Rescue Tails #2
Portia — Fastest Couch Potato in the World
Wendy and Bryan Osmar have always had a dog in the family; like a fur-child to go along with their two human ones. There was Roxie, the boxer, then Kady, the West Highland Terrier, and then Newman, the English Bulldog. But it is a bittersweet reality that dogs have much shorter lives than humans and that human children grow up and leave their parents. When Newman passed on, and both kids moved away from home, Wendy and Bryan found themselves with a very empty nest indeed. There was only one thing to do; get a new fur-baby!
In Oakville, where they live, Wendy and Bryan knew a number of people with greyhounds that were retired racing dogs. They loved the elegant look of the dog, the many coat varieties, and the docile, quiet nature of the breed. They also discovered that greyhounds, while extremely athletic, are actually couch potatoes when at home. They do need a few good walks each day, as does any dog, but are quite content to just laze about the house the rest of the time.
While greyhound racing is not illegal in Canada, it is not popular and there is only one greyhound race track, in Alberta. However, the sport is very popular in the United States and there are thousands of race tracks across the country. Greyhounds typically race only for a few years and retire between the ages of 2 – 4 years. Consequently, there are many young, healthy retired race dogs that need loving forever homes. Wendy and Bryan knew there are several rescue groups in Ontario that bring greyhounds up from the States to find homes for them in Ontario, but since they spend a lot of time at their vacation condo in Sarasota, Florida, they decided to check there. They visited the Sarasota Kennel Club and were pleasantly surprised to find an adoption agency, appropriately called “Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption”, right at the track. The woman at the agency knew all the adoptable dogs well and once she had interviewed Wendy and Bryan and had them watch a race to see what the dogs were trained to do, and decided she knew “the perfect dog” for them. She had another volunteer bring out a gorgeous red brindle whose professional name was “Maiden Star”. Although the dog was a little timid with them at first, Wendy and Bryan were quite sure she was the dog for them. They decided “Portia” would be a better name for a pet, not to mention easier to call out at the dog park!
Portia was only 2 ½ years old when Wendy and Bryan got her. Wendy thinks it may have quickly become clear to her trainers at the track that she had more couch potato in her than runner. But her career as Wendy and Bryan’s fur-baby has been extremely successful. Portia loves human attention and is a very gentle dog. “She goes up to everyone to say hello. I think she likes to hang out with people more than other dogs.” Her favourite toys are fuzzy, squeaky toys. “When she gets excited she loves to grab one and squeak away.”
One of Portia’s funniest quirks is what Wendy refers to as her “reverse gear”. “If she walks into a room where the floors are very smooth or slippery, she doesn’t turn around and go out, she backs out of the room very slowly and carefully!”
If you are interested in finding out more about adopting a retired greyhound, you don’t have to go all the way to Florida! Check out the following rescue agencies online:
Greyhound Relocation & Adoption Canada www.gracanada.com
Needle-Nose Greyhound Adoption www.needlenose.ca
Greyhounds In Need of Adoption (GINA) www.meetgina.ca