Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My first dog

Tuesday program interruption: I GOT A DOG!!! A retired racing greyhound!!!

At age 32, I finally got my first dog.

Yes, I grew up with dogs. Yes, I’ve lived with dogs. But this is the first dog that is mine. Me, totally responsible for its well-being.

(uhhhh nobody call PETA)

I fell in love with the greyhound breed back in March, when I traveled to Rock Hill, SC and stayed with my friend Becca who owned a greyhound named Ranger. 

I had never seen a breed that chill and docile and quiet before. All Ranger did was sleep and ask for hugs with his long face.

And I wanted one.

After several Greyhound “meet-n-greets” in Charleston to confirm that they all had this temperament, I applied to be a foster and she arrived on Sunday. 

She’s going to be three years old in December and her last race was on July 17, 2015.

I have the first dibs on the option to adopt her, but they’re giving us a month together to make that decision. 

Many greyhounds need to be with other dogs, since they’ve been raised their whole lives in very close quarters with their litter mates.

Her name is Kiawah, because her racing name was Kiowa and I wanted to keep it. But I changed the spelling to Kiawah because that’s a gorgeous island in South Carolina.

But it’s not like she knows her own name anyway, since greyhounds are never called by their names.

They only have names so people at the racetrack can bet on them. They stay in cages 23 hours a day with a muzzle on.

What I've read about greyhounds is that they don’t know how to be “dogs” because they are raised to essentially be machines. Only existing for one job to do, run as fast as possible for 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

They don’t know how to walk up stairs, they don’t know how to walk on a leash, they don’t know what love is.

We went on our first walk this morning—it’s likely it was her first walk, period—and she didn’t know that she could leave my side.

Like...leave my side as in she was glued to my leg as if we were conjoined twins.

I know!!!! How sad!!! Go get those squirrels, Kiawah!!!

And I’m short, so she was basically leaning against my waist. With all 60 pounds.

Currently, Kiawah whines at night (I hope she doesn’t miss her dog friends too much) and she needs to work on her table manners (especially because she’s so tall, her head sits perfectly on the table).

But I am in love. 

When I bend down to hug her she leans into me. When she walks around, I’m in awe of her size and hind legs. She can run 40 miles per hour, which is higher than the speed limit on my street.

And she follows me all over the house which is totally endearing.

She doesn’t seem to mind my bad taste in TV, and the “why the long face?” jokes write themselves.


I need to bring her to PetSmart so she can pick out her favorite toy in the store.

She is wholly uninterested in a tennis ball or stuffed animal. She did, however, take a liking to my sock (next to her head, above) that was promptly taken away. 

When she’s being playful she drops her front legs with her tall butt in the air, shaking it.

She’s learning how to be a dog, and I’m learning how to be a dog mom.  

And this is a race I hope I win.


(Kiawah on her way to Charleston! The volunteer saw a photo opportunity by a greyhound bus.)


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