Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Many moons ago after adopting my first greyhound, I like many of you wanted to get involved in finding homes for these wonderful dogs. I was awestruck and wanted others to know the joy I had come to know.

In my preparation work to become an adoption placement rep I asked what was apparently a forbidden question - 

”Do we work with the trainers at the track and garner information from them about the greyhounds personality”

I received a scowling look and was told that the trainers at the track had nothing of value to contribute and knew nothing about personalities of dogs. Now I may have been young and stupid, but one thing I have always had in my favor was a dogged (no pun intended) curiosity.

Moving to the Phoenix area I set out to feed my curiosity with a several boot-on-the-ground trips to a track. I would pack up Thermoses of coffee and warm bagels from the coffee shop I owned, then stop for several dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and spend many a Sunday morning with the trainers. Over time I came to respect the knowledge they had about greyhounds, and a respect for the amount of time they put into caring for the dogs and yes I developed some friendships that to this day have stood the test of time.

When I formed my own adoption program and then eventually merged it with another adoption program, the trainers never let me down whenever I asked for their assistance. If I asked for a particular personality and told the trainers about the personality of the dogs currently in home they provided me with the right greyhound for that home. My job as an adoption representative was to learn as much as I could about the potential home and then let the experts assist in finding the right dog.

While not currently involved in the adoption side, to this day I rely on the friendships I built years ago to put the right greyhound in my own home.

It’s just one dude's opinion but the trainers never let me down and I feel that they never let me down because they know and love these dogs. Yes love. I have seen their tears when they are getting their beloved greyhound ready to leave for its next career as someone's pet.  I have heard the sound of their voices when they call to see how their beloved greyhound is adjusting to life as a pet. And I have been there to share the grief with them after many years as they learn that one of their beloved greyhound has passed.

Curiosity got the best of me and it benefited many greyhounds. I asked "Who ya gonna call?" when it comes to learning about your pet ex-racing greyhounds. You contact people who have experience training, breeding them, people who have spent hours learning the personalities of each dog. People who have taken the time to educate themselves on all aspects of greyhounds and have become experts in the process of taking a greyhound from racing career and integrating it into new career as a pet.

And I can tell you who I did not call - I did not call people with zero experience who are nothing more than highly compensated lobbyists with an agenda.

Trust me on this – real boots-on-the-ground education with people who know greyhounds will strengthen the bond between you and greyhounds.

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