When people meet my greyhound they often ask, “Did you rescue her?” I say “yes” but always feel awkward about it.
It’s an odd question. Yes, she used to race and then her racing career ended, and twenty years ago that would be a death sentence for a greyhound. Yes, I adopted her. No, I did not break into the dog track, tear open her kennel and fight our way out in a hail of bullets. I would, though.
Greyhound people will instead ask, “Was she an ex-racer?” The answer is rarely no. In the United States virtually all greyhounds are ex-racers.
There are only thirteen states with active dog tracks. Massachusetts has two: Wonderland and Raynham Park. Vision raced at Raynham until they kicked her out, probably with some embarrassment.
In 2008 there will be a statewide referendum to ban greyhound racing. The 2000 referendum was barely defeated by two percentage points and of course that was before the Michael Vick scandal. The racing industry is therefore taking this one seriously and has repeatedly claimed that “more than 90 percent” or even “100 percent” of ex-racers are eventually adopted. This is patently ludicrous as 100 percent of dogs of no breed are suitable for living in a home. It also ignores a most basic fact about selective breeding: not every dog is a candidate for racing at all. These dogs are culled before they ever make it to a track.
Vision had three littermates. Two dogs raced but their careers have ended. One never raced. After that, the records end. It’s impossible to know for sure, but probably no one rescued them.