Recently the fourth-graders of Sacred Heart elementary school in Hampton, NH, were subjected a manipulative, falsehood-filled and hate-fomenting presentation concerning the lives of Racing Greyhounds.
The guest of honor was Grey2K President Christine Dorchak’s pet, Zoe the greyhound, who, in her retirement, had seemingly become the traveling, canine, donation-extracting apparatus of Grey2K. They are a political action/lobbying group, whose goal is to outlaw pari-mutuel wagering on greyhound races while making lots of money doing it. The way they have chosen to accomplish this little miracle of wealth-redistribution, is to demonize an entire working class of racing professionals, by casting Zoe and her greyhound kin as objects of pity, and themselves as a greyhound welfare provider—which they most certainly are not.
Zoe, for once, got a break from what seem to be her usual duties as a stage prop employed to wheedle hard earned currency from the pockets of the easily fooled, and instead was brought to class to meet the children. (It is unclear at this time whether the children’s lunch money was accepted by Grey2K on the spot, or if they were sent home with envelopes to give to their parents.)
According to the Seacoastonline.com article and Grey2K USA volunteer Lorraine Nicotera, Zoe and all of her greyhound brethren are the victims of lifelong abuse and cruelty at the hands of greyhound racing professionals, whose depravity apparently began by having the effrontery to bring them into the world in the first place.
Looking at the photo (01/24/12, posted at Seacoastonline.com) of Zoe and the children, they all appear to be enjoying themselves in one another’s company. Zoe, in particular, looks perfectly relaxed and happy to have all that attention. This casual ease and charm that Zoe appears to be exuding here would seem to fly in the face of what the children had been told that day.
“ ‘I was surprised to learn how cruel they are to the greyhounds’, said fourth-grade student Katia Gaffney. ‘I didn’t realize how often they hurt themselves racing, or that they spend their lives in cages.’ ”
I won’t elaborate on the impropriety of a political action group burdening children with their hateful, demented and warped view of the small class of working people who have engendered, caretaken and supported the modern, racing Greyhound breed, nor will I dignify their lies, here, with a whopper-by-whopper clarification.
It should suffice to say that as a general rule, canines who are the victims of lifelong neglect, abuse and cruelty, require significant, professional and painstaking rehabilitation, and extremely careful and empathetic handling thereafter. Most would certainly be a questionable choice to get up close and personal with young children, who can, at times, be somewhat overly attentive, kinetic, and exuberant with loveable, hugable pets.
Needless to say, Zoe seems to have no problems socializing or mingling with the children (the look on her face says it all)—hardly the behavior of a dog who has endured a lifetime of physical and mental trauma.
Likewise, hundreds of thousands of adopted retired racing greyhounds have made that challenging adjustment of habituation from revered racing athlete to cherished family pet, easily enough so that they have become a literal phenomenon in the pet world. There is no group of owners who are more enthralled with or enthusiastic about their pets than are the members of that ever-growing sorority/fraternity who have been adopted by a retired racing greyhound—or as in many cases, a pack of racing greyhounds. Greyhound pet enthusiasts call the common desire to adopt more and more greyhounds “potato-chipping”—-because, as they say, it is impossible to have just one.
This is so, mainly due to the essence of racing greyhounds. They make fabulous pets. Like all dogs, they reflect their breeding, raising, environment and handling. Dogs who are treated with love and affection tend to express love and affection. Greyhounds are enthusiastically and increasingly sought after as pets, and have become phenomenally successful as pets, precisely because of this immutable cause-and-effect, not in spite of their lives as racers—-no matter how long, or for how young an audience Grey2K decides to perform its tragic, mythic Kabuki Dance.