A Greyhounds Story

The Story of Rido’s Baby aka Baby as told to her owner, one of the racing communities most respected members.

I am a greyhound.  My name is Baby.  This is the story of my life up until today, Jan. 24th, 2011.  My mom was born in Florida back in 1999, her race name is Xmas Spirit, she was given to my owner at the Greyhound Nationals in Abilene, Kansas in the spring of 2001 as part of an agreement on another dog that my owner had bought and the seller had told my owner “you take this one too for nothing just to make sure you get a good deal”. My mom ended up being better than the dog my owner bought and ran in 175 races some in top grade at two very good race tracks, Bluffs Run and Dubuque both in Iowa. She retired in July 2004 and moved to the farm in Vinton, Iowa, where she is with my owner.  Mom is 11 years old and acting younger than I feel on a bad day.  About 10 days before I was born a inspector for the Dept. of Iowa Agriculture came to make sure my mom was in Iowa as my owner wanted to have me be a Iowa Bred Greyhound, then on July 6th, 2006 Spirit had me and my seven sisters and one brother.  The lady from the state came back to check and see what sex we were and how many of us were born.  We were fed twice a day.

My owner’s grandchildren used to come and push us around in doll buggies and play all kinds of games with us, until we got bigger and we would jump out of the buggy and play chase with them. When we were 3 months old our owner tattooed us in the ears, and moved us from the kennel building, with the doors we could open and go in and out ourselves, to some long pens about 400 feet long and 30 feet wide with dog houses and swimming pools in them. I was tattooed with 76C in my right ear and 38764 in my left ear.  I was registered as part of that litter with the NGA (National Greyhound Association).  He also split us in two bunches of 3 girls in each pen.  Our brother went in another one of these pens, right beside ours, with two other boy pups about the same age. We spent much of the day running up and down these pens, racing with the pups in the pens beside ours.  These were fun days, if we weren’t running and playing we were sleeping or playing with who ever came to visit us. At 6 months old the lady inspector returned to make sure we all were still in Iowa and that we hadn’t left the state and to check our tattoos, when she left we were official Iowa Bred Greyhounds.

At 14 months all eight of us were sent to Kansas to be trained to race. I never did understand why they call it “being trained to race” because what I did came naturally to me, it was to chase something, anything, that would move and try to catch it. I also learned how to go around curves because there weren’t any curves in the runs that I had been in for almost a year. The hardest part of my training was to learn what a lead was, I sure hated it the first time it was hooked to my collar. I overheard the man and lady that were training us talking about how we girls looked pretty good but our brother didn’t try all the time and hoped he would start trying all the time or he wasn’t going to make it as a race dog.

After being at the training farm for around 4 months I heard a voice I knew from the past, it was my owner and he was there to pick us up and take us to the race track. Boy were we glad to see him, he always had a treat or two for us.  We were used to being hauled to the training track which was maybe 12 miles away so the trip from Kansas to Iowa seemed like it took forever.  Before we left we were taken to the local veterinarian and all our shots were updated and we were given a Health Certificate.

My owner took each one of us and filled out the paper work to make us Individually Registered. He wrote down all our tattoos and markings, breed and a race name and sent it off with checks for the proper amounts to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and the National Greyhound Association. I also found out that my owner was no longer my owner as he had registered us in his wife’s name.

It was fun at the race track, I got baths and the new people I met brushed me and gave me dogie treats. I was put on a grooming bench every time I came back from being worked or unofficial schooled. It seemed like we all got lots of loving and rest and work and lots of attention. Finally my papers got to the track and I was entered in an official schooling race, in which I ran away from the rest of the field, my old owner, who was now my trainer, was very proud of me.  Two of my sisters won also. I was entered in another schooling race, and won in the fastest schooling time of the day. I was then entered in a real race, an official Maiden race, but this time something happened that no one knew about except me and I never told anyone, but when the box opened I didn’t chase the lure hard at all.  The comment by the chart writer said “faltered stretch, trailed”. I heard a bunch of the trainers say I was done, they might as well give me away for a pet.  My trainer took me back to the kennel and went over me from the tip of my head to the end of my tail but couldn’t find anything wrong with me. He has trained for ever, or so it seems, and he said something happened to her in the jenny pit, hope she comes out of it. He unoffical schooled me over and over, first real short distances then farther and farther and I started chasing the lure a little harder each time. He would take me to the jenny pit and put me in a crate and leave me for a bit, then come and get me and walk me to the starting box or have someone else do it and then school me. Two of my sisters were winning races and I wasn’t even being official schooled. Finally in June, almost 30 days from the first official maiden race, he entered me in an official schooling race and I won it. I was entered in another and won it too.  On June 29th, I drew in a maiden race and this time the chart writers comment said “Not To Be Denied. Md.”

Over the years I have raced in Iowa, Texas and Florida. I wasn’t a big time stakes dog or ever the best dog in any of the racing kennels I was in, but I was always taken well care of and I did race upper grades at the tracks I ran at. I will be 5 years old this summer and I have been told I will be going back to the farm I was born on.  I will see my owners grandkids again and raise some babies of my own. I am the only one left racing out of all my sisters and brother, the rest are all retired and all but one are someone’s pets. My one sister is already at the farm and I will get to see her and my mom again when I get back to Iowa. I will wait here in Florida until spring because it’s warmer and I did win my next to last race.

Well, I got back to the farm in Iowa, but I didn’t want to stay there.  I wanted to race some more.  I raised such a ruckus that my owner let me come with him to Dubuque  Greyhound Park so I could stay in the kennel with the other dogs.  I’m happy now.  God bless you all and thanks for reading my story. Rido’s Baby aka Baby.   

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