Tag Archives: retired racing greyhound

no dog for me :(

Ok, it’s official. I’ve sent the text messages and the emails to confirm that I will not be getting a retired racing greyhound. Once again, I had an allergic reaction to the dog, and dealing with a new allergy is just not something I’m willing to take on at this time. I’m sad to reach this decision because I really love the breed, but I am allergic to these dogs–which I hope I can remember in a few weeks when I really want to get one again!–so they are not an option for me.

sad greyhound

This face 😦  flickr image by rockman13

I’ll probably still get a dog, but not right now. I did a lot of research on the retired racing greyhound, and I’m sad that I won’t be able to get one. The only drawback was that they can’t be off leash. That puts a damper on camping and hiking. I loved everything else about the breed, though. I love the way they look. I love their history. I love their peaceful demeanor. I love the personality traits typical of the breed. 

Now I have to start my research process all over again. I am hoping that if I stay open to the possibility, the right dog/breed of dog will find me. So, I’m doing more research. I don’t really want a puppy. I’ll probably end up with a smaller dog and one that is more traditionally hypoallergenic like some sort of terrier/poodle/shih tzu mix. Small enough that there isn’t a lot of dog to have an allergic reaction to in the first place, but big enough that it won’t get swooped up by a hawk. Knowing me, my need to research everything, and my schedule, it might not happen for awhile. In the meantime, the search continues. 

on dogs, and babes, and boyfriends

Though I would like to keep this to myself, I need to write about this weekend because it was…emotional. The catalyst was the home check with the greyhound adoption group. As much as I want to separate the dog from the family from the partner from the question of ever having a child of my own from the art, I just can’t. The visit set off a paroxysm of emotions, revelation, and reevaluation.

There are lots of reasons why I want a dog (reasons that don’t have to do with family/relationship stuff) and a few really good reasons not to get a dog (not least of which is the fact that I am mildly allergic).

Emotionally, this has all been unexpectedly risky territory. Z was supposed to come straight from work to catch the last half of the greyhound interview, but instead, he decided to stop at a store. He ended up being really late, and would’ve missed the interview entirely if I hadn’t called to remind him about it mid-interview. It seemed that he had either forgotten about the interview, which is worrisome because, while the dog would be “mine,” there’s no getting around the fact that it involves him too. It was that, or he thought he didn’t need to be there, which communicated to me that, well, he doesn’t really need to be here, in this relationship.

We worked through the misunderstanding/forgetting. However, it left me feeling, once again, that I’m a little too alone in this relationship. Not entirely. But, when it comes to change, change that involves me, and change that involves the relationship, he’s not always a participant. I’m very independent, and it’s hard for me to suss out how much I need my partner to care and what he needs to care about. I can’t tell if what happened is, like, totally acceptable, or, like, totally unacceptable. I know that something doesn’t feel quite right about it, and that’s all I’ve got so far.

On one hand, he is a great match for me. He lets me be me. He’s encouraging, supportive, loving. We both value not getting caught up in our identities as a couple. We’re able to have separate interests and time apart. On the other hand, I worry that it’s all a bit of a guise we use to push each other safely away to avoid real intimacy and real risk.

As it turns out, a simple conversation about whether or not to get a dog brings all of that up.

5 Reasons to Get a Dog

(This is the follow up to 5 Reasons Not to Get a Dog posted last October.)

A few months ago, I found a greyhound adoption group, filled out an application, and met for a face-to-face interview. All went well, and I was approved for an adoption. There were just two problems. First, I had an allergic reaction while I was around the dogs. Now, this house had six dogs made up of four different breeds and birds. So, it’s hard to tell what caused the allergy, but it was enough to worry me. Second, I had to strike a deal with my landlord regarding a fair pet deposit, terms, etc. The very kind woman at the adoption agency encouraged me to figure things out with my landlord and wait until the hubbub of the holidays was over…and that’s now. So, I thought this was a good time to follow up my last dog post with a more encouraging “5 Reasons to Get a Dog.”

Here goes:

1) Entertainment. They’re amusing. I’m not a fan of every dog or every breed of dog that I meet. (I try to judge a dog based on the individual and not the breed.) However, there are traits linked to certain breeds that I absolutely adore. For example, I find the shy, mortified look of many sight hounds to be amusing. I feel like I can totally relate. I also absolutely love the peaceful energy of a big, retired racing greyhound. There’s nothing like it.

2) Exercise. They help you exercise. I run several times a week, and I like to go for walks. But, I want to have the kind of life where I take a meditative walk to turn off, tune out, and unwind every single day. A dog forces that behavior.

3) Socialize. They help you meet new friends and socialize with existing friends. My last boyfriend had a dog. Each day, the dog required one long walk and a romp in the dog park. Yes, this took up a significant amount of time, but there were also dog-loving people at the dog park and new friendships were forged. It was lovely. Also, people who already have dogs have an excuse to get together to let the dogs run.

4) Adventure. They take you on adventure. Of course there’s the walk and the dog park, but occasionally you and your dog need something more. Enter: hiking adventure. I love to hike. I would like to do it more and something tells me the guilt I will feel as I stare into my dog’s disappointed gaze is enough to get me out the door and up the canyon.

5) Friend. They’re [wo]man’s best friend. They’re good company. I spend a lot of time working and writing at my computer. I love old-timey pictures of writers and their pets. It seems like all successful writers have a cat or dog. It makes sense for the lifestyle, really. A dog would help break the monotony–a reminder to get up, take a break, and take a walk around the block.

a little setback

As you know from this post, I have been considering adopting a greyhound for awhile now. Awhile ago, I contacted a local retired racing greyhound adoption program, and they were willing to consider me for adoption. I had a phone conversation. Got an application in the mail. Painstakingly filled it out. Researched greyhounds online. Had an official phone interview that went well. Then, another week or so later, I had a face-to-face interview with the head of the adoption program.

Here’s the problem, I had an allergic reaction while I was at  the interview. The house was clean, but it was home to two greyhounds, four other dogs, and birds. I am not allergic to dogs, at least not in the way I am allergic to cats, but I haven’t lived with a dog in years. I have noticed mild sensitivity to some dogs, but hoped I could avoid that by keeping the dog and my house clean.

I was there for almost two hours. One of the greyhounds licked and leaned and rubbed against me, which I allowed because I wanted to see if I would react. And I did. In the car ride home, I had dog hair all over my jeans, and I continued to sneeze and react. I was pretty disappointed.

The next day, I lost some valuable time to Petfinder, but I realized that I don’t want any dog. I want a greyhound. If I can’t have a greyhound, then I have to rethink my next step. There are some dog breeds that are very low allergy, and I think I would be fine living with them (I lived with a shih tzu once with no problems). Greyhounds are considered low allergy because they have short hair, no undercoat, and (most) of them don’t shed very much. So, I was hopeful.

The next step is to spend a few hours with just one greyhound. Since the woman had other breeds of dogs and birds in the home, I couldn’t get an accurate assessment of my reaction to the greyhound. So, though I am discouraged, I want to spend some time in a small space with a clean greyhound and see how I do. One major drawback is that every dog is different, and I’ll react differently depending on the dog. I wish I could test it out before adopting, but the process doesn’t work that way. Once you agree to adopt, they ship in a dog sight unseen. I do not want to live on allergy medication, so if I have a reaction to this dog, I might have to rethink the whole dog ownership thing for now.

5 Reasons Not to Get a Dog


I’ve thought off and on about getting a dog for several years now. Years ago, at the SLC Farmer’s Market, I came across a booth for retired greyhound adoption. There was a pen set up, with long, strange looking animals lounging on the sun-dappled grass. I stood and stared at them, drawn to their peaceful energy.

image from Jason Short 2008

At the time, I lived downtown, had big life changes ahead, and adopting a dog was not an option. Over the years, I have thought that I would like to get a dog. That’s usually followed by a period of gratitude that I don’t have a dog.

Here are 5 Reasons I Don’t Want to Get a Dog (spoiler: I might still get a dog anyway):

  1. Mornings. I am slow to wake up. The thought of waking up early to stand or walk in the cold morning air so that a dog can pee is not my idea of as good time. In fact, it sounds like a terrible way to start the day.
  2. Allergies. I am allergic to cats, but not dogs. But, I also haven’t lived in close quarters with a dog, so I haven’t really been able to test a possible allergy to dogs in years. The other weekend a chihuahua climbed all over me, desperate for attention. Sure enough, I left with the sniffles. I’m probably more allergic to some dogs than others, and I wish there was a way to test it out before committing.
  3. Travel. I like to travel. Beyond small trips that could accommodate a dog, I like to do a major trip a few times per decade. I don’t even know how that would work, but I think it would mean securing very costly pet sitting situation.
  4. Children. If I get a dog, I might never have children. I can’t quite explain this thinking–just that I suspect it could be true for me. And, whether or not to reproduce is not a decision I’m ready to make right now.
  5. Landlord. I am a renter, and I don’t have a fenced yard. That will mean daily walks and attention to regular potty breaks. Originally, my landlord told me that getting a dog would be okay, with a $300-$600 refundable pet deposit. Later, after I resigned the lease (grrrr), they said it would be a $600 refundable pet deposit plus an additional monthly fee tacked on to my rent. That might still be negotiable. Also, other pet friendly rentals are usually totally gross, so I don’t feel like I have a lot of options.

(Coming soon: 5 Reasons to Get a Dog.)