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.
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.
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.
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.
Late last night, the U.S. House Agriculture Committee approved an amendment to the House Farm Bill to strengthen our nation’s laws against animal fighting. The amendment, introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), would make attending an organized animal fight a federal offense and impose additional penalties for bringing a child to an animal fight. This amendment is similar to the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, standalone legislation with strong bipartisan support from 147 cosponsors introduced by Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), John Campbell (R-CA), Jim Moran (D-VA) and McGovern.
“Animal fights are cruel and gruesome spectacles where animals are exploited and forced to fight as their owners profit from their torture,” said Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “Children need protection from the dangerous culture of animal fighting, as well as its associated illegal activities such as drugs, weapons and gambling. The ASPCA applauds Representative McGovern and all our Congressional leaders for their continued leadership in strengthening laws to combat animal fighting and protect public safety.”
While clearing the House Agriculture Committee is a major success, we can’t declare victory just yet. The U.S. Senate’s version of the Farm Bill also includes the anti-animal fighting provisions, but both bills still must pass in their chambers of origin. Once that is achieved, the House and Senate have to reconcile any language differences prior to full passage.
We’d like to thank all the representatives on the House Agriculture Committee who voted to include the animal fighting spectator prohibition language in the House Farm Bill. If you see your rep in the list below, tell him or her thank you! You can find your rep’s contact info here.
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Ann McLane Kuster
Sean Patrick Maloney
Please be a voice for animals—join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade and we’ll let you know when it’s time to contact members of Congress about this and other important animal-related bills.
In late March, Kelley D. visited the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan in search of the perfect canine companion. There, she met Amber, a dog who initially showed a cautious interest in Kelley, but has since become a full-fledged family member. Kelley shared the following story with us.
We were looking for a dog that would match our lives well—one who could be an only dog, comfortable with anyone and everyone, not too small and not too large. We were also looking for a dog who was ready to live in a New York City apartment.
Amber was one of the dogs in the Adoption Center who showed an interest in us—she cautiously approached her door when we stood in front of her kennel.
It was our first time in the Adoption Center, and our first time adopting from the ASPCA. It was great! The Adoption Center is so busy, so we were so pleased we had as much time as we did speaking to different staff members. We didn't feel rushed or like we needed to make a decision right there. When we did make a decision, the staff was supportive and gave us a ton of info to take home with us. The package we got was great!
Amber has made huge strides since coming home! When we first adopted her, she was scared of pretty much everything and everyone. Now she is incredibly friendly, actively plays with all kinds of other dogs and is not jumpy at all. She is also quite clever and is learning tricks and obedience lessons quickly. We are getting her settled and confident in her new life.
Got a special adoption story? Share it (or Amber’s story!) on social media using the hashtag #HappyTail.
In an exciting victory for animals and advocates in the Lone Star State, Texas legislators have passed a law prohibiting the use of gas chambers to euthanize animals. Sponsored by Senator Kirk Watson, this new law, which became effective immediately upon Governor Rick Perry’s signature on May 10, will also protect shelter workers from dangerous exposure to carbon monoxide.
The ASPCA partnered with the Texas Humane Legislation Network to help ensure this critical legislation passed during the current session. The new law makes sodium pentobarbital injection, also referred to as euthanasia by injection (EBI), the state’s only approved method of euthanasia. Euthanasia by injection takes effect faster, acts more reliably and causes less pain and trauma than gas.
In situations where euthanasia must be administered, it should be done with compassion and care, which gas chambers do not provide. We applaud Governor Perry and Senator Watson, as well as all of our Texas Advocates, for taking this important step for animals.
As you’ve probably figured out, we love shelter pets! Rescuing an animal from a shelter saves lives, and you get lots of unconditional love in return. That’s why we’re so happy to see the entire state of Colorado put them front and center!
Yesterday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, accompanied by his own rescue dog, Sky, signed into law a bill making shelter dogs and cats the state’s official pet, The Denver Post reports. The bill, “Concerning the designation of dogs and cats that are adopted from Colorado Animal Shelters and rescues as the state pets,” was proposed by schoolchildren and signed into law at the Denver Animal Shelter.
Other states have chosen a specific dog breed to honor as state pet, but Colorado is honoring any dog or cat adopted from a shelter! How awesome is that?
If you’re interested in a shelter animal of your own, please visit our virtual Adoption Center! Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #ShelterPets.