Monday, September 13, 2010

Ignorance

Here is something to fire all of your up on Monday morning. I have a pen pal friend in Belgium. We began corresponding because we both love greyhounds and agility. She rescued her hound from a puppy farm or what the USA refers to as a puppy mill. Initially, Fidgi was suppose to be a whippet, but it quickly became apparent that she was a greyhound. Since she did not come from an adoption group, my friend was not burdened with any greyhound stereotyping and proceeded to raise her greyhound puppy like a dog. She attended obedience and agility classes and eventually started competing. It appears that no one else in her country is training or competing greyhounds in obedience or agility so she reached out to me when she found my website.
Like most of us that adopt a greyhound, my friend would like another. Since she also loves agility, she would like to adopt a greyhound with characteristics that make training easy and the personality for enjoying the sport.
My friend reached out to a local adoption group and mentioned agility. Sometimes it is suggested not to mention what you plan to do with the greyhound if it is anything other than couch potato. The problem with that approach is that when you go to choose a dog, you appear strange and picky. It is much easier if you can be honest about the traits you are looking for. And heck! We should not have to hide agility. We are not doing anything wrong. In fact, agility should suggest that this person is going to spend a lot of time with their dog. Unfortunately, this is the response my friend received:

"Now I have received the reactions to your enquiry from my team, I will be more detailed:

Under no circumstances would EGS allow any dog to be adopted for the purpose you state. I think you will find that all rescue charities - starting with EGS - have clauses specifically forbidding the use of our dogs for competition.

I will add my own personal opinion: Galgos are free spirits, not subservient curs to be tortured in this way."


WOW! Understandably, my friend shot off a response in anger. I asked if I could reply to the email as well and she was happy to give me the email address.
I wrote:

Recently a friend of mine contacted you about adopting a greyhound, but was denied because of her interest in training and competing in agility. I am in the USA and we see more greyhounds participating in the sport than you do in Europe. I wanted to share some video clips with you so you could see how much fun the greyhounds are having. Agility is so much fun for both the person and the dog. Its great way to exercise and keep them busy. Hounds that are high energy and get into trouble find agility to be a fun way to get rid of excess energy. And treats! Lots of treats for the hounds!

And then I included numerous links of greyhounds of all ages and levels doing agility.

I did not receive any response and now weeks later, I doubt that I will. All we can do is try to educate.

Fidgi (below), we will find you a sibling! My friend has been in contact with another group that appears to be more savvy about these things.

All of the miserable, unhappy hounds forced to do agility in the pictures above belong to me.

24 comments:

jet said...

wow! that's crazy!!! I'm glad that she found you and you can continue to support her. Dogs need purpose. Humans and dogs evolved together because they needed each other, and they still do. Leaving a dog to rest on the couch that desperately wants a job is not part of the deal.

Maybe they don't understand the difference between racing where the dogs are a pawn for profit, and agility.

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

I'm suprised to read that European Greyhound adoption groups are so behind the times and have such closed minds. In a case like this I guess the only way to change minds is to demonstrate what can be done. I wonder what has given them such a bad impression of greys doing agility? It's wonderful your friend has other places to find her greyhound. Good luck to her, she may have a crusade on her hands! But I hope she keeps chipping away. Let us know what happens please:-)

Samantha said...

OMG! That is INCREDIBLE! I can't believe they would give that kind of response. It makes me want to reach through the computer and slap someone!

Its a good thing they have greyhounds though! Can you imagine if they were a mastiff rescue and any training would make them 'subservient curs.' That would be one handful of dangerous dogs!

Hiking Hounds said...

Good Job, I'm glad you and your friend spoke up!

Jennifer H. said...

WOW! Just WOW!!! I cannot imagine being turned away from a rescue group because I want to do performance with a possible rescue dog!! That makes NO sense at all. I truly hope your friend is able to find a brother or sister for Fidgi soon without dealing with all that nonsense!

Nina said...

Hello, I`m from Europe too and I do understand your friend dissapointment about their way of thinking. I have a similiar problem, our Club for sighthounds doesn`t allow retired racers to do lure coursing just for fun. They didn`t reply to my question why. What I want to say is that in Europe, well in my country, we just cannot choose the "right" dog for our intentions, like agility. All we have is a few pictures of dogs that are available for adoptions and a short description. For an example-I chose my greyhound because in his description was, that he is a very loving greyhound, that plays a lot and loves children. I got a dog, that was completely terrified of people, especially men with sticks. He didn`t want to be touched, he didn`t eat for a week and he was scared of children. Despite all, I love him very much and he became a great dog. I hope that your friend from Belgium will get a dog that will enjoy doing agility. Nina

Sue said...

Your post title says it all. I don't think we see many Greys doing agility here, but it's obvious how much your dogs love it. It's the same with taking Greys for long hikes, not the norm here (we are told two twenty minutes walks a day). Just because it's the norm, doesn't mean it's the only way. If your dog enjoys doing hikes, agility or anything else, then what's wrong with that. the only thing I know for certain isn't allowed by the various Greyhound rescues is to race your dog.



As to "I will add my own personal opinion: Galgos are free spirits, not subservient curs to be tortured in this way." Well words fail me. This person has no idea.

I hope your friend can get another dog soon.

Sandy ~~~ said...

Obviously the natives in the colonies have something about tormenting their cur dogs...huh? Ridiculous. I thought Europe was settled before the Americas. How could they be so far behind when it comes to attitudes about dogs?

Thanks for helping her out, Jennifer...you're the best person for her to lean on right now!

jcp said...

You should not make dogs do sports because 'Galgos are free spirits, not subservient curs to be tortured in this way'.
...equivalently...
You should not make children do sports because children 'are free spirits, not subservient curs to be tortured in this way'.
So lets all head to our collective couches and turn on the TV and watch some football.. oh wait..

whygreyhounds said...

Ridiculous! Greyhounds are dogs for god sake like all other dogs!

They may wear a different suit but underneath it all they enjoy running, jumping, eating, sleeping and being a dog!

I hope she finds a great Grey soon!!

4-legged Wiums said...

THat is crazy, surely she could get around it by telling them she just wants a pet with X personality traits tho? Atleast in Europe it is easy to get from country to country - she could even contact one of the Greyhound Rescue facilities in the United Kingdom!

houndstooth said...

Good grief! I can't imagine anyone replying like that from an adoption group. Not only is it rude to the person wanting to adopt, but it says A LOT about the group when they take that tone with a person. I wouldn't want to adopt from them after that under any circumstances!

I don't think that all Greyhounds are cut out for agility, but then again, I don't think all Beagles are, either. Maybe your friend should contact some of the people from Finland that have racers. Surely there's somewhere that she can find one. A dog with a partnership like the one built in agility training is in for one heck of a great life!

Jemma the Chihuahua said...

That is ridiculous! Nothing got to me quite like the last sentence -- "tortured"...really?! I really want to know why they think it's so bad. It'd be nice to hear about their point of view (not that I would agree with it), but it's better than just being told it's torture for the dog with no justification.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I knew you guys would be all fired up. :-) You are not going to believe this.... I just got a response to my email!!! I will post it tonight.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

I'm Leen, I'm Jennifer's pen friend from Belgium. I would like to thank you all for your lovely comments!
Fidgi loves agility, she compeets this year for the first time, she does very well. Only one more run without faults to go and she can go one grade up. Some other dogs need 3 years to go a grade up, I suppose she wouldn't do so well if she would feel tortured ;-)

Marta said...

Hi! I'm from Austria. I read your blog often and i must admit i do not always agree with you. But i absolutely agree in this case. Here too, if one wants to adopt a greyhound or galgo, one always is told -"this are very special dogs, you can't do things with them that you would do with other dogs. they won't subordinate and they are very independent." in one blog i also read you should not pull on their collars if they do not want to go in the direction you want because in that case they would lose respect for you FOR EVER. That gave me a lot to think about and i almost believed it. But now that i have a galgo-podenco mix i see things differently. Not all greyhounds/galgos are the same as not all dogs of other breeds are the same. So if anyone asks me i would say - it depends on you and your dog what you can do together.
Sadly i get impatient with my dog a lot so things are not always easy and i don't believe i will compete anywhere with him. but i have a lot of admiration for what you do with your dogs.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Marta said - "Not all greyhounds/galgos are the same as not all dogs of other breeds are the same. So if anyone asks me i would say - it depends on you and your dog what you can do together."

I totally agree with you. It totally depends on the personalities of the person and the dog regardless of breed.

Good luck with your hound! It is fun to hear from readers from other countries. It makes the world seem so small.

I really appreciate everyone's comments.

Kathy said...

Good heavens, my male greyhound would demolish my house if we didn't do sports and training. Just as all people are not the same, and as others here have comments, not all dogs--greyhound included are the same either.

Some LOVE and THRIVE on training, sports and competition while others are content to be home bodies.

I don't know where the closest greyhound tracks are to Leen, but maybe she could talk to a track herself and get a dog finished with racing straight from the track and not have to deal with any of the European Rescues. Just a thought.

greytblackdog said...

It's more than ignorance, it's CRAZY. What do you want to do with your dog? NOTHING? I guess they thought she would bet on her agility dog. UGH.

Mielikki's Hunt said...

hell, Jen, I get told I'm forcing my dogs to chase the bunny at racing. . people are ignorant and stupid

Marie said...

Wow just when you think you've heard it all! Such idiocy! I'm so glad she found you. I look forward to seeing their "reply".

Versatile Greyhounds Project said...

Am I speechless? Almost. Am I appalled? Certainly. Are the suffering from ignorance? Absolutely!

Kinipella said...

I too have found a few odd instances in greyhound rescue group...diversity...

When preparing for adoption, I introduced myself to groups as having had much training experience with dogs, mainly Labradors, but that I'd prefer a greyhound's more mellow temperament for my own pet. I was responded with: "Greyhounds are nothing like Labradors, and you should consider another breed."

Needless to say, I moved on to the next group 0_0. I wish your friend luck, and hopefully the other adoption group will find her a new family member.

jeff hiestand said...

This does not surprise me at all. My wife and I had two iggys and a greyhound. We became interested in the Spanish Galgo and contacted a resue group here in the states. We filled out the application and were approved, however we were told that the dog they chose for us had a rare Mediterranean disease that is not seen much in the US. We were concerned and asked if we could choose another dog out of fear that we could not properly care for a dog with this history. Suddenly, after asking to choose a different dog, ( the dog in question was still out of country and had not started our way) we were treated rudely by the adoption coordinator. After, doing some research on the disease, we recontacted the group and reiterated our concerns. We were then told we would be better off finding a dog breeder than choosing a rescue dog! Long story short.....we dropped that group and found another. We are now parents to a beautiful and sweet natured Spanish Galgo that loves to cuddle AND go hiking. Keep searching.