Yeah, yeah, Wills and Kate had a baby last week, whatever. I'm sure it's great.
John and I are anticipating an arrival of our own. The week after we returned to London from our wedding trip, we went out to Greyhound Relocation and Adoption of Canada to adopt a greyhound. We can't pick her up until August 4th, but we wanted to pick her out anyways and have everything ready for her arrival.
Get ready for what is likely the first of a few hundred posts about our new dog.
The retired racer we chose is a 3-year-old brindle named was CTW's Royal Gait. Sine that's not easily shortened into a nickname, we've decided to change it (more on that another time). Before her year of racing in Alabama, Royal was born in Texas - just like me! And now she lives in Canada, also like me. Greyhounds are registered with their own breed association, rather than the AKC, and all of their racing and breeding information is stored online. Using Royal's racing name we were able to look up her pedigree going back five generations and look at pictures of her parents and ancestors. I love the names they give these dogs - her grandfather's name was Molotov, and further back she had a relative named Thunder Cheeks.
Once I created an account with the site I was able to look up her racing history. Royal raced 51 times during 2012 and won seven times; she took second place nine times. Obviously I know she can run a lot faster than me or John, but it was crazy to see how fast she runs. They run either 300 or 500 meter races: her time for the 300m was 17 seconds and change, and her time for the 500m was 31seconds. Crazy fast!
GRA Canada is run by a really nice man named Bill who started placing greyhounds with families as a sort of side gig and then turned it into his full time job. When we met with him he suggested Royal because he thought she'd do well in an apartment, as she's pretty calm and smaller than the male dogs they had at the time. Bill has an agreement with the race track in Birmingham, AL where she raced - they don't put any dogs down, and he sends someone to get a big load (20-40 dogs) every 4-6 weeks. Then they spay/neuter, give medical attention where needed, update the shots, and place them with families all over the place, especially in our area and Toronto. I'm also grateful that the GRA has a great forum where other greyhound owners can ask and answer questions about anything health related or other general topics. From the forum we've learned of a couple other greyhound owners in our neighborhood with whom we can get together for walks. This page of the forum lists adoptable dogs (you can see Royal at the top of the list, with "adopted" next to her name!)
While it was super sad to leave her at the kennel after signing the adoption papers, John and I had a lot to do before bringing Royal home. We bought a crate at Tractor Supply Co. on Bill's advice (since we got a greyhound adoption discount!) and we filled it with mostly old blankets.
Side note: above the crate we hung the framed poster from our 2012 Fort 4 Fitness half marathon we did in Fort Wayne with Kira. Because, you know, we're racers, too. And we wanted her to know that.
We had to move some furniture around to create a logical space for the crate. Since the crate is open, rather than solid plastic, it actually makes the room feel bigger.
We also got rid of the old coffee table that John and his friends scribbled all over during undergrad. I had wanted to paint it to make it more attractive anyways, but getting rid of it altogether was a better idea, as it was heavy and awkward to move. With the coffee table gone, we had room for the dog bed. Bill suggested waiting until Royal is completely potty trained before investing in a real dog bed. We took his advice and got several blankets at Goodwill (for a total of $6) that could be disposed of later, if necessary. For now this fleecy pink one will do well as a dog bed. Of course we'll remove The Stick and John's GQ once she gets her, since neither are good dog toys.
Besides the bed and the crate, we had to get her city tags, a tag collar, a toothbrush and peanut butter flavored tooth paste (why don't they make that for humans?), some rawhide, as well as a stuffed mole that makes a growly noise when you squeeze it, and a nylon bone she can chew that's good for her teeth. She'll come with a leash and a Martingale collar, made for dogs like greyhounds whose heads are smaller than their necks. I've read on the forums that it's dangerous to leave that collar on them because of the "D" ring that attaches it to a leash. Martingales work sort of like a noose, for lack of a better analogy. They tighten when pulled, rather than having a buckle or other fastener. If she's unattended with that collar on, it's possible for her to get the D ring caught on something and then get choked by her collar. I also read a rather funny story of a greyhound getting the D ring stuck on a peg inside the bottom rack of a dishwasher; the panicked dog yanked out the whole rack, dishes/pots and all, then ran with it through the house until it could be calmed down. So we want to avoid all of that and put her everyday name tag on a separate collar that she'll wear in addition to her Martingale, and keep the Martingale attached to her leash for when she's outside.
At some point before winter arrives, we're going to have to acquire a coat, since greyhounds have very thin skin and little body fat. Things we will not be getting her include: this dog sweater from The Bay. I'm holding the one for a small, Molly-sized dog, and guess how much it costs? Go on, guess.
$55! No thanks. As John said, I rarely spend $55 for a full priced sweater for myself.
Every day we get more excited to bring her home and we talk more and more about all the things we want to do with her. But it will be a period of adjustment, since she's never lived in a house before, and she may never have walked up or down stairs. Until then we're looking forward to welcoming her into our home.