Welcome to the blog My Journey. I am coming late to blogging but felt that my experience, or My Journey, might help others understand racing from the perspective of an adoption person who became a racing owner. Now, a little about the beginning of My Journey.
My journey with Greyhounds began in 1997 when we adopted our first Greyhound, Merlin aka Paxton BLt. We began volunteering with our adoption group and soon adopted our second Greyhound, Doc Blue. Our group was anti-racing and their information about racing and what we found on the internet supported that stand.
In 2003 we were asked to take over adoptions for our group so that the director could focus on greyhound “advocacy”. The director wanted a separate name for the group and we agreed, we also said we did not want to be political and was agreed to. It was after this new beginning that we began to learn the other side of the story of racing. We were invited to visit farms, kennels and the race track. It became clear that we had been misinformed. In the fall of 2003 we were asked to leave the group but we kept our group going, working more with racing and learning more with each visit.
In 2009 I was plunged into racing with the donation of the young pup named Hudson Brawl.
Husdy was donated to our group as part of the Race For Adoption program and was registered in my name, the owners portion of the winnings would go to our adoption group. In one fell swoop I became part of the racing “industry”. Watching Hudsy race I knew I was hooked. After his retirement, and return to my home, I held onto the dream of owning another racer.
The dream was realized in 2010 in the form of a young pup named Jean Krupa. “Baby” Jean began her career at the beginning of 2011 at Jacksonville, Florida racing for Lester Raines Kennel.
“Baby” Jean is a Grade A racer over the 660 distance course. That is a short history of my journey with Greyhounds up until now. I hope anyone reading my blog will enjoy it, but more importantly, learn a bit more about racing through my perspective.
Oct. 1, 2011
“Baby” Jean wins her first 660 yard race over the distance course! My baby girl had been bouncing between Grade A and B for a few weeks. This was a Grade B race and my baby girl drew the 1 box! “Baby” Jean won her race “box to wire”! As my husband and I watched, via the computer, cheering her on, our retired greyhounds began to bark and “roo” with us. “Baby” Jean will now be racing in Grade A.
Oct. 5, 2011
On Oct. 3 I received a text message from “Baby” Jeans trainer. He said, “I would love to run Candy Jean (her kennel name is Candy) until she’s old and gray but if you want to give her a chance to run Wheeling for big $$$, the choice is yours”. I stared at my phone in shock, my baby racing at Wheeling?! What to do. I called my partner in the ownership of “Baby” Jean and he said it was my decision to make. For those of you reading this, and I hope someone is, Wheeling is one of the meccas of Greyhound racing, the top racers compete at Wheeling and the competition is tough. So much to consider, I never got into this for money it was for the love of the dogs and the love of the sport. In the past Wheeling had been known for injuries but the track had closed and the surface reworked and is now much safer and injuries have declined. My one concern for “Baby” Jean is always injuries, now I know it can happen in your own backyard due to the fact that one of my Greyhounds broke a foot just roaming around in our backyard, but still you don’t want it to happen to your racer or any racer. I was assured that her new trainer would let us know immediately if anything happened. Then the question, what if she doesn’t like it there and doesn’t do well? Her current trainer assured me that she would return to him in Florida. After much discussion we decided to give her a chance. “Baby” Jean will continue to run distance and will leave for West Virginia in the next couple of weeks. She will carry my heart with her to Wheeling.
Oct. 7, 2011
My “Baby” Jean will race on race Saturday evening, Oct. 9. She will be racing over the 660 yard distance course and will have box 2. It is the 15th race which means we have to wait most of the evening for her race. We won’t miss it though, we will be watching our girl. This will be a Grade A race, the competition is always rougher but our baby girl has a big heart. Race swiftly and safely “Baby” Jean, you carry our hearts with you.
Oct. 9, 2011
“Baby” Jean ran a MONSTER race last night. We are so proud of her. It was the last race of the night and a distance race over the 660 yard course (3/8ths). She broke wonderfully and lead the pack, another dog challenged her but she pulled ahead of that dog as well. She lead for the whole race until the race favorite caught her at the jump to the wire. It was a photo finish and before the picture and results were put up I got a text message from her trainer telling me she ran a wonderful race and he was so proud of her. I told him to be sure she got her favorite treats of marshmallows and bananas when she got back to the kennel. It was a heart-stopping race and we cheered her all the way around. What a night!
One of the biggest events in racing is coming up this week, it is the Fall National Meet. Breeders from all over bring their young greyhounds to compete in the races at the Meet. There is also lots of wonderful socializing and it ends with two days of auctions where folks have the opportunity to buy the pups they have just seen race. The Meet takes place in Abilene, Kansas. I bring this up because it was this time last year that “Baby” Jean ran at Fall Meet 2010. I had just purchased half ownership in Jean. It was exciting to know that she was racing there with some of the best young pups in the country.
I realized I didn’t explain how I came to buy half interest in “Baby” Jean. Her breeder had donated her naming rights to our adoption group for the silent auction at our annual picnic that was in Sept. of 2010. Looking at the picture of the young girl I fell in love with that face, I did not win the naming rights but kept thinking about her. I contacted her breeder and inquired about buying half interest in her. He loves to help new people get into greyhound racing and he let me know what it would cost. I approached my husband while we were sitting out on the porch and asked him about the possibility. I told him it could be my birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day and Christmas present for the next few years. He agreed and the deal was done. We could either put her in the auction or we could keep her to race, he was agreeable to either decision. I told him I wanted the thrill of watching her race. “Baby” Jean left for Jacksonville, FL that weekend and the rest is history.
Please check back for my next installment of “My Journey”.
Oct. 12, 2011
“Baby” Jean just finished her race this evening. She ran in the 9th race out of the 3 box. “Baby” Jean pulled a 3rd out of this race and ran safely and that’s what it’s all about. It is a thrill to watch her compete and I’m always in awe of her competitive spirit and her big heart. She ran a good race and that’s all we ever ask of her. Have a good night’s rest baby girl.
1015201115E This is Jean Krupa’s Final Orange Park Race
Oct. 16, 2011
“Baby” Jean raced last night in the 15th race at Orange Park. The computer had drawn the 4 box for our girl. It was the last race of the night and after a busy day it was all we could do to stay awake for the race, time zone differences can be rough. I was just too tired to write on the blog last night once the race was over.
“Baby” Jean was pinched hard at the break and didn’t get a very good break. Taking up the challenge, as she always does , Jean dug in and raced to a 4th place finish. She has so much “heart” and that is the highest praise that can be given a racing greyhound. She came off safe and sound and is ready to race another day.
Oct. 17, 2011
“Baby” Jean is now in West Virgina. She in a kennel at Tri-State right now and will be moved to Wheeling tomorrow.
A big thank you to her Jacksonville trainer Mike, she wouldn’t be where she is today if not for his care, love and patience.
A new journey now begins for “Baby” Jean.
Nov. 24, 2011
I haven’t written anything in this blog since Oct. 17th when “Baby” Jean arrived in West Virginia. It’s been 5 weeks since “Baby” Jean raced. Of course she’s been sprinted and had morning schooling every week while waiting to start her new career in West Virginia. I have missed watching “Baby” Jean race but finally, it appears, the long wait is over. “Baby” Jean ran her first Official Schooling race on Wed. Nov. 23. She came in second so, hopefully, will be put in the rotation to start officially racing. I don’t know yet when that day will be.
I also want to take this opportunity to wish a blessed Thanksgiving to any of you out there who are reading this blog. I have much to be thankful for, family and friends, my wonderful retired hounds who share my home and life and little Miss “Baby” Jean who has made us all so proud.
December 13, 2011
It has been so long since I last posted on this blog. Life sometimes gets in the way of just sitting and typing. Since I last made an entry “Baby” Jean has run 3 races. She began her career at Wheeling Downs in Grade A. She ran three races at that grade. Her first race she got caught in traffic and came in 6th. Her second race she broke slow but managed to gain enough ground to come in 4th., she “hit the pay sheet” meaning she ran in the money. She raced again on Dec. 10th and again came in 4th. Little Miss “Baby” Jean has so much heart and she never ever gives up. When she sets another paw on the Wheeling track she will be racing in Grade B.
It’s wonderful to actually see “Baby” Jean race again. I really missed seeing my little one and I felt disconnected from her, now the connection is back. I don’t know when her next race will be, but my guess is this weekend. I will be back on the computer cheering for my baby girl, win, place, show or otherwise. It’s just a wonderful feeling to see her doing something she loves.
I hope to add more to this blog, maybe after her next race. If I don’t get back to this and people are still reading, I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.
December 16, 2011
Hello again. Miss “Baby” Jean will be racing tomorrow evening at Wheeling Downs. “Baby” Jean will be running in her first Grade B race. This a drop in grade for her but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It will be another 548 yard race. It is race 6 and she will be coming out of the 5 box. I hope that post position will suite her as she usually likes the inside boxes. We will be watching “Baby” Jean on the computer on Saturday evening. It’s always a time of anticipation and excitement. So run fast and safely little one, you carry my heart in every race.
January 7, 2012
A new year has dawned and I hope it is a good year for everyone. I am now playing catch up on my blog due to the holidays. I hope I can remember everything accurately. “Baby” Jean has had 3 races since my last entry. She raced on December 17th, that was a Grade B, 6th race and she came out of Box 5. Jean gave it her usual hard try and came home in 3rd place. On December 26 she was back to work in a Grade B, 18th race breaking out of Box 8, Jean has never liked running from the far outside so I was just hopeful that she would make a good showing and have a safe trip. She surprised us with coming in at 3rd place again. Jean started the new year off as she raced on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, this was also a Grade B race and she drew the 4 box for this trip. She ran an awesome race and came home in 2nd place. We are so very proud of her.
Sunday, Jan. 8th will have her racing again in Grade B and breaking from Box 2. It’s the 15th race of the afternoon. We will be gathered around our computer as usual to watch her race. Run swiftly and safely “Baby” Jean. We are so very, very proud of you.
January 9, 2012
Wow what an afternoon! “Baby” Jean was at the top of her game and would have won except for being caught by another dog at the very last second. It was a photo finish and you just sit there impatiently waiting for the official word. She ran an awesome race and we are so very proud of her. Here is a picture of “Baby” Jean taken by Beth Cooper before her race.
January 19, 2012
Wow, what a race that “Baby” Jean ran on Sunday, Jan. 15th. It was a cold day in West Virginia and you could see some snow on the ground but Jean was warm in the Ginny Pit waiting for her race and during the Parade To The Post she had on a warm coat. You may wonder how they can run races during the cold of winter, well besides the fore mentioned coats and Ginny Pit, there are heating coils under the track surface to keep the track from freezing. Now back to the race. Jean’s race was the 5th race and she drew Box 3. It was quite a race and Jean was doing great, she made it around the first turn and coming into the home stretch she was battling 4 other dogs. She crossed the wire in a photo finish for the 3rd place. We all thought she had beat the other dog, but apparently the camera showed different, Jean came in with a hard fought 4th place.
It’s been a bit of a weird time for racing this past week, with the news that Skechers had filmed a commercial to be run during the Super Bowl at Tucson Greyhound Park. Apparently this adorable little bull dog complete with a racing blanket and Skechers on his feet will be shown racing against the Greyhounds. It’s all about the underdog. Well, not surprisingly, the anti-racing lobbying group Grey2K USA has gone ballistic. They have been attacking Skechers left and right and called for a boycott of the sneakers if Skechers goes ahead and runs the ad. They have even gotten a petition being signed by folks who really have no clue what racing is all about. So many people have been taken in by this organization and are under the impression that Grey2K USA actually does something for greyhound welfare, such as adopting them out to new homes. No all they do is lobby against racing, they are not even a 501 c 3 but a 501 c 4. Donations to a 501 c 4 are not tax deductible. It appears that Skechers is standing strong and will go ahead and air the commercial during the 2 minute warning before half time. I for one will be watching the Super Bowl and watching for the commercial all the while wearing my new Skechers.
I don’t know yet when “Baby” Jean will race again but you can be sure we will be watching her. I would also be remiss if I didn’t add a big THANK YOU to Beth Cooper, Beth took the above picture of Jean waiting for her race. What a surprise I had earlier in the week when an envelope arrived from Beth and inside was the program for Jean’s race. It’s the only program that I have from any of her races and I appreciated Beth sending it. So, THANK YOU BETH COOPER!
February 13, 2012
I am so far behind on my blog and I am really ashamed of myself. It seems that life and obligations get in the way of my best intentions. Baby Jean has run 3 or 4 races since I last wrote and she has done well in all her races, hitting the pay sheet in all but the last race run this past Sunday. A bit of a crowd in the first turn and coming out of the 8 box, which is not her favorite spot, caused her to miss the pay sheet for the first time in weeks. What was most important though was that she came off safe and sound. Jean seems to be on a regular Sunday schedule right now. I promise to try and do better with my writing.
I was thrilled to hear that the site has been getting more hits. I think a big contributor to that is the articles being written by Dennis McKeon. Dennis is a wonderful writer and has the ability to put into words the things that we as people involved in racing know need to be said. There are so many misrepresentations about racing and they seem to be the ones getting all the media time.
I will admit to shaking my head at the mountain that was made out of the molehill of one Super Bowl commercial all because it showed racing greyhounds in a race with Mr. Quiglly, the French Bulldog wearing his Skechers sneakers. Mr. Quiglly won the race and we all laughed as he “moonwalked” over the finish line. None of us could believe, but should not be surprised, that the lobbying group Grey2K USA felt the need to protest and to boycott Skechers in a vain attempt to get the shoe company to pull the commercial. We were all thrilled that Skechers stayed tough and went ahead with the commercial. If Grey2K USA knew anything about greyhound adoption they should know that anytime you can get greyhounds out in front of the public in a positive way can be good for adoption. They should have known that but since they don’t do adoption they really have no idea.
I hope any of you who come on this website and stumble on my blog will also go ahead and check every page of the site and see the true world of the greyhound, whether racing, showing, coursing or amateur racing the greyhound has so much to give to the pet world. We are all the sum of our past experiences and that is true of the greyhound, the wonderful pet that untold numbers of Americans have come to love owes his/her sweet temperament and sociability to racing not in spite of it. Thanks for reading.
February 21, 2012
I have argued with myself as to what I would write in my blog concerning baby Jean’s last race. Jean ran her usual Sunday schedule on Feb. 19. Jean had a 5 box, which in itself isn’t bad. Jean loves to run the rail and it doesn’t matter what box she breaks from she wants that rail. Sunday didn’t work out too well for her. As she tried to work her way to the inside she got tangled up with the 4 dog, Jean lost her footing and went sliding. My husband Jerry and I held our breath and looked at each other knowing in our hearts that the dog that went for a tumble was our baby Jean. Naturally because of the way the camera is set to send out the signal for the race the dogs at the back of the pack usually are not seen very well on the video. We watched the replay and were sure it was our Jean. I emailed a good friend and asked him if he had seen it, his reply came right away, yes he had seen it but she finished. I also got a message on Facebook from another friend who always watches Jean’s races, he said she finished the race and that the video actually showed her steaming down the straight to finish line. I told Jerry and we both realized, as we watched yet again, the the blur we had seen on the screen was our baby Jean. We then found out later that she came off the track happy and wagging her tail. In the racing world it’s called heart and is the highest compliment paid to any racing greyhound and baby Jean has loads of heart.
You all may wonder why I considered not even writing about this latest race. It is because the operatives of Grey2K USA have attacked me personally on more than one occasion for having an actively racing greyhound. One attack took place just this past week. The person said “don’t tell me you love your dog when you constantly put her in harms way by racing her”. Well, I do love my greyhound no matter what this misguided person says. I do not put her in harms way any more than than one of the leaders of that organization who was protesting Skechers at a shopping center with her greyhound laying behind her with the leash on the ground. No one was paying a bit of attention to the dog and if the dog had gotten spooked by something she could have jumped up and ran before anyone could have done anything, and could have been hit by a car.
I am very tired of the attacks upon those of us who love our greyhounds and love racing. These are people who have never been to a farm, kennel or track. They have no true knowledge of how the greyhounds are cared for and loved by those whose livelihood and lives revolve around these wonderful dogs. So this is why I truly considered not addressing Jean’s last race. We were relieved that Jean came off happy and sound but dread the attacks that could be just around the corner. I swore to myself that I would share my experiences both scary and good and I shall continue to do just that.
March 6, 2012
In my last entry I spoke about Jean’s race where she took a spill. She raced again the following Sunday and did not do well. Jean is a inside runner and does not like outside boxes. I spoke with her trainer last week and he said while Jean was happy and healthy he was concerned the spill had messed with her head a bit. She had run 3 bad races in a row and he was concerned for her confidence. He said if she drew another outside box that he would scratch her and school her some so she could get her confidence back. Last Sunday, Jean drew a 7 box, and her trainer scratched her. Jean will school back tomorrow, Wed. March 7. She has a 5 box for that schooling race. I will not be able to watch because they do not send out a signal for schooling races. I hope she does better and has gotten her confidence back. Jean is a good racer and she has so much heart. I hope she will be back on track now (no pun intended).
Now that I have updated Jean I wanted to mention something that I have been involved in as both an adoption person and a racing person. I got a message from a friend who breeds racing greyhounds in Arizona. One of her pups, a 17 mo. old blue male named Blazin Blue Blast aka Big Blue, has Valley Fever. Valley Fever is a fungal infection that can attack many parts of the body. The spore lives in the dirt in the desert southwest, most notably southern Arizona. The Valley Fever attacked Big Blue’s heart, it caused fluid to build up around his heart. He was going to the vet every 2 to 3 days to have the fluid drained. The vet said that there was a heart surgery they could do to fix the problem and that Big Blue would go on to live a wonderful life as a pet. The cost of this surgery was approximately $6000.00.
I posted about the plight of Big Blue and his loving owner Judi. A wonderful lady named Mary came to the rescue with a suggestion, run an auction for Big Blue. We would only have about 1 week to pull this auction together. Mary said she would handle posting the lots if I would get the word out. We decided the auction would run March 2nd to March 4th. I contacted Wendy, who along with her husband Ken runs Signature Farm in Abilene, KS. Wendy is an administrator of the website and message board Global Greyhounds. Wendy said she would host the auction on Global Greyhounds. Now my job was to get the word out and ask for donations. Thanks to the adoption and racing communities the donations started flowing in. Mary got busy posting the lots and by Friday, March 2nd we were ready to roll. It was so exciting to watch the bids start to add up over the weekend. By Sunday evening the bidding was hot and heavy. When the auction ended at 9pm central time, we tallied up the bids. We were so thrilled to see that we had made $5785.15, all for Big Blue’s medical fund. A lot of the winning bidders have promised to round up their amount and a kennel owner named Linnette offered to donate the $215 to meet our goal of $6000.
Big Blue is on his way home to Arizona now, he had been in Florida getting ready for his racing career when the Valley Fever attacked. He will see the Vet on Friday, March 9. Big Blue now has his own Facebook page where we can all follow his progress.
I have never been so proud to be involved in adoption and racing as I have been this past week. It was just wonderful to see racing and adoption come together to help save the life of one greyhound. Racing is constantly being attacked by Grey2K USA, they claim that racing is cruel and that we don’t love our dogs. They claim that they are the true greyhound welfare advocates, but they have been absent from this effort to save one dog. G2K does not do adoption but they are not above leading people to believe that they do, what they are is a lobbying group determined to end greyhound racing and they really have no true plan to help greyhounds. The true greyhound welfare advocates are the adoption and racing communities and I am very proud to be part of both.
March 21, 2012
It seems like a long time since I have written anything here. It’s been a busy time, working with the auction for Blazin Blue Blast. Big Blue had his heart surgery and is at home recovering. He is doing well. We were so overwhelmed by the generosity of the greyhound folks, both racing and adoption, who participated in the auction to help pay for one dogs surgery to save his life.
Maybe all that good karma came around today at Wheeling Downs. Baby Jean has been off for about 3 weeks. She’s been resting and doing a bit of schooling. Jean had her first race in quite a while today. It was a grade C race and Jean had the one box. Jean loves to run on the inside and we knew that she had the perfect position for her comeback. We were holding our breath as the post time came and the lure started to make it’s way around the track to the start. In a flash they were away. Jean did her usual not so great break from the box, but coming out of the first turn she ran that rail and took command. From the first turn to the end of the race it was baby Jean all the way. We went from holding our breath to yelling at the computer as we cheered our girl on. It was almost like Jean breaking her Maiden all over again. Jean will now go back into grade B and we will keep our fingers crossed that Jean has truly gotten her mojo back, she runs with our hearts every race.
Oct. 6, 2013
It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since my last entry. So much has happened that has kept me away from this blog. There has been so much loss and new beginnings. In April of 2012 I lost my Mother. It was just the beginning of heartbreak and change. In quick succession after the loss of my Mom we lost 3 of our Greyhounds; Express aka Concho Express, Eli aka Just Like A Rock, Prosper aka Always Prosper. Eli gave me a parting gift of a hospital stay, as I was examining him when he came in the house limping I touched his shoulder and he threw his head around and bit me. I was not much interested in the bite, I cleaned it good and bandaged it and rushed Eli to the Vet. It was determined that Eli had a broken shoulder, it was a pathological break from cancer. The next day I noticed that my arm was red and took myself to the doctor, they said the bite was infected and gave me a shot of antibiotics and a prescription for oral antibiotics. The next day the redness had spread and I headed to the emergency room. I was quickly hooked up to 3 different kinds of IV antibiotics and spent 4 days in the hospital.
As 2013 came in we hoped for a better year but there was still more sadness in store for us as we lost our beloved daughter-in-law, Melissa. In August my husband, Jerry, fell from the roof on his ladder. Since then he has been hospitalized 3 times and has undergone brain surgery. He is now on the mend, and we are grateful to the Lord and the skill of the doctors at the University of New Mexico Hospital. I tell you all this as an excuse for not keeping up with things.
Now to the new beginnings, you have read a lot about our racing Greyhound Jean Krupa, known to all as Baby Jean. On April 2, 2013 Baby Jean ran her final race. Jean had 133 races under her racing blanket and it was time to retire her. We hear so much from Grey2K USA about all the injuries incurred by Greyhounds racing, but Jean ran all 133 races injury free. Jean waited at the kennel at Wheeling Downs for a hauler bound for Missouri. Jean retired to her old home and waited to be bred. Jean was bred at the end of September after spending some time on a farm in Abilene, KS. waiting to come into season. Jean is now back at the farm in Missouri and we are waiting to find out if she is in whelp. To the right is a picture of Jean on the farm on top of her dog house. Jean likes to keep track of everyone and supervise any work being done on the farm.
While we wait for Jean to bring new babies into the world we have another new baby beginning his career on the race track. CB Strike Eagle aka Stryker is beginning his career at Orange Park, Jacksonville, Florida. Stryker is racing for the same kennel and under the same trainer as Jean when she began her career. Stryker ran his first Maiden race on Saturday, Oct. 5. While Stryker came in 2nd he has shown the same heart and drive as Jean. We are looking forward to a wonderful career of racing for Stryker.
We continue to do Greyhound adoption, though it has slowed down a bit due to less dogs being bred and our location in Los Lunas, New Mexico a long distance from the race tracks of Florida where most of the Greyhounds race. We enjoy doing Greyhound adoption and have no desire to close our group down even with the availability of Greyhounds greatly diminished.
Some may wonder how I can be part of the Greyhound racing “industry”. My answer is I love racing and I know how well cared for the Greyhounds are when they are racing. I have seen it with my own eyes. I wish that those who blindly follow organizations like Grey2K USA would take the time to learn for themselves what racing is all about. They fill up the coffers of this lobbying organization thinking that they are helping or saving Greyhounds when in fact they are just lining the pockets of those who run the organization and the lobbyists they pay for their various attempts to end racing. I’ve always felt that the money given to these people, who have never “saved” a single Greyhound would be better spent by their local Greyhound adoption program. If you have come to this website and stumbled upon my little blog, I hope that you will read everything available here and get a different perspective on the sport of Greyhound racing.
I promise to do better with this little blog and hope you will visit again.
Oct. 9, 2013
Well I’m back. Stryker ran his second Maiden race today. He came in second after a hard charging race. He lead into the backstretch where he was caught by the #7 dog. It was neck and neck to the finish when the #7 dog pulled ahead by a nose. It was an exciting race and I’m so proud of Stryker, this boy has loads of heart and that is the highest complement given to a racing Greyhound.
I was thrilled when a Facebook friend visited Orange Park and took two pictures of Stryker during turn out. He is one beautiful boy and he has the eye of an Eagle.