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Rescued from Greyhound Racing: Lewis’ Story

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 2:00pm
Man petting white and brown greyhound

The life of a racing Greyhound is often short and painful. Every year, thousands of young and healthy Greyhounds are euthanized because they are no longer deemed worthy racers, but some of the lucky ones make it to Greyhound rescues. ASPCA staffer Lauren discusses adopting her Greyhound, Lewis, a racing survivor.

Finding Lewis

When my then-fiancé, Grant, and I began looking for a dog, we assumed that we would need to narrow our search to smaller breeds because of our NYC lifestyle. On a whim, I searched for large-breed dogs that are suitable for apartment living. Much to our surprise, Greyhounds were the most recommended! We fell in love with the breed.

A volunteer from an NYC Greyhound rescue visited our apartment with a spotted, male Greyhound who had recently retired from the industry. While this gentle giant had some difficulty climbing the stairs to our apartment, once inside he had no problem exploring every inch—all 400 square feet!

When Linda left that day, Grant and I looked at each other and without words knew we had found our dog. We called Linda the next day and arranged to pick him up. Being an avid Formula 1 fan, Grant decided to name our new dog Lewis after Lewis Hamilton, the race car driver. Considering his retired profession, I found it quite fitting.

Greyhound jumping

Learning about Lewis

As we fell more in love with Lew, I started researching his past. Like all racing Greyhounds, Lewis has ear tattoos: his birthday and litter number on one side, his ID number on the other. I typed his ID number into a registry and learned he’d participated in 40 races and won eight. He raced until he was nearly three, which is a long career. I also learned he’d raced at Ebro Greyhound Park. He was pulled from Ebro in September 2010; in October 2010, an owner at the same track was arrested after 30 dogs died from starvation.

At the track, Lewis lived in a stacked cage, only coming out four times a day: twice to go to the bathroom and twice to train. When we met Lewis, he was fearful, really underweight and had flea dermatitis—but that’s really good shape compared to how many Greyhounds come out of the industry. It took three weeks for his personality to come out. But when it did, it was hysterical—Greyhounds are hysterical—he was lying upside down, sneaking on the couch and sneaking onto our bed. It made me think this was likely the first time his personality was allowed to shine.

Greyhound laying on ground with mouth open

Suburban Life

Lewis made himself at home in our NYC apartment right away, but shortly before getting married, Grant and I moved to the house in the suburbs. Lew loves the new space, and he’s got a dog bed on each floor. He loves car rides—any time we go on any errands he comes along and adores it. Lew lives for the tennis ball and will jump eight feet in the air for it.  He spends weekends playing in our backyard and at the neighborhood park.

Lewis loves children, and that’s why we’re really excited for him to meet his new little (human) brother or sister in the next month! We think he’ll be a great big brother. He just turned six on Earth Day. It’s cheesy, but I always say his birthday makes sense, since he’s my whole world.

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Vicki Sivertsen

Greyhound racing should be banned! These pour animals are treated so poorly and then, for all their hard work, so many get euthanized. God Bless you and your husband for giving this beautiful dog a home.