Ottawa group helps greyhounds move from the fast lane

Photo and story by Erin Kelly  -  THE NEWS EMC

 

Lynda and Chris Seed probably never thought anything out of the ordinary would come from their adopting a retired greyhound racing dog.
It has been about 12 years since the Seeds had Trippa, who has now passed on, move north from her home in Florida to become part of their family.  And for 10 years they have operated Adopt-A-Greyhound of Central Canada, a local organization that finds homes for retired race dogs.

           “Little did we know that she was going to completely change our lives,” Seed says with a laugh.
            The Seeds came about adopting Trippa from a small organization in
Southern Ontario, which focused almost solely on the adoption aspect of these retired race dogs.  Seed says she and her husband started to think about the benefits of educating others about these wonderful canines.
            “We thought getting out there and letting people know about the dogs would be the best thing,” she says.  “This small organization (in Southern Ontario) resisted the idea and so we started our own organization in 1996.”

Lynda Seed, who along with her husband has worked tirelessly for the past decade to place retired racing greyhounds in good homes, is seen here with two-year-old Tattoo, a greyhound waiting to be placed with loving owners.

 

 

            The Seeds have worked tirelessly for the past decade to help place as many retired greyhounds in loving homes as possible.  While they don’t like to count the number of adoptions, which are irrelevant says Seed, the work they have done so far is tremendous.

They even have five greyhounds, which they have adopted, living with them currently in their home outside of Ottawa, all five acting as the house’s welcoming committee whenever someone new arrives.
            “Our goal is simply to see as many of these magnificent dogs adopted as we can,” says Seed.  “The reality is that there are tens of thousands of greyhounds that are retired annually from racing.”
            Seed says many people don’t seem to understand how extensive dog racing is in the United States because in Canada it is not allowed. Every state has at least one race dog track.
            In Florida, from where the Seeds rescue many of the animals, there are 16 tracks.
            Greyhounds usually start racing at 18 months of age and are only given a few chances to prove themselves.  The majority of dogs are retired within one to three years, with a handful lasting to the age of five, the maximum age for a racing dog in the State of Florida.
            With an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, these dogs are still virtually puppies when they retire.
            “These dogs have a longevity that you don’t see in larger dogs,” explains Seed.  “When they retire they still have a whole lot of living to do.”
            In the past couple years, more and more organizations helping to find homes for retired greyhounds have been sprouting up in the United States and Canada, with many openly condemning the dog racing industry.  This is not the case with Adopt-A-Greyhound, which works in co-operation with many trainers in Florida who choose to turn dogs over for adoption rather than being euthanized.
            “There are a lot of adoption groups that are anti-racing.  We are neutral on the subject; we simply want to focus our efforts on finding homes for these dogs and we don’t want anything to take attention away from that.”
            Amongst their efforts of helping retired greyhounds find homes, the Seeds have also tried to erase the common misconceptions that people have about greyhounds.
           “There is a misconception that they are high maintenance and hyper, and just a whole lot of fuss all together,” says Seed.  “It is really not true, they make wonderful pets; they are gentle, lovable, quiet and very adaptive.  These dogs are their own best ambassador, no matter what sort of dog you have had these dogs will have you coming back.”
            As Tattoo, a newly acquired greyhound waiting to be placed in his home, races around the Seeds’ backyard, Seed explains that although these dogs come from a racing background, they are very docile.
            “We call them the 45 mile per hour couch potato.  They run and play for a bit and then sleep for about 18 to 20 hours per day,” laughs Seed, as Tattoo proves her point by dropping at her feet for a nap.  “They are like a cat in a dog suit.”
            After adopting a greyhound, helping the new family member adapt to the new surroundings can take a bit of time and patience.  Although they are quick to learn, racing greyhounds spend their days in a crate, so they are unaware of the minutest details in a home.
            It is for this reason that Adopt-A-Greyhound has limited adoption boundaries, eastern Ontario, western Quebec and northern New York, so that they can offer personalized support after an adoption.
            “Greyhounds do not know the basics of everyday; you have to teach them not to walk into windows, how to climb stairs, what a mirror is, about other animals, how to walk on shiny floors.”
            While they make great pets, Seed says they are not for everyone.
            “These dogs should never be off a leash outside.  If people want a dog they can take to a park, a greyhound is just not that dog,” explains Seed.

            For more information visit www.adopt-a-greyhound.ca or call 613-489-0654.