible and lingering deaths.
My heart opened and I inquired how I could personally obtain one of these beautiful beasts.
“By talking to me.” she said. It turned out that she ran an adoption agency for Greyhounds and these were amongst the many that were being saved.
Jaffa, my first Greyhound, lived until she was fourteen. Shortly after we adopted we acquired a second, they are like potato chips, and you can’t have just one. They gave us their unrequited love and devotion. Seen us through the most desperate of moments in our lives asked nothing but food and an occasional scratch behind the ear and warmed our feet at night.
Our second, Littlebit, did not fare as well as Jaffa, and succumbed to track induced injuries at the age of ten. But while she was alive, the two of them romped, played and enjoyed every moment.
In their second lives they achieved what many of us long to, besides being loved, they were now, “Forty mile an hour Couch Potatoes”