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   Volume 82 - Issue 18   email:   $1.00   
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John Kinnear photo
Amy Sherrington sitting on her couch.
Elizabeth Sherrington, at age 78, decided to adopt. She weighed the decision carefully and did some research. She determined that she wanted to become the guardian of a female named Amy who is 56 years old. She figures she will outlive her adoptee who is only expected to live to the age of 84. Now the math for this endeavour may not seem to add up to you. That is because Amy is a dog and Elizabeth is calculating with the dog age ratio of seven to one.
Her new housemate is not just any older dog though. It is a magnificent brindle coloured greyhound named Amy whom she adopted from the Chinook Winds Greyhound Rescue Foundation out of Calgary. Chinook Winds has been around for some years now and has been responsible for finding homes for over 1,200 greyhounds to date! They are an all-volunteer, registered charitable organization dedicated to finding homes for retired racing greyhounds.  
Having fostered and rescued more than twelve of these wonderful animals myself I can speak, with some authority, about this long running effort to save thousands of beautiful, sleek and loving creatures from what was as one time a horrific fate.
Anyone who meets an adopted racer is immediately taken by their gentle nature and distinctive grace of movement. It is presumed by most that these are hyper hard to control hound dogs but they are in fact the direct opposite. Chinook Winds usually tells the adoptee that their choice will turn into a couch potato. As the pictures indicate this is generally the case.
Adopted racers soon discover they have unlimited freedom, something denied them for most of their lives. They get to go for a walk or a controlled run, eat when they feel like and eliminate when they feel like. An American track dog spends most of its life in a two by three by four pen with three or four short outings a day in an exercise pen for a bathroom break, occasional training runs on the track and once or twice a week for a fast burn around the track.
The track that I rescued dogs from in Post Falls, Idaho had no less than 1200 dogs in kennels there. The first time I was allowed to approach a kennel area I was struck by the fact that there was no noise. It is testimony to this breeds temperament that they are that well behaved. In fact, Elizabeth has never heard Amy bark and she has had her for six months.

Reasons for rescue can vary but usually boil down to the fact that the dog has been injured in this very dangerous high speed racing business or that it is just not fast enough. If a racer, who has been trained for about one and a half years before racing, does not win, place or show in its first eight runs it is history. Before rescue organizations stepped in years ago they were destroyed in various unsavory ways.
Amy’s registered race name is I’m Richnfamous and as an offspring of Teamster (sire) and Let’s Get It Done (dam) she proved to be a fast dog and a good welper. She spent the first couple years racing and then became a breed dog no doubt producing dozens of pups from her fine line. She was finally retired and released to Chinook last year and made the trip into Canada where she was spayed, inoculated, fitted with a new martingale collar and turned over to a delighted Elizabeth. They also removed 26 of Amy’s 42 canines. The martingale incidentally is generally used with greyhounds as their neck can be thicker than their head and an ordinary collar can slip easily over their narrow noggins.
Amy’s adoption papers are a binding contract with some stipulations designed to protect the dog at all times. Chinook trains adopters on greyhound behaviour, nutrition and all the do’s and do not’s that comes with bringing a grey into an environment they have never experienced before. Should one not be able to keep the dog they are to be returned to the foundation immediately. You also agree that they are not to be used for racing, breeding, hunting or research and that they are for the most part an indoor house pet. Chinook even asks that they be allowed to do an occasional check on the dog. There is lots to learn about them but once your dialed in they are most rewarding.
My fondest memories are of three greyhounds in a gated ball park doing forty five miles an hour around the infield. Pure poetry in motion. Having observed Elizabeth and Amy together I can tell you they are a match made in heaven. According to an always candid Elizabeth she and Amy are, “two slightly deaf toothless mature ladies that are growing old together in greyhound bliss.”
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