by Leslie Csokasy
Grey2k advocates say that I exploit my racers. They claim I am a murder of greyhounds. They share that I have no interest in my greyhounds other than a paycheck. That I am ignorant to the dog’s life and desires. They point their finger and say I am cruel, inhumane and unworthy of owning these remarkable creatures.
I challenge the anti-racing community to share what you know of your retired racers experiences in the first two years of their life. I suggest you share specifics. Since your knowledge is limited to the internet, here are some questions to answer about your dog’s first career. Do you know what farm of your greyhound was whelped? Or even what region of the country? What is the disposition of the mother dog? How long was the litter in the mother’s care? How many pups were there? Sexes of the siblings? Do you know what radio station they heard in the first minutes of their lives? What was their feeding schedule like? What were the dates of their first immunizations? What toys did they play with? How did your pup react to her first collar? Her first walk on a leash? What color was the collar? Were there other breeds of dogs around farm while the litter growing up? Were they exposed to cats as pups? When did she get her first nail trimming? How about worming schedule? What was used? What was the primary source of protein in their kibble as pups? What environmental noise was present in her early life? What was the color of the other greyhounds she was socialized with? Were there children present in her life? Did they feed her? Play with her as a puppy? What siblings did she lounge with? Cuddle with? Fight with? What other food protein sources was she exposed to? How many baths did your pup have? How many runs did your dog experience? How many different handlers? What was she called on a daily basis….ie call name as a pup? as a schooler…as a racer?? What funny antics did she display while out in the turn out pets or around the kennel? Was she turned out first, middle or last? And why? Where did she finish her unofficial farm schooling? What time of day did your dog eat? What was her turn out schedule? Was your pup a digger? A potty maker? Was she a barker? What was her first toy in the shape of? How many toys did she have her in life before her racing career? Who handled her trips to the track? What time of year was it? What genre of music was being played in the kennel? Did the trainer and helpers sing? Was she a shredder at the track or was she respectful of her carpet? Top crate or lower? Was there a trainer there who climbed into the kennel to cuddle? Did visitors give her treats? What treats did she get in the kennel? What was her morning breakfast like? Did she have a favorite leadout? Did she pull on the lead? Did her ears prick up when the announcer said her name? Was she a rail runner or likes the outside? How did your dog do in unofficial schooling? How many dogs ran against your pet while they unofficial schooled? How did she break from the four-five or six box? Was she early speed or a closer? What is the most successful distance she ran? How did they celebrate wins? Were birthdays noted and celebrated? Who hauled her to adoption? Did the trainer put her on the hauler and cry?
I can answer these questions and more about every single one of my dogs. I understand them better, know and appreciate them because of their early experiences. I value my greyhounds, not just because they have the ability to reimburse me for the care I’ve given them, but because I know who they are and what shaped them. I have better understanding of their medical needs and personalities because I am their guardian. I don’t have to use blanket stereotypes and exaggerated internet stories to have some perspective on my dog’s whole life, from whelp to racing to couch. I know because I care and I’ve been there the whole step of the way.
And for my knowledge, interactions and involvement in the greyhound’s early life, I am considered an immoral human being. But can the anti-racing communities give us facts on their specific dog’s upbringing like that? Do they care? Is the first two years of a dog’s life irrelevant because it wasn’t with their urban dwelling owners?
This is my voice, my life with my dogs. I am a racing greyhound owner.