10 Life Lessons I've Learned From Retired Racing Greyhounds
Things I've Learned From My Dog
When people adopt a retired racing greyhound, it's like browsing through a list of eighty-pound newborn puppies and picking one to take home. From a very young age, they're trained and tattooed, then sent off to fly around the track. They don't really have a "normal" life until lucky people get to rescue them.
These beautiful hounds need to be taught everything from scratch, even if they've been alive for half a decade. So, you'd think that they'd have nothing to teach those who've been around for longer, right?
Lesson #1: You need to get enough sleep.
In this fast-paced world, sleep is one of the first things to get sacrificed and our health suffers because of it.
However, greyhounds remind us of how important it is to get lots of rest. They love to curl up or sprawl out everywhere and nap, no matter what time of day it is. Sometimes they'll have sleep for dinner, followed by a snooze for dessert.
Lesson #2: Give it your all, even if you aren't always a winner.
Have you seen these guys tear it up on the track? Greyhounds work very hard and push their bodies to the limit. There can be only one winner in a race (unless there's a tie, of course), but they give it everything they've got.
When the next race comes, they're not thinking about losing last time--they've already moved on!
Lesson #3: Let your voice be heard.
Life's too short to bottle everything up inside and keep to yourself.
Greyhounds know how to tell the world exactly what's on their mind. They snort when they're playful, shriek when things aren't going their way (dubbed the "greyhound scream of death"), and howl, or "roo", whenever they feel like singing.
If you've got something to say, make like a greyhound and let everyone know!
Lesson #4: You really can't judge a book by its cover.
Our first thought when we see something huge and strong is, 'Oh no. It's gonna destroy everything!'
These powerful giants can be playful and gentle. They're more like toddlers than anything else! Lots of them do really well with children, even though they may tower over them and can knock them over with a twitch. Some get along perfectly fine with small animals and cats!
Greyhounds teach us to find out for ourselves instead of believing rumors.
Lesson #5: It's okay to not look good all the time.
Awake and relaxed, greyhounds are stunningly beautiful. They have soulful eyes and long, graceful muzzles.
However, there are times where they make faces only a mother could love. These silly faces show off their awesome personalities!
What's so fun about being serious and boring all the time? Don't let anyone hold you back from being yourself!
Types of Greyhound Faces:Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lesson #6: Life goes on.
Leg injuries are common at racetracks and end a hound's career. A percentage of injured greyhounds must get an amputation and become tripods as a result. What does this mean for the hounds? Giving up? Not at all!
Three-legged greyhounds hop, jump, learn new tricks, and play just like any other dog. They're not sulking in the corner lamenting their lost limb. They understand that today is a new day.
Lesson #7: You need patience, patience and more patience.
Teaching a fully-grown dog how to do things even puppies know how to do can be time-consuming and frustrating. The beginning of a relationship is vital, and balancing trust, discipline and boundaries sometimes tests the limits of patience.
However, it always pays off in the end. The first time a retired racer climbs up the stairs or learns to potty outdoors instead of on the floor is a fantastic achievement for both human and dog.
Being around greyhounds helps to put things about ourselves into perspective.
Lesson #8: Don't lose that child-like wonder.
While it has its perks, growing up can be pretty lame sometimes. Waking up in the morning is no longer about watching cartoons, but about dragging yourself out of bed for work. Snowy days mean scraping your car off and avoiding reckless drivers, not getting the day off from school.
With their pure hearts and information-seeking eyes, greyhounds remind us of how awesome this world really is. They're always scanning the scenery for different animals, and they're curious whenever a new kind of weather is happening outside. They like to try out new foods (even if they end up not liking them), and always have to investigate unfamiliar objects.
Whenever the world has got you down and you feel as if you've gotten your fill of everything, reevaluate your life through the eyes of a greyhound.
Lesson #9: Go outside and get some exercise...often.
No matter if it's the same back yard or a quick walk to the potty site, these hounds are always super-excited to be outdoors. When you grab that leash it's as if the same exact thing didn't just happen an hour before.
With alert ears and traveling noses, greyhounds always find something interesting in their surroundings. They especially love running about and stretching their long legs.
At night they sleep like big babies, proudly exhausted from giving it their all.
Lesson #10: Your body is a work of art.
Retired racers come equipped with tattoos they didn't want, racing scars, missing patches of hair, calluses, and ribs sticking out everywhere. Do you think that stops them from accepting and enjoying the love they deserve?
Lots of people are down on themselves because of their bodies and damage they've sustained over the years. We could all take a lesson from retired racers who teach us to love ourselves just the way we are!