Thursday, April 3, 2014
C is for Chase: Life with a Greyhound
In January of 2012, our beloved cat, Sam, died from a cancerous tumor in his nasal cavity. My husband and I were literally devastated. We had endured several miscarriages back to back, and the loss of one of our fur babies seemed too much to bear.
At that time, we had another furbaby, Tessa, a dachshund-beagle mix that had been my constant companion for almost a decade. Tessa liked having Sam around for company, and we knew she would need a buddy. That May, we attended the Pet Fiesta in Reston, Virginia, and one of the vendors was Greyt Expectations--a retired racer rescue.
The following month, we found ourselves at Greyt Expectations' adopt-a-thon in Lusby, Maryland, where a white and brindle-spotted greyhound named Starz Megabucks leaned against my husband. He had just been returned by his original adopters that weekend when they encountered financial difficulties and had to return him. We heard his story and saw his sweet, soulful face, and it was all over. "Megabucks"--now known as Chase--came home with us that day.
You may have heard that retired racing greyhounds are couch potatoes, and for the most part that's true, but we got the one greyhound mixed with a border collie (I'm kidding, of course, but the energy level isn't much of an exaggeration). The first week we had him, he wanted to go somewhere and do something every second. I couldn't sit down without him whining in my face. I walked him and walked him and walked him, only to bring him inside and find he wanted to go for another walk. I couldn't get anything done! He followed me from room to room, constantly standing right beside me staring at me as though he needed/wanted something. He woke at 4 a.m. (and sometimes even earlier) pacing our bedroom, whining. I let him out and fed him at crazy hours. I was exhausted! I felt like I had a toddler in the house.
Chase settled in after a few weeks and we established a schedule for him, and he seems to crave that, as he does not like to deviate from set routines. He is much more of a couch potato these days, but he still loves his walks and his early morning wake-up calls (usually at 5 a.m. now), but we usually get up at that time, too.
In his day, Chase ran 74 races and won 8 of them (his record also boasted an impressive array of second and third places). We had the pleasure of viewing some of his old racing videos, and we felt a surge of pride watching him outmaneuver all the other dogs on the track, coming up from the back suddenly to shoot across the finish line. Viewing these videos, my husband and I glimpsed the feeling of proud parents who watch their kids win a soccer or lacrosse match, or score the winning goal in a football game. And in many ways, having Chase is like having another person in the house, as he often seems to know what we're saying. Chase is intuitive, perceptive, and intensely sensitive. He has brought us immense joy and has filled a void in our lives left by miscarriages and disappointment.
April is national greyhound adoption month, and I cannot recommend these dogs highly enough as companion animals. They are mellow, clean, and extremely sweet-natured. Many are good with kids, cats, and small animals. They love to run, but they also love to recline, and more than anything, they love having their family around them.
To see one of Chase's races from 2011, click on the link below. Chase was #2 Starz Megabucks.