Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Greyhound Picnic

Last Saturday, Greyhounds had a picnic: The Great Big Greyhound Picnic at the Greyhound Adoption Center in Dehesa. Humans were permitted, too. John and I went back and forth, trying to decide if we would risk taking Bingley, our Very High Prey Greyhound. Bingley is relaxed and happy mingling with fellow Greyhounds, but his reaction to most other breeds is frequently indistinguishable from his reaction to other species--he thinks they need to be chased, and I suspect, "terminated."

Back and forth, back and forth. Bingley is lonely and loves to hang out with other Greyhounds. Bingley is High Prey and will try to chase other, smaller breeds of dogs who, no doubt, will come with their more accommodating Greyhound pack members.

We decided to take him. Bingley loves to "go with." We have been working on "sit" in the car, and he responds sufficiently to encourage us. Sometimes he thinks he is sitting when his backside is up against the back of the seat. We give him marks for trying. He is even beginning to lie down and relax (somewhat) in the car.

But, by the time we had driven the fifty plus miles from San Marcos to Dehesa, Bingley was alert and On Point. We were more than a little concerned when the dogs who checked in just before us were an Italian Greyhound and a Toy Poodle. The key always is distraction--keeping Bingley from focusing on potential prey. We waited until the IG and Poodle were a good distance from check in before we approached.

And then, we entered the field. Greyhounds were everywhere. On leashes and in ex-pens, dozens and dozens of Greyhounds. Bingley was in heaven. And he behaved perfectly the entire afternoon, giving and receiving sniffs and just hanging out with his kind of folks.

There were other Sight Hounds--Greyhound-Deerhound mixes, Greyhound-Borzoi mixes, Whippets, Italian Greyhounds and three Salukis. Bingley made no distinction among them. He was so enthralled that it was no problem to steer him clear of the Poodles and a Terrier, who, normally would have received his undivided attention.

It was a wonderful day for the Greyhounds' humans, too. Every Greyhound, every Greyhound mix came with a story. They had all arrived at Greyhound Adoption Center loaded with fleas, ticks, and internal parasites. Some, like Bingley, were near starvation at the time of rescue. Some had had broken legs that required expensive surgery and long convalescence. And here we were with happy, healthy dogs that we loved and loved to talk about.

Rescuing dogs is not for the faint at heart. Many--I am tempted to say, most--breeds are in serious trouble because too many dogs are being bred and there are too few responsible owners who understand what dog ownership involves. And that doesn't even touch the countless mixed breeds whose plight is desperate.

And so, seeing such a large group of dogs--in this case, beautiful, elegant Greyhounds, all of whom, without rescue, would have died a harsh death--enjoying their own picnic, was heart warming beyond description.

Bingley had such a good time, he was exhausted. John and I were happy that we had decided to take him. He rewarded us by sleeping in an extra hour the next morning.


  1. I've often said that dogs are bigots. Most folks think I'm nuts for saying that. However, years of going to dog shows with my German Shepherd Dogs every Sunday, they paid no attention to other GSDs. But, let another breed walk through their territory and all heck broke loose from a chorus of GSDs. I don't know how mixed-breeds handle this but it sure is true of most pure-breds!

  2. I think even mixed breeds make a distinction as to type and especially, size.