The fact that I'm allergic to cats is a good news-bad news situation. The bad news is that I can't have a cat. The good news is that I can't have a cat.
If I weren't allergic, two cats would have been added to our household this past weekend. I went to the event at Raymour and Flanigan's, where the Chautauqua County Humane Society had some animals there who were waiting to be adopted. One of the cats was a lovely, sleek black cat with vivid green eyes. Just beautiful. In the next cage was a cat that took my breath away. It was a dark, rich orange. On a Corgi, I'd have called it red. It was such a stunning color, I wanted to scoop up the cat and add it to the household. The woman with the animals said it was a very gentle cat. I hope someone adopted both of those beautiful animals.
I also got my Greyhound fix as Greyhound Action League of Buffalo Inc. was there with four Greyhounds. My husband made me promise before I left the house that I wouldn't bring home a Greyhound (he knows me too well!) but these four dogs had already found good homes and were there with their owners to demonstrate what sweet, calm dogs Greyhounds are.
Greyhound Action League of Buffalo is a nonprofit that helps re-home retired racing Greyhounds (www.greyhoundactionleague.com or, call 867-9822). In many cases, a Greyhound's career ends if it doesn't win at least one of its first three races. Or, a dog may be injured. Frequently, if the recovery time is going to be lengthy, the dog then ends up in rescue. Typically, dogs in rescue are between two and four years of age, which means they have, on average, eight to 10 years when they can be a loving pet.
Don't judge the Greyhound by its size and think it will need a lot of exercise. Greyhounds are true couch potatoes. Yes, they enjoy a good sprint around your fenced yard or a good brisk walk or job on a leash, but after that, they are content to curl up and laze the day away. They're also happy to share your bed with you on a cold (or not so cold) night. They have a wonderful smooth, soft coat and are perfectly willing for you to pet them forever, or until your arm gets tired. Greyhounds are also quiet dogs. They're not the type to bark wildly at a falling leaf, so, they might not be the ideal watchdog, but they might be better in an apartment than many other breeds.
Greyhounds can't be left loose; you need a fenced yard, or you need to be willing to walk the dog several times a day. A loose Greyhound is a lost Greyhound. Greyhounds are sight hounds, which means they were bred to chase prey. A determined Greyhound can end up far from home, with no clue as to how it got that far away, and no clue as to how to get home.
A rescue Greyhound may not know how to go up and down stairs, and may not be housetrained. It may even be afraid of the dark, because there are always lights on at track kennels. These aren't huge obstacles, but they're something to think about. A Greyhound may be just fine with smaller dogs or cats indoors, but outdoors, a running animal may trigger their instinct to chase, catch and kill. If you adopt a Greyhound and have a cat or a small dog, use caution when they're loose together.
A Greyhound is not meant for rough and tumble play with children, but if you have older children, or your nest is empty, a rescue Greyhound can be a wonderful companion, enjoying walks as well as quality time curled up next to you on the couch.
Pawprint: I just read a terrific book; it's not about pets, so I couldn't justify devoting an entire column to it, but I just had to share. The book is "Cows Save the Planet" by Judith D. Schwartz. The subtitle continues, "and other improbable ways of restoring soil to heal the earth." Then there's this: "Unmaking the deserts, rethinking climate change, bringing back biodiversity and restoring nutrients to our food." The book isn't full of scientific terms, reads easily, puts many things in perspective, and gives hope that we can renew our finite resources of earth and water. Everyone should read this book.