Every greyhound adoption group faces the same problem. Most of the people applying to adopt a greyhound have cats and/or other small animals. We are finding that, as each year goes by, we have to work harder to place greyhounds in to homes with cats. We have even devoted an entire page on our web site that deals with helping greyhounds live with cats and other small animals.
We know that many people asking to adopt a greyhound are animal lovers. They also want to contribute to helping the many animals that are looking for homes; they have made the decision to adopt rather than to go to a breeder. For that we give them much credit. However, many of these people fail to realize that they need to take into consideration the sacrifice it takes to adopt each animal and they need to be willing to adjust their lives to accommodate these pets.
Greyhounds often get a bad rap because of the myth that continues to dominate the conversations about them – that they are high prey and will kill small animals. We are constantly surprised that after years of placing greyhounds and educating the public that people still do not understand that greyhounds are not much different than other breeds of dogs when it comes to living with cats and small animals.
People think that a greyhound that is not cat safe is harder to live with and the prey drive is always at the surface waiting to show it’s ugly self to anything that it comes in contact with. Nothing could be further from the truth. We think it is because of this attitude that so many people ask for a cat safe greyhound even though they have no cats or other small animals. People want to take their greyhound for a walk and seem to think that a dog that is not cat friendly will be harder to handle on a leash. This is simply not true.
Many people are now asking for a dog that can do almost anything – go to the dog park, spend time with children and grandchildren without a problem, get along with other breeds of dogs, get along with all visitors to their home, stay alone long hours while their people work, be leash walked to relieve itself (no fenced in yard), travel with their greyhound, take the greyhound to events and outings, live with cats, small animals and even exotic animals and bring a dog in that will automatically know how to live in its new home. No other breed rescue organization, humane society and/or breeder can (or would) comply with such a wish list.
This is a far cry from the days when people like us adopted a greyhound sight unseen and no one was around to help us work through the issues. It took dedication and patience but many of the greyhounds adopted during these times turned out to be wonderful pets and launched many of us into working on behalf of these incredible dogs. Every one of the over 15 greyhounds we’ve adopted over the years (since 1991) have not been cat safe and every one of them were wonderful dogs that enriched our lives greatly.
When we established our organization in 2005, there were many more greyhounds available for groups to take in when they were done racing. Groups could ask for almost anything – color, sex, cat safe, age, child safe, etc. We were constantly bombarded with requests to take another dog or asked how many more we could take. Now that the numbers of greyhounds available for adoption are diminishing because of lower breeding rates and fewer tracks, groups don’t have the luxury of “cherry picking” dogs. Greyhounds are now harder to get and the people transporting dogs to groups in our area are becoming few and far between. We are now being faced with the problem of how to get dogs when we need them. And some of the dogs now available to groups are the ones that would have been shoved to the back of the kennels years ago or passed over.
In previous years many of us working in greyhound adoption turned a blind eye to the less adoptable and non cat friendly dogs. We justified this by thinking that we were doing something to help greyhounds find homes. It allowed us to ignore what was under the surface – that many less adoptable greyhounds were not getting their chance at a forever home. And most of those were wonderful dogs that had the misfortune of not being cat friendly. Now we are face to face with reality.
When we established our group, it was a top priority to find homes for ALL greyhounds. It didn’t take us long to realize that many groups were asking for certain types of dogs based on color, sex, age, cat friendly, etc. We saw this and it became the reason why we established Craiger’s List in 2008 – to find homes for the less adoptable dogs. This has been a wonderful success and it proves that there really are people willing to provide a loving home for the less adoptable dog.
It is very frustrating to people working to supply groups like ours to constantly have demands made for cat friendly greyhounds. In fact, today, there are hardly any cat friendly females sitting in any kennel. They immediately are grabbed up by groups because they are the most sought after greyhound. The suppliers are on the front lines and know what happens behind the scenes. Some of the owners we’ve worked with in the past simply refused to cat test their greyhounds. They felt that this should not be a factor when greyhounds are sent out for adoption. To them, it’s about the greyhounds and we were told that this should be our focus. We could not disagree with them. We owe it the suppliers to help the situation rather than to make it more difficult. And we owe it to the dogs we are promising to help – they ALL deserve a chance.
We at Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue, Inc. will do everything we can to better educate people about the true nature of greyhounds, dispel the myths and we will make an even greater effort not to perpetuate the problem by asking for many cat safe greyhounds. We will devote our time to taking in more of the “less adoptable” dogs and finding those good people who will give them a real forever home. We will discourage people from requesting a not cat safe dog if they don’t need one and we have refused to adopt to people who make unreasonable requests.
Many greyhounds are “cat trainable”. This means that they can be taught to live with cats if given the right attention and training. We are hoping that people wanting to adopt a greyhound from our organization will consider adopting one of these dogs.
We are considering changing our adoption fee structure to reflect this philosophy. We are considering lowering the adoption fee for not cat safe greyhounds while increasing the fee for cat safe greyhounds.
We are sure that we will lose some adoptions. However, we will all gain in the long run because the people who do adopt from us will be those who understand the value of each dog and will be willing to give it the forever home they deserve.
We will continue to update you on this important issue. And we are always open to any comments and/or suggestions.