My ears are tattooed. In my left ear: 41225. In my right: 27C. I ran 14 races in my two year career. I won my last race and placed second and third in several other races. I was born on a dog farm and spent most of my early life with my littermates. I never saw the inside of a house, rode in a car, saw a human child, or even saw a dog of another breed until I was over three years old. I was raced in Pensacola, Florida. But when my career was over, I was sent on a journey to the place I now call home sweet home.
I’m a retired racing Greyhound. I’m tall, leggy, fit and fast. Every muscle of mine is firm and well-developed. I have a sleek, short, velvety black coat with some white ticking, a white splash on my chest, and white toes. I have unique Greyhound ears – they prick up completely when I’m alert. Not all Greyhounds have ears like mine. I’ve been mistaken for a Doberman because of them. I have a sensitive but gentle nature. I’m very intelligent. I love human company, naps on soft furniture, an occasional romp or run, and of course, food.
I don’t remember many humans being kind to me until I got to this place they call New Jersey. Sure, I was fed, turned out to relieve myself and had my own cage at the track. But they only touched me when I needed a veterinary exam or to check my ear tattoos before a race. And they didn’t talk to me much.
One day they put me in a truck with several other dogs and we took a loooong ride. At the end of the ride, humans let us out and touched us – a lot. But in a kind way, lovingly. This was new. Pleasant. But unfamiliar. We were bathed and photographed. They talked gently to us. It was strangely cold in this new place, so they put coats on us. I felt a bit overwhelmed; so many new experiences all at once.
The next day, we were leashed and walked around a big fenced-in area outside the kennel by various strangers. I heard some of them talking about the poor dogs that had died of neglect at a track near my home track just a few weeks earlier. It seems the human whose job it was to feed and let out those dogs just ran away and didn’t feed them. I shuddered. At the track, we racers are totally dependent on humans. They lock us in cages, so we can’t fend for ourselves. I didn’t know what lay in store for me here, but it seemed I got lucky, because these kind strangers seemed horrified by the story. So at least I could be sure they’d feed me. Right?
Then I met them – the humans I now know as Mom and Dad. He and she looked almost as bewildered as me. They talked to the kind people who had received us the day before. They took another dog’s leash and walked with her awhile. Then someone handed my leash to him. And I knew.
There was a gentle, patient and kind energy that he emitted. I instantly felt comfortable and safe with him. She stood next to him and stroked my head and neck gently. Her energy was nervous, scattered, but also kind and gentle. Her touch and her voice were loving. But you could hear and feel the nervousness.
“Isn’t she sweet?”
“Yeah, she’s nice. Do you want her?”
“I’m not sure yet. They’re all so nice. She’s very beautiful, though. I love black dogs.”
“It’s your choice, baby. Do you want to walk her?”
He hands her my leash and walks away. I start after him, then stop. I’m not sure what to do, so I just stand there next to her, looking for him, hoping he’ll return.
He does. Then he and she talk to one of the kind people about me.
“We think this is it. She’s the one.”
“Great! Let’s get all your adoption paperwork done.”