by Neena Derf
The following story was the Winner of the Woofstock 2005 Essay Contest.
The day that GPA volunteers introduced us to 11 year old, newly retired Genie, we not only found our best friend, but my husband, Tim's true angel.
We were not looking to adopt a dog six years ago, when we attended a local arts and crafts fair. As a matter of fact, it was the furthest idea in our minds, as we were caring for our 15 year old black lab, Samantha. She was in very poor health, and required a lot of time and effort in her care....but, she still wagged her tail, loved to snuggle...Samantha was very much loved.
The local GPA volunteers had set up a tent at the event to promote adoptions. There she was....GENIE! I remember so clearly, how she so patiently and proudly stood, as we were told her story. We found out that she was eleven years old, newly retired after five years of running, and five years of breeding. The gals told us that it was difficult to place the older pups, but they so desperately needed good homes. She was so sweet, and left a deep impression!
Genie remained on Tim's mind...so much, that at lunch he told me that we NEEDED to bring Genie home! I was reluctant. We were losing Samantha...how hard would it be to take in another little being that we'd learn to love, and then lose her in two years! Guess that beautiful little girl with the bright brown eyes, shiny coat, and winning smile won our hearts!
We made a deal, we would take Genie home, but just as a trial. The first week was a test! Genie ate furniture, the wires out of the garage door opener....she was afraid...she was WILD.....she had worms!!! I wasn't certain how this was going to work out!
The following Saturday, we were to take her to PetSmart, where the greyhound group had a meet & greet. We were to get meds for Genie, her new collar & leash, and sign papers. As we drove into the parking lot, Genie began to cry. We had more than a difficult time getting her to go inside of the store; she absolutely put the brakes on! This was the place that she was brought, week after week, desperately trying to find a home! She thought that we were giving her back, and decided that she'd prefer to stay with us! I can't explain what happened that day, but it was the turning point. Genie had become a perfect angel from that minute on! She knew that she was home!
Bouncy, spunky, Genie helped extend Samantha's life for another 8 months....and last year, she proved to be a true life saver!
I had taken Genie to the vet for her annual shots on Sunday afternoon. That night, at about 3:30 A.M., she came into the bedroom and woke me up. She NEVER does that! I thought she was sick from the shots, and got up to take her out. To my shock, I found my husband, passed out at the other end of the house. He had an internal bleeding problem, and had hemorrhaged to the point that he was ten minutes from death. Yes, I would have slept through it, if it weren't for our miracle girl, Genie!
People stop us and tell us that Genie's so lucky that we "RESCUED" her. I tell them that she has been OUR GIFT....we didn't rescue her...SHE RESCUED my Tim! She is loved more than words can say! Today, at age 17, she amazes all...energetic, bright-eyed, loving, smart gorgeous! Genie's a true ambassador for greyhound adoptions, and proof positive that older greyhounds deserve loving homes too! We are the luckiest people
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The Wonder of Easley by Claire Tyler
The first time we saw Kiowa Easley, he was a greyhound in trouble. On October 13, 1999, we received an urgent call about a grey that needed immediate care. He was in bad shape and could hardly get to his feet. He needed to go to the Vets. He had massive sores on his hind end, and an infection that spread into his right rear leg. He was ten pounds underweight and was dehydrated.
We picked Easley up from the Vets Office after being there two days and receiving IV therapy. It took over eight weeks for recovery. We had to irrigate the sores twice a day and put salve on his wounds. Fortunately, he had a good appetite and was able to gain his weight back. The most remarkable thing about Easley was how sweet he was. All the other greys in the house, really liked him. It was like having a slumber party; he blended in so well. In spite of his condition, he was always happy and loving. After seeing the state he was in when we first saw him, he had every right to be mean and angry.
Easley continued to be a wonder. His black coat started to glisten. The sores went down to the pin size. He was big, black and beautiful. The hardest part being a Foster Home parent is having to give up a grey that is in your charge. In December 1999, Easley was included on a shipment of 43 greys going to adoption groups in non-racing states. Greyhound Pets of America, Maryland Chapter was placing him into a new home. We dreaded taking him to the kennel for the shipment. When he was put in the crate and cried, it tore us up. We had assurances from the Maryland group that the home he was going to was special but it still was very hard.
During the year we kept in touch with the new Adoptive parents and heard great reports on Easley. He was given a new name Angus. His new folks were tall people and they loved this beautiful black male. E-mail is a wonderful thing and it did our heart good hearing about his first experience with snow.
There is a yearly gathering of adoption groups in Dewey Beach Delaware. This past year the highlight of our trip was the reunion of seeing Angus (Easley). His coat glistened and he did not forget us. We received big kisses and caresses. He was so delighted to see us; it did our hearts good. Angus mom & dad, Karen and Andrew, presented up with a keepsake photo album that is priceless. They love him very much and have given him a great home.
This is a fantastic success story for a boy who was close to dying from neglect. Karen, Andrew and Angus are part of our extended family. We feel so honored to have fostered this greyhound and blessed to have been part of this success story. Being able to give this grey a new start makes being a Foster so worthwhile.
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Stevie K and Viola Toto's Story
by Dennis Tyler
Stevie K is a Fawn boy of 73 pounds and his sister Viola’s Toto, a black little girl of 60 pounds. They were brought into our program at the end of the 2004 season at Melbourne. Stevie had run at Melbourne but Toto ran well at Naples, Florida until she broke her right rear leg in a race there to end her career.
Through happenstance Toto was brought to Melbourne along with many other hounds form a kennel that was running both Naples and Melbourne and she was reunited with her brother. They were both 3 years old.
Our hopes were raised for both to go to the same home when a young lady who wanted to adopt came to our kennel. She had been looking to have two greyhounds and had been through the ordeals of a broken leg herself so we thought she was perfect. One of our representatives did a home visit and found everything in order with a nice fenced in back yard and a large house for the two of them to spend the rest of their days.
Finally the date came and they both went home for a long weekend. In the follow up calls all seemed to be OK. About 3 weeks later we got a call from a neighbor about 3 blocks away who said that she found this little black female in her yard and brought her into her house. We identified Toto with our numbered tag that was on he collar. She was returned shortly to her original owner. We interviewed the owner and she said that the fence was left open by some workman and we advised her to call us immediately if either one gets out again.
About a month later we got a call when we were on a shipment with 40 greyhounds and it seems that both hounds “got out” again. We could only advise where they were to go and the neighbor took them back. This time the adopter said that she had a problem with part of the fence but that it had been fixed.
Then three weeks later Stevie was found about a mile from his home. This time I drove the 25 miles to pick up Stevie and wait for a call from the adopter………….it never came and I was now concerned about Toto. A couple of weeks passed when we finally got a call from the owner stating that she wanted to return a dog……..it was Toto and we were thrilled as I was not sure what our next step would be to get her back from a home that did not care if they were running loose.
I immediately asked her to bring her down to our kennel. When Toto came back she was covered in ticks but looked good otherwise. I was reluctant to say anything for fear that I would tell this woman what I really thought about her care of the greyhounds.
She never asked or made any statements about Stevie! Sometimes I say, “If it weren’t for the people this would not be a bad business” Just meaning the bad ones of course!!
Toto got cleaned up and we put frontline on her to kill the ticks. In a few weeks both looked great and they both would go out in the yard together.
About a month later I had several phone conversations with a young lady that was having a hard time with the loss of her wonderful greyhound to cancer about 6 months prior. She was just now coming to grips with the concept of getting another greyhound.
I finally got her to come and look at the hounds we had available and the number at that time was small. She wanted a large male that was not brindle as her previous hound was brindle and big.
Now this new adopter said, “Don’t think of me a strange but I pray that my previous greyhound will help me pick out the new hound with a SIGN! She said “just give me a sign so I will know that this is the right hound for me!”
I showed her a large red male named Mo that usually had a lot of personality and went right up to most people. For some reason he did not pay her a lot of attention and that was unusual for him. I brought out a few more black boys but nothing clicked and there was no sign. She then asked if I had any other red or fawn boys to show her. I told her that I had a nice fawn boy but our hopes were that he could go into a home with his sister who was black. She asked to see them and when I brought them out both were all over this lady like long lost friends. So she asked me how old were these two and I told her that they were going to be 3 this month. I left her briefly to check my records and when I returned I told her that today is their third birthday. The woman looked at me in an odd way with a tear in her eye and proclaimed, “THAT’S THE SIGN”.
Since she had one of our greyhounds before she was cleared to get another and both Stevie and Toto went home to celebrate their birthday in their new forever home!
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