Some people have the misconception that a Meet & Greet is a greyhound “Farmers’ Market”. It is important to understand these are family pets and that we are sharing them and our experiences/knowledge to make the public aware of not only what wonderful pets they make, but of the educated commitment it requires.
Most greyhounds we get are usually between the ages of 2 and 5, although a successful racing career might last until the age of 6. Given a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years (somewhat longer than most larger breeds due to their life of athleticism and enlarged internal organs), they still have plenty of life and love left.
The retired racing greyhound has had very regimented “crate training”, and has learned to keep his crate clean and eliminate during scheduled turnouts. We strongly suggest crating be continued in a household environment to not only help you train your new pet to consider your home as an extension of his/her crate, but as a “den of security” to which he/she may retreat if/when things become a bit overwhelming. Please do not consider the crate as an alternative to proper and diligent house-training and never banish your pet to the outdoors. Greyhounds do not have the body fat or fur to protect them from the heat of summer or the cold of winter.
Say the word “greyhound” and most people imagine a “hyper” hound running full tilt. Although some might appreciate an opportunity to run in a fully and securely enclosed area, by nature/breed, these dogs are built for speed and not endurance. A brisk walk once or twice a day is usually sufficient. Please keep in mind that if you do not have a fenced in yard, you must be willing to walk your greyhound on lead at all times. We do not recommend invisible fencing. Not only are you taking the risk that your pet will speed right past the boundary, it does not prevent other animals from intruding upon his/her territory.
Racing greyhounds have spent their entire lives so far in the company of other greyhounds and may, at first, be confused by another breed of dog. Properly introduced, they will learn to accept and appreciate the companionship of their “canine cousins”. Some greyhounds are good with cats (and smaller breeds of dogs) and some are not. We “cat test” all the greys to make sure adopters with cats (and smaller breeds of dogs) get a dog with a low prey drive. We also give new adopters advice on how to introduce their new greyhound to their smaller furry family members.
Greyhounds as a breed are very people oriented. They are usually patient and tolerant of children and will walk away from an irritating child rather than snap. However, all dogs have their limit, even greys, and children must be taught to respect any pet’s private space and limitations. It is the responsibility of the adults/parents to make sure everyone in the home knows to respect their pets as individuals. It is also important to remember that greyhounds fresh from the track have never met children before and proper introductions need to be made. Of special concern for parents of small children (infants/toddlers), the size of a greyhound (males usually stand 26-30 inches at the shoulder and weigh 65-85 pounds, females usually stand 23-26 inches at the shoulder and weigh 50-70 pounds) might not be appropriate at this time.
Greyhounds do not produce a lot of body oils and therefore do not have a “doggy” smell to them. They do, however, have hollow hair and will pick up the scent of your favorite perfume or not-so-favorite cigar. They do shed (although perhaps not as much as other breeds) and require minimal brushing and bathing with an appropriate shampoo (and conditioner, if desired). As racing greyhounds have been fed a “soft” diet throughout their career, their teeth develop an enormous and unhealthy amount of plaque and tartar build up. It is recommended that you incorporate brushing and/or healthful chew items into the pet’s routine. Nail trimming should also be done on a regular basis, as overly long nails can lead to lameness.
Perhaps the most important medical consideration is the greyhound’s anesthetic risk due to the body’s low fat ratio. It is important your vet be familiar with or willing to research greyhound physiology. Although they are not prone to hip dysplasia (common in other large breeds), greyhounds (as well as other deep-chested breeds) are susceptible to gastric dilatation/torsion or bloat. As a precautionary measure, it is suggested to avoid exercise for an hour before and after feeding and to feed at least 2 small meals daily rather than 1 large meal. Dental problems such as tooth decay and periodontal disease due to diet during their racing career can be controlled through proper dental hygiene. As with any potential pet, it is the responsibility of the individual(s) to research the breed for any issues that may prove of special concern, either immediate or future.
If you consider the dog watching a burglar take all your valuables, then yes, they are great watchdogs. Being a large breed, some people might consider adopting a retired racer as a watch/security dog. Although its very size may be intimidating, the greyhound is extremely people oriented and usually submissive. They are physically capable of barking, but will not generally engage in “raising an alarm” (unless encouraged to do so by either you or another dog) or prolonged “nuisance barking” (unless due to boredom or separation anxiety).
Research!!! Yes, these dogs need homes, but more than that, they need families who have made an educated and responsible commitment. Read books (we have a suggested reading list), visit websites and talk with greyhound families. If /when you decide a retired racing greyhound would make the perfect addition, fill out and send an application. A placement representative will arrange for a home visit (accompanied by a greyhound so you might see how one would “fit” in your home). At this time you will be interviewed as to your preferences (personality of greyhound, activity level, male or female, etc.) and all members of the household (both furred and people) will be assessed to determine the type of greyhound that would best fit into your family. If approved, a donation of $350 is requested at the time of adoption. All greyhounds are spayed or neutered prior to placement.
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