by Candy Beck

A few years ago a discussion was taking place on a greyhound message board. I made a comment that I loved my racer, Jean Krupa, even though I had never met her. This comment was jumped on by a gentleman we had invited to join in this discussion, the gentleman in question was then, and is now, a board member of the group Grey2kUSA. The following is a quote from this gentleman:
“I know their idiosyncrasies…what toys they like, what beds they prefer, the sounds they make…how they are feeling at any given moment. That’s a connection you simply can’t have with a greyhound you have never met.” EricNM, Grey2k Board Member.

I must admit I was offended by his comment, to deny my love for my dog was a pompous and arrogant statement to make. I do love my Jean Krupa, but I am not the only one in her life to love her. Greyhounds are raised with love, trained with love, and retired with love. I have witnessed a trainer cry as we pulled out of the kennel compound with 5 of her greyhounds bound for adoption. I have watched trainers interact with their greyhounds in the kennel, and you can believe me when I tell you they are highly tuned into the feelings of each greyhound in their care at any given time. A racing kennel is a happy place where each morning begins with barks of welcome, there is no place for negative feelings in the kennel.

She’s home, those 2 words hold a world of joy. In October 2015 we went to the NGA Fall Meet in Abilene, KS. In April and October the people of greyhound racing come to celebrate the racing greyhound and the sport of greyhound racing, there are meetings, banquets, Hall Of Fame inductions, both human and greyhound, auctions and, of course racing. The conversation is always about the greyhounds. More and more the meet is also about adoption. There are greyhound farms to visit, dogs needing placement. There are retired brood bitches, pups with no interest in racing, and dogs who have graded off the race track and returned to the farm, all needing an adoption group. It has always been the anti-racing or so-called “greyhound welfare advocates” mantra that “going back to the farm” means going back to be killed, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

This Fall Meet was special to us because we would be bringing our Jean Krupa home. Jean retired from racing in 2013 after 133 injury free races. Her breeder and co-owner wanted to breed Jean and we agreed. Jean had 2 litters of puppies, her first litter is now at the track and doing well. On Saturday, Oct. 17 we picked Jean up. It was amazing how quickly Jean settled into the pack, with the help of our other greyhounds she house trained herself. Jean is pure joy and I credit her life as a racer for her ease assimilating into our home. Jean was raised and loved through her whole life. Before Jean came home she was lovingly cared for by her breeder, the trainers who taught her the intricacies of racing, and trainers at 2 different tracks. The caring for the racing greyhound is a 24/7, 365 days a year job, these amazing people put the greyhound before themselves, they have dedicated their lives to caring and being custodians of the greyhound.

I say “thank you” to all those who have made it possible for us to have the wonderful greyhounds that grace our homes. These folks have dedicated their lives to the care of the amazing athlete, the racing greyhound. It is because of racing, not in spite of it, that we have the honor of owning, loving and caring for our wonderful retired racing greyhounds.