It was his first race - ever. How does one top that? They don’t. They go to into retirement. Shakey Jakey “sustained a shoulder injury in the catching pen after the race.” His racing day, days, were done. Tragic, maybe. More on Shakey Jakey later...
Greyhound racing detractors claim the industry is tragic – for the dogs. The dogs stay in jail (kennels) all day and night except when racing. One dog-adoption owner said they were penned up 22 out of 24 hours. Other sources say they are let out four to six times daily. Either way, not much of a life for these speedsters. You’d think that a dog that can mach out at 43 (some say 45) miles per hour would be treated nobly.
For they are, in fact, a noble breed. Historically only nobility could own one...Today, Bo Derek, star of the Movie “10” must think these dogs rate the same score, she has several retired racers.
Unfortunately, for those dogs not adopted after their racing careers are done, or are not used to breed – are, alas, done in. In Australia approximately 20,000 pups are born per year. In that same year an estimated 18,000 greyhounds are killed, according to Animals Australia.
Modern greyhound racing was introduced into Australia in 1927. Betting, of course, plays a large part in fan appeal, but followers also appreciate how this beautifully sleek dog, weighing in at around 60 to 70 pounds, can run like the dickens.
Want to adopt one? Should you do so, keep it inside, except for exercise. If they are kept outside in chilly temperatures, because of their low-fat frames, they’ll freeze. With respect to indoors, betcha didn’t know that a greyhound is well suited to apartment living!
At about nine years old, they’ll slow down, but watching them walk, one can only marvel at how delicately they do so, paws softly feeling the pavement, sensing the surface with caution and care...
Greyhounds, generally, are sensitive, gentle, and intelligent. Moreover, they aren’t yappy. But they do like to lounge around: be prepared to share the couch. It’ll be loyal to it, and to you. It loves being petted. And walked – on a leash. It will not come back on a call if released, for its instincts are to run and chase. But they don’t need oodles of exercise, being built for speed, not marathons. Phew.
Another phew - they won’t slobber and they don’t have a strong odor. A fantastic: they can see backwards, to the tune of a 270 degree radius.
Looking backwards in time, it was the Egyptians who really put this animal on the map. As far back as 2900 BC the dog was immortalized, carved onto tombs. Maybe they could tell that the cheetah, a cat, and the greyhound shared similar spine flexibilities, conducive to their warp speed capabilities. No other dog has such spinal capabilities...
Another secret to their speedy successes is that they sprint in a circular succession. Their double-suspension gallop features all feet off the ground, but when they do touch, it is first the front left leg, then the front right leg, followed by the rear right leg, then the rear left leg – that’s the sequence. It’s too hard to tell watching at normal speed – but in super slow motion – it’s still hard to tell, but amazing to watch. They can also catch Frisbees with their mouths like nobody’s business and they can soar/fly over fences – brown colored greyhound - Cindy - in 2006, set the record and raised the bar, literally, to 68 inches!
Owners of this even-tempered dog will tell you the new secrets to their successful lifestyles. When walking one, they’ve learned that people are immediately enamored with it. People meeting people, engaging in conversation – chatting – not texting – thanks to this compassionate canine.
Now, there are some downsides to the breed. They can suffer from bloat, hypothyroidism and tumors of the long bones...But these ailments pale in comparison to the life of blight, according to the RSPCA, many dogs experience while racing.
More than likely, however, the picture behind the racing industry is not as bleak as naysayers claim. Undoubtedly some breeders and trainers mistreat their racers – but most don’t for they want their dogs healthy to run well. Some, yes, suffer from neglect when not racing, but others, the lucky ones, one supposes, get whirlpool time and rubdowns after a competition.
In fact, some dog racing owners seem almost decent, if not quite human. They’ll tell you track and industry conditions vary depending on the individual track and the individual country’s traditions for the sport. This owner who races greyhounds tells and shows a story diametrically opposed to the animal activists’ ones...In his world, the dogs come first. He adds, they love to run – and are not prodded, electrically or otherwise, to do so. His dogs appear healthy and happy. Veterinarian charts detail any aches and pains an animal may have. Blanket criticism of the industry is puerile, as is across-the-board praise for the sport.
Let’s close with top dog Shakey Jakey. How’s he doing? Well, minutes after that race the first offer to buy Shakey Jakey came in – at $500,000. Trainer David Pringle turned it down and turned the dog to stud at the Rocky Ridge Farm.
So far, about 50 bitches have been served...so definitely, in some ways - if not in many ways - it is, ahem, a bitch of an industry.