You are browsing the internet. You visit the Greyhound Adoption Service web site. You see those eyes looking at you from the dogs' profile pages. You are smitten and must have a greyhound. You call Greyhound Adoption Service and make an appointment to visit. You arrive at the kennel, and are overwhelmed by those faces looking from behind the kennel run doors. How could you possibly choose. You want to adopt them all. You fall in love with that one dog who seems to be saying, "Choose me!" You take your beautiful greyhound home. Six months later, you call and say you can't possibly keep the dog anymore because you are experiencing a "problem." The same dog you fell madly in love with six months earlier, you now can't wait to return.
Every year Greyhound Adoption Service gets calls like this. Because we are a responsible organization and care about our adoptees for their entire lives, we take these dogs back and try to place them again as soon as possible. Yet for every dog that we have to place more than once, there is some dog at the track who will not have the opportunity to be placed in a home. Why do these returns occur? What have we learned about returns over the years? One lesson is that we need to work on prevention.
Most potential adopters ask about the here and
now. Which dog do I want? How do I care for it, feed
it, and other such concerns. We never hear questions about
the future. What do I do with the dog when I go on
vacation? How do I care for the dog as it ages? What
if my life circumstances change (divorce, marriage, new baby,
move to a new home, go back to work)? One key to keeping a
dog in its home is for the potential adopter to consider these
questions BEFORE adopting. If you can not provide
satisfactory answers to these questions, then maybe adopting a
greyhound is not right for you. Remember, when you adopt a
greyhound, you should be making a commitment to that dog for
its entire life.
A greyhound, or any pet, is not a toy that you use for a while and discard when you are tired of it. Most of the time your greyhound will give you nothing but pleasure. But just as in any relationship, there may be problems. Greyhound Adoption Service is always available to help work through problems with you and your dog. Do not wait until the problem is extreme or out of control before asking for help. Greyhound Adoption Service recently received a call from an adopter about returning a dog because she could not housebreak the dog. The dog had been adopted two years ago!!! For two years, the dog had been urinating and defecating in the house. Greyhound Adoption Service did not receive one call during that time regarding the problem. By waiting until the situation became intolerable, the adopter did a great disservice to the dog, rendering it a problem dog, and making a second placement more difficult. Asking for help is not a sign of stupidity, but a sure sign of intelligence and caring. If you are not willing to work through problems, then you should not adopt any dog. When a problem arises, ask for help immediately.
Marilyn, who manages the kennel, and everything else at Greyhound Adoption Service, has over 30 years of experience working with sight hounds. You would be amazed at the number of potential adopters who have never had a greyhound before, yet think they know more than Marilyn!!! During the adoption process, some people make bad choices selecting on the basis of color or some other single attribute, rather than which dog fits their needs and lifestyle. When you go to the kennel to choose your dog, listen to the advice given. Marilyn knows greyhounds. She can help you choose the right dog for you, or in some cases help you realize that a greyhound is not the right dog for you. It is far better to come to this realization before you have taken a dog. When choosing a greyhound, listen to good advice from a knowledgeable person.
If you think that none of this really matters, that a greyhound should be happy to be in a home, any home, for even a short amount of time, then you are either naive or have little knowledge of dogs. The typical scenario for a returned greyhound is heartbreaking. One returned dog became depressed lethargic, refused to eat. He lost weight, would not go out or play with the other dogs. He whined at night restless to be in the kennel rather than the warm home and soft bed he was used to. Saddest of all is the constant attention some returned dogs focus on the door of the kennel - as if expecting their person to come through that door at any time to take them back to their home and family. After a while, the dogs seem to loose hope, and become even more depressed. For these reasons, we implore all potential adopters to read everything on our web site and the links we provide to additional information BEFORE making that first phone call to Greyhound Adoption Service. The more information a potential adopter has acquired, the more likely a placement will be successful.
The other side of this coin is that if you prepare thoroughly, you will be rewarded with a faithful and loving companion who will commit to being your friend for life. Greyhounds are not afraid of making such commitments. Can you?
by D. Schildkraut