And Dancer Makes Three
A Greyhound Menagerie a Trois


Lays Potato Chips have an advertising slogan which says: "Bet you can't eat just one."  I am beginning to think that greyhound lovers have their own version of the slogan: "Bet you can't adopt just one."  As webmaster and photographer for the web site, I am at the kennel a few times each week photographing the new dogs as they arrive from the track.  I try to post them on the site as soon as possible.  Over months of doing this, I have come to know and love many of the dogs.  Some create a special place in my heart.  I am happy whenever one of the greyhounds gets a new home, but when these heart stealers are adopted, I have bittersweet feelings.  I am happy for their newfound lives in loving families, but I know that I will miss them.  Diamond and Sahara are two who recently presented me with this mix of emotions.  Until now,  I have resisted the urge to adopt every greyhound I fall in love with.  After all, I am not the only person who can give a greyhound a loving home.  Plus, I have two greyhounds.  You have seen photos of my greyhounds all over the web site.  Whenever I need a photo to illustrate a page or article, I enlist one of them. My resolve, however, weakened two weeks ago when I photographed a new recruit named Dancer.

Dancer had been a top racer.  She injured a front ankle.  Because she had been such an excellent racer, she was allowed to heal and given another try.  It didn't work.  Her ankle could not withstand the rigors of racing.  A call was made to Marilyn - patron saint of greyhounds - and soon Dancer arrived at the Greyhound Adoption Service kennel.  I scooted up to the kennel on a Saturday to photograph her and another new dog.  Marilyn was busy as usual, so Carla ( a long time volunteer for the organization) and I set about taking pictures.  We took Dancer out to the front of the kennel to take advantage of the spring flowers and greenery as background.  Dancer immediately began to charm me.  Marilyn had told me that she had been trained to respond to a few commands like sit and down.  Sit she did, in fact she sat, gave her paw, went down, and then rolled over.  She went through the entire routine on just the command of sit.  She kept looking at us as if to say, "Stop me when I get it right."  She was truly eager to please.  And the roll over!! When she got to that part of the routine, she forgot herself for a moment and luxuriated on the lawn.  Her face told the story of how good it felt to wiggle about on her back in the bed of thick spring grass.   She was not above asking Carla to give her a good belly rub.

Dancer cracked us up during the entire photo shoot.  With her pleasing personality and sense of humor, I was smitten.  I went home and called my husband, Ira, who was away for a few days on a business trip.  He listened, and then asked: "What's different about this dog?"  It was true.  I had been in love many times at the kennel but this was the first dog since doing the web site that I considered as a possible new member to our family.  I thought about it and the answer became clear.  Dancer was the first dog that not only I liked, but that I thought my husband would like as would the rest of our canine crew.  I realized that it wasn't enough for me to fall in love because the new dog would affect the entire family.

On Tuesday, Dancer was spayed, and by Thursday, she was well enough to come home with me.  She was excellent in the car.  When we arrived at the house, my human family was there to help with the introduction of Dancer to our canine family.  One at  a time, we brought the dogs outside to meet Dancer.  The front of the house is not part of our dogs' domain, and would therefore be neutral territory.  I held Dancer on her leash, and Ira held one of the other dogs.  The meetings were uneventful except for Timber.  Dancer struck an amorous chord in him.  She declined his advances curtly.

It has been a week since Dancer moved in.  She is learning to live in our house.  Each day she overcomes new challenges like climbing stairs, meeting the giant dogs  (our two horses), and learning her place in the pecking order.  GingerBear, the 11 year old corgi we rescued when his owner died, is the undisputed leader.  She respects his snarls and evil glances when she gets too near his food bowl or place of rest.  Jasper, our 1 year old greyhound rescued last year from Greyhound Adoption Service, has become Dancer's playmate.  They love being out in the yard together.  They do border patrol several times daily.  It is a delight to the eye to watch their graceful bodies run in unison about the yard.  Timber, our 3 year old whom we adopted from Greyhound Adoption Service two years ago, has learned to curb his amorous ways.  Bella , our 6 year old terrier cross, rescued when her previous owner got tired of having dogs, is still the unknown.  She is little and fuzzy.  Time will tell if they become friends or merely tolerate each other.

Why am I telling you this tale of tails?  Several reasons.  First greyhounds get along well together.  If you have one, you might consider introducing another.  Several factors go into making such a decision.  Do you have the time to give the dogs the attention they need?  Do you have the space?  Can you make the financial commitment?  In choosing a second dog to bring into your family, you need to consider the personality, gender and age of your first dog.  I have had people inquire about a dog based only on its color.  We all have our favorites, but in a successful adoption, color is the least important factor.  Bringing your dog to the kennel when you visit to choose a second is an excellent idea.  How long have you had your dog?  I have waited a year between greyhounds.  I feel that each needs a chance to get established and feel secure in the home before another is brought into the mix.  If you feel that two greyhounds are not right for your family, that's fine, too.  I am glad you opened your heart and home to one.

My motive is not to turn you into a collector of dogs.  I know many good-hearted people that have too many dogs.  Dogs require your attention.  They love you and need that love back.  I am fortunate to work out of my home.  I spend quality time with each dog each day.  I have a large fenced in back yard.  The dogs get plenty of exercise with each other through games of chase, ball and tag.  I am willing to spend the necessary money on dog food, and veterinary care.  I make the time to keep them clean and well groomed, including teeth, nails and coat - which all require regular care.  Dancer is the last dog for us now.  We feel that she brings us to the limit of being able to address all of these issues for each dog. Adopting a dog in need of a home is a rewarding experience.  Done properly, it will be a tail-wagging adventure of love and loyalty that will last a lifetime.  If you did it once, consider adopting a second greyhound.  To paraphrase the old Wrigley gum ad:

"Double your pleasure.
  Double your fun.
  Consider two greyhounds
  Instead of just one!"


Story by Deborah Schildkraut
Webmaster for Greyhound Adoption Service