Welcome to “My Journey – Part 2.
In the first “My Journey”, I introduced myself and shared my background in Greyhounds, and we followed the racing career of our Jean Krupa. Part 2 is what I have come to understand a blog to be, my perceptions written in small essays, on things that affect Greyhounds and those of us who love them, whether they be racing or retired. Greyhounds capture and hold the hearts of those who love themW, race them and adopt them.
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 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.” Eric NM, 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, and I have since met her and love her even more, but more about that at a later date. 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.
There is no doubt that as adopters we love our greyhounds with a passion, we spend hundreds of dollars on fancy collars, coats and even pajamas. We worry over their eating habits and even their “poop”, we are totally besotted. We would do anything to make sure our greyhounds are happy and healthy.
A friend is going through a very trying time right now with one of his racers, the young female racer was involved in a horrible accident at the race track. The Vets advised putting her to sleep, but her owner said no, he wanted her to have a chance at life. He loves this greyhound. At this time she has had one surgery, and is now under the care of an Orthopedic specialist, there is another surgery in her future. When all is done, she will retire to the home of her owner where she will be rehabbed, and will take her place in the family. Right now we, who are friends of the owner will support him with good thoughts and prayers. It’s what love is all about.
Love should never be questioned, love just is.
We cannot have loss without love. In the previous essay I said that a friend was going through a very trying time, due to an injury to his greyhound. Yesterday the sad news came that his greyhound passed away after her second surgery. My friend has wonderful plans for this young female, he loved her and looked forward to a wonderful future with her, it was not to be.
We have all been through the loss of a pet, whether greyhound or other breed. We know all the right things to say, but we know that it will not help, the heart needs to heal. We all handle grief in our own way, some say they want another pet right away, others say they could never go through the loss again.
We need to be kind to each other, whether it’s a greyhound lost due to an injury, a retired greyhound lost due to disease or old age, we need to be kind to each other.
We cannot have love without loss. Be kind.
“She’s home”, those 2 words hold a world of joy. We have just returned from the National Greyhound Association Fall Meet, also known as the “Nationals”, “Fall Meet”, or just “The Meet”.
The Meet takes place twice a year in Abilene, Kansas. Every 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 many greyhound farms in and around Abilene, and the Meet is a good time to identify dogs needing placement. The word goes out to adoption groups, some whose representatives are attending the Meet, 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 could not be farther from the truth.
This particular Meet was special to us because we were going to bring home our girl Jean Krupa. 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. Jean had her last litter in June of 2015, she was spayed and it was arranged for us to bring her back home with us from the Meet. As we traveled to Abilene we were doubly excited, excited to see friends once again, and most importantly to see our “baby” Jean again and bring her home.
On Saturday, Oct. 17, we picked up Jean, and another retired broodie who was coming to our adoption group for placement, and headed home. The two girls were wonderful travelers and the trip was uneventful. We arrived home on Sunday the 18th after spending the night in Oklahoma. The adoption broodie, Lexie, went to her foster home and Jean settled in with us. It was amazing how quickly Jean settled into the pack, with the help of our other greyhounds she house trained herself. It’s been 2 days now and Jean is doing just great. Jean knew care and love from the farm to the racing kennel and back to the farm. We now have the wonderful duty of continuing that care and love. Jean is just pure joy.
Welcome home Jean Krupa!!
The Truth Is Out There
I continue to be amazed at how quickly Jean Krupa has settled into her new life. I know I should not be surprised knowing how she was raised and loved through her whole life. Before Jean came to us she was lovingly cared for by her breeder, and trainers at two different tracks. Jean returned to the same farm and family that had cared for her since her birth.
I know there are a significant number of people who would not believe the above statements. These folks, such as a man from Australia, who made the following comment to a discussion of the “She’s Home” entry. I quote: “Got to the part where it said Greyhounds are raised, trained, and retired with love. What a load of bull….”. He had never been to a farm, kennel or track in the U.S., but he refused to believe that my comment could be true.
I know the “truth is out there”, with a nod to the TV show “The X Files”. Many of the farms and kennels have Facebook pages where they post pictures of daily life in the kennel, and wonderful pictures of greyhounds on the farms. One farm, Crossland Farm, has an open door policy. Now with all that information readily available for all to see, why do people continue to refuse to see the truth. I truly believe you can lead a person to knowledge, but you can’t make them learn. Could it be they don’t want to have their opinions challenged, even if those opinions are factually wrong?
Let’s take a few examples, so-called “greyhound welfare advocates”, such as the lobbying group Grey2k USA, spread the word that the greyhounds are fed so-called 4D meat. Now that meat is the same meat that goes into the commercial pet food market, it looks like hamburger meat. Added to this are vegetables, and sometimes, pasta. The trainers want their dogs to be in tip top condition, they depend on the dogs for their livelihood. Another misconception spread is that the dogs are abused and “forced” to run. An abused dog will not run, it will cower in it’s crate in fear of coming out. Again, why would a trainer want to mistreat and abuse their dogs? It makes no sense. One of the all time stupid lies told is that the dogs spend 22 hours a day in their “cages”. Again, this makes no sense, when would the greyhound have time to race? Greyhounds in the kennels are turned out 5 to 6 times a day, and have plenty of time to relieve themselves, and just hang out.
Again this year the “greyhound welfare advocates” are ramping up to try to shut down racing in Florida. There will be articles in the newspapers quoting the so-called experts from Grey2k USA. There will be picketing of the tracks, small groups of people with inflammatory signs. Sadly these people will never know the truth because while they picket outside the tracks they will never go inside to see for themselves.
So folks please take to time to learn the true facts about how greyhounds are raised and trained. There are groups on Facebook you can join and ask questions, there are kennel pages and farm pages. Please have the courage to open your eyes and your minds to the possibility that all you have been told by the Anti-racing faction might not be the truth. Most importantly look at the greyhound in your own home, the well socialized, loving and kind dog that graces your life is that way thanks to racing, not in spite of it.
Learn about your greyhounds past life and in that knowledge you will honor your greyhound.
Elvis Presley used to use the phrase TCB, meaning “taking care of business”. This entry is a thank you to all the small adoption groups who take care of business. These groups, volunteers all, are totally dedicated to placing greyhounds in loving and responsible homes. These groups don’t get the recognition they truly deserve. The small adoption group does not move hundreds of dogs from tracks to groups all over the country, they will never be “Adoption Group of the Year”, there will never be a “Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year” in their group.
The small group may have a handful of volunteers, few foster homes and exist in out of the way parts of the country. The small groups I’m thanking may only place a few dogs a year, the group may struggle constantly to have enough money, but they continue to work hard for the dogs. These groups do not feel the need for media attention, they don’t claim to be saving greyhound lives. The folks in these groups love greyhounds and honor greyhounds.
So Thank You to all the small groups, you may not get the recognition you deserve, but you go about the job knowing that it is truly for the love of the greyhound. It’s truly “all about the dogs”.
Ah Florida – The Land Of Sunshine, Palm Trees and Greyhound Racing
Nov. 12th we returned from a trip to Jacksonville, FL. The purpose of the trip was to visit our lovely young racer JJ. We had a wonderful time visiting with our girl, watch her race, and helping in the kennel. It was a great week of racing and hanging out with some great folks.
When you are visiting with the happy greyhounds, and the folks who have dedicated their lives to these magnificent dogs, it’s easy to imagine the sport of greyhound racing will go on forever. Yet again the sport is being attacked by those who would see it all end.
Why do they hate us? We love our dogs and would never put them in harms way. The attacks usually come from people who have no experience with racing, and some don’t even have a greyhound. They protest in front of the track, but never enter to see the racing for themselves. If you try to tell them what you have seen with your own eyes, what racing is really like for the dogs, they resort to spewing venom. I was the recipient of this venom after posting to a group of anti-racing people online. I explained that we had just returned from visiting our racer and what we experienced. The response to this from one member of the group was this: “So what I’m hearing from you is that you went to visit your family member in prison and cleaned up the shit and piss he or she is sleeping. Yep that’s a good mommy.” So it is obvious that the radical “greyhound welfare advocates” have no interest in learning the truth.
So again we head toward a new year and a new fight for the future of racing, and the future of the greyhounds we love. We will try to patiently and politely educate the public, and the politicians about greyhound racing, but it’s an uphill battle. It’s a battle against zealots, lies and money. It’s a battle worth fighting for a way of life, and for the future of the Racing Greyhound.
Today is the day we give thanks for family and friends and all the blessings we receive. Since this is a greyhound blog I have to give thanks for the greyhounds in my life: Gin aka I Live For this is 12 years old, Catch aka Catch Phrase is 11, Satin aka Git N Stormy is 10, Miranda is 8, Rory aka Golden Regent is 6, Sammy our greyhound cross is approximately 10. The newest member of our greyhound pack is Jean aka Jean Krupa. Jean is now 6 years old. If you read “My Journey” then you followed the racing career of Jean. I would also be remiss if I failed to mention our current racer, JJ aka Jazzy aka Jerry’s Jazzy. JJ is the daughter of our Jean Krupa and is now 2 years old.
On this Thanksgiving I am thankful for all those who have made it possible for us to have our wonderful greyhounds, the farms, finishers, and trainers. On this Thanksgiving day these folks, who have dedicated their lives to the amazing greyhound, will be up early to care for the greyhounds. The work on the farm or the kennel doesn’t stop for the holiday. These dedicated folks will be up early to care for their greyhounds. In the racing kennel the day starts early, usually around 5:30am. The dogs will be turned out, and while they are outside, their bedding will be changed. The floor of the kennel needs to be swept and mopped. As soon as the dogs come back in the morning feeding will begin. After breakfast it’s time to “bench” the dogs who raced the day before, the dogs will be gone over with a fine tooth comb to make sure there is no soreness. Finally when all the morning work is done, the humans can have their breakfast. The dogs always come first. The dogs will be turned out at least two more times before the day is over.
So I want to wish all the folks who cared for and loved my greyhounds a very Happy Thanksgiving, because of you we have the wonderful retired athletes that grace our homes every day.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
This entry is dedicated to the men and women who raise and train our greyhounds. While we are enjoying our Christmas morning these dedicated folks will be up early, not to open presents, but to to care for the dogs. No matter the weather, rain, or snow the dogs come first.
So as you gaze at your greyhounds this Christmas morning give a thought to the Dogmen and Dogwomen, and understand that these dedicated folks loved them first.
I wish you all love, peace and understanding.