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You are here: Greyhound Dog Adoption > Greyhound Stories > Izzi's Story

I Vowed If I Ever Got a Dog It Would be a Greyhound
Izzy's Story

Dream of a Greyhound
My dream started years ago when I lived in Florida. After I graduated college – I lived in Florida for a little over a year. Being new to the world outside of school in a place that I landed in on a romantic whim, like most recently graduated, I found myself economically challenged. Once in awhile, we would go to the dog track for fun; I was exposed to dog racing at this time. It was quite inexpensive fun - and those dogs were pure poetry in motion - until I saw a flyer; a yellow flyer with black print that explained pretty succinctly that the dogs were euthanized after they couldn’t run anymore, however some could be rescued and adopted instead. At that point – I vowed, if I were ever able to have a dog I would find out how to adopt a greyhound.

Fast forward a few years - 19 years later to be specific. Using the internet; I can search for information on adopting greyhounds. It had always seemed a dream out of my reach, but now I was finally in a place where I could responsibly own a dog.

I spoke with different greyhound adoption groups and went a meet & greet. Finally, September 2004 at the San Mateo home show – I meet the folks at Golden State Greyhound Adoption. They had a booth with lots of dogs. I went to get a glimpse of the dogs – the greyhounds – the elite athletes of the dog world. Wow, were they beautiful and elegant and all laying down watching with eyes that are deep pools that can reach into your very heart... The dogs owned the small space that they were in. Languid, lazy, lovely, present – unhurried, unencumbered. Instead of the ‘gimme’, sprightly attention seeking of some dogs – I saw the - I’m here…waiting, patient, loving…I’m here. I felt I was seeing something very ancient, something very awe inspiring. I met Kris Balloun that day. As well as Kathryn and Zoe – and I asked if I could walk with Kris and Zoe to see if I could handle a dog that stood so tall. We took a short walk in the building. She asked me about my interest and I told her my story. She said we have applications if you want to fill one out. I remember speaking with Barbara & Stu and that they had been rained out at another meet and greet and since this was indoors had brought 4 of their – then 5 dogs to the Home Show booth & Blue stood out from the dogs. Barbara told me her story of how she got involved with Greyhounds…I received an application

It took me some time to fill out the application. Actually, it took about 10 minutes to fill out the application, longer to turn it in. I was deciding if I could make a commitment to caring for and owning a dog. I live in a small loft with a cat – Simba. I have no yard. I live in San Francisco. I work at a job that had irregular hours – but was open to me working at home once a week. I handed in my application to Stu and he said he would be in touch with me. The following Friday night he called me.

The phone call was exciting and scary at the same time. We spoke for almost two hours. Stu explained to me that these were dogs. He confirmed everything I had read. They may have separation anxiety, they may need to be taught to go upstairs, that in the best interest for my cat that the dog should be muzzled when meeting my cat even if deemed cat safe to make sure that they got along. A muzzle? What kind of beast is a greyhound - ran through my head. Even if it is cat safe – will I always need to be concerned? What am I getting into? I wasn’t sure. I needed time to think. I told Stu I needed time and would he hold onto my application? Yes, he said. And if it turned into months would that be okay? Yes, he said. That would be okay. I thought and ruminated and read…for months.

One evening I decided – I can do this – I can rescue a dog. April 2005 I am ready to rescue a greyhound, I am ready to realize my dream – I call Stu and tell him I am ready to get a dog. After I hang up I think – oh my. Then I think – it’s okay. I can do what it takes to rescue a dog. There may be a challenge with a dog that could have separation anxiety. I spoke with my neighbors and told then I was adopting a greyhound and that the dog may be fearful and vocal at first. I gave them my contact numbers. I explained the situation. I asked them to call me if they heard anything. I thought about the stairs in my loft. I considered a dog that may be afraid to walk on my polished concrete floor. I bought the dog bed; the wire crate to keep this dog safe while I was at work. I scheduled a little vacation time. I was ready to work with this dog whoever it may be to transition them into the ‘real world’. A dog was going to be rescued and I was going to help.

My ‘help’ was delayed. I had a work trip I had to take. It’s okay. Stu has the dogs in foster care – he is working with the folks in Colorado and has narrowed it down to a couple but can’t be sure – there is cat testing to be done – rabbit testing some of the dogs as well…I am committed and can not wait until I have my…dog. D’s Dream Maker. The name really says it all. She is a dream come true. I thought I was rescuing a dog. She patiently waited to be rescued and to rescue me. She is a great friend and companion. As dog and pet owners will tell you – life is better with them.

I have a wonderful hound. I followed all the instructions to a T. I spent 2 days working from home – leaving for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes – then 20 minutes at a time to get her accustomed to being alone. I crated her when I wasn’t there to supervise. She was patient as she was training me to trust her alone. My cat who I thought would be frightened of this large dog – came downstairs the first evening and sniffed Izzi’s nose. Since then – Izzi has accepted, but not snuggled with Simba. It’s okay – when Simba is close he tries to bury Izzi. I have a sneaking suspicion they have a closer bond than they let on. If I am not home – Izzi will sleep upstairs which is where Simba can be found, or if I sneak into the house (not easy to do) I will catch them sleeping within a couple of feet of each other. I work at home now 2 days a week and take my well mannered Izzi to the office the other 3. All is well in this household of cat, hound and human.

If nothing else – I hope if you are teetering on the edge of adopting that you consider that you will be changed. Stu said my life would be changed when I got a dog; that the dog would be a responsibility and become a companion. The responsibility - I understood. The companionship -- I am amazed daily. How wonderful is it for me to have a beautiful ‘skinny dog’ waiting for me at the door when I come home from work, the smile, the sense of humor when she plays with her toys, the joy of walking her through the neighborhood – the people who want to greet her? How about the happiness that she brings with her where ever she goes – she comes with me to work and is welcomed because she has great manners? True companionship, this I only understood when I bought her home. Can I relay it through words? No. I can only give you hint of what life with a greyhound is.

…Greyhounds –they can grab your heart – and when they do – don’t hesitate. They are the piece of you waiting to be joined with your soul…

But please realize these are not ordinary dogs – they are extraordinary dogs. The training they have had through theirs lives on the track is to hone their instinct to do what they do so well naturally. Run. These dogs should never be off-leash unless in a fenced in secure area. If you are looking for a dog that will walk by your side off-leash – this is definitely not the breed for you. I am secure that when Izzi is on the other end of the leash – she is not lost – and with me on the other end – If I am lost – I know that I am lost with my best friend in tow. Please do not ignore the warnings about keeping these dogs safe. If you decide you can protect your dog by keeping then on leash at all times – then you will have a happy future with one of the most graceful and elegant of creatures.

This story was submitted by greyhound owners LAURA AND IZZI AKA D's DREAM MAKER