Racing For Their Lives

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I remember the day I first saw her. The barn doors opened and rows of cages held long nosed, pointy eared dogs eager to be set free. How was I going to choose just one?
Luckily, the kind woman who cared for all the greyhounds, took one shy brindle female from her cage and introduced her to me. “This is Anastasia.” I ran my hand along her bony spine, took the leash climbed into my two door, Pontiac and headed home.

I was told Anna was approximately three to five years old. She was an ex-racer. Numbers that identified her previous owner and birth date were tattooed in her ear. Anna’s life had been spent in a cage. She joined our family in our small two bedroom home in 1995. Arielle was two years old. Anna was the best dog I have ever had the joy of knowing and perhaps that is why it has taken me so long to write about her. She has been gone for over two years and thoughts of her bring a tinge of longing to feel her wet nose on my hand or see her run one last time.

Memories of Anna make me smile. Like the day Eric got the bright idea to put on a pair of roller blades and race with her on the leash-he forgot that Anna could stop instantly and he couldn’t. When they reached the end of the street, Eric dropped the leash and went flying and Anna stood and looked at him quizzically. I laughed.

Then there was the time I made paper mache Easter eggs. I tied all the balloons covered in paper mache outside on our porch to dry. Several hours later, I found only strings dangling from my chairs. Anna had eaten all of them. Colorful pieces of balloon decorated my patio. I should have known better because a year earlier we woke Easter morning to find all of our hidden decorated hard-boiled eggs, gone. Anna.

Anna’s favorite activity was sleeping. I had read that greyhounds sleep up to seventy percent of a day and Anna certainly proved that correct. She could curl her bony body up on a single couch cushion and stay there for hours even with little hands poking her chest and pulling on her ears. One day, when I was eight months pregnant with Kai, I decided to go for a half mile walk to the bagel store. I took Anna with me thinking she would enjoy a little outing. On the way home she directed me to a grassy area along the sidewalk. When I walked her over onto the grass, she plopped down. She was done with our little walk. There I stood with my huge belly and napping greyhound on the side of the road.

Before Anna died, I began to research greyhound racing and Florida tracks. I was horrified at what I read. Thousands of greyhound puppies and ex-racers are killed every year. Litters of puppies are culled and the dogs that make it to the track often live in disgusting conditions. When owners cannot afford their care or do not have use for them sometimes they are destroyed inhumanely. One disturbing story tells of a man in Georgia who was paid to kill greyhounds illegally and then mysteriously died before he went to trial.

I made my own bumper sticker and put it on my car: Greyhounds For Pets-Not Profit. I believed that one day greyhound racing would be banned. But here it is fifteen years later and still thousands of greyhounds are killed for the sport. Personally, I cannot understand why as a society we need to abuse animals for profit when there are many other ways to gamble. Stick a quarter in a slot machine and know that no greyhounds were brutally slaughtered-it makes sense. I love living in Florida but I am ashamed of our greyhound tracks. I think there’s a better way for Florida to collect revenue. It’s time to think outside of the the cage.




K.D. Rausin

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. karyn
    Jun 20, 2010 @ 12:59:17

    Your blog post about Anna made me smile and cry.

    My tears come from the sharing of joy and sadness while remembering my own hound who went to the Rainbow Bridge 3 1/2 years ago. He was my heart boy and will always be with me. His name was Painter and he passed at 12 1/2.

    Greyhounds give us so much while asking for so little.

    I would like to ask you and your followers to join the efforts of GREY2K USA in helping to end dog racing nationwide. There are still tracks in 7 states (including 13 tracks in Florida). No matter where you live, you can get involved and take action.

    The cruel sport of greyhound racing must end. Dogs deserve better.

    Reply

  2. kdrausin
    Jun 22, 2010 @ 11:11:27

    Thank you for reading my blog.

    I posted a link to your website at the top of this article. Thank you for all that you are doing to help greyhounds.

    Krista

    Reply

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