My Companion, Gallow

Gallow the Greyt

Retired racing greyhound from Derby Lane in St Petersburg, FL.*

Gallow came into my life by sheer chance. While standing in line at the feed store, purchasing chicken feed and musing with the shopkeeper about my previous dogs, a strange man behind me chimed in, "You like greyhounds? Are you looking to adopt one?"

I'd recently lost a greyhound in a traumatic adoption fail that left me with tremendous love for a dog I was unable to retrieve from the agency (who'd dognapped him), and an empty void in my life of a canine companion.

Greyhound adoptions are unique to any other domesticated pet adoption.

These dogs leave the track as either decorated athletes or disappoiting failures. Gallow was the latter. Retired just weeks into his racing career for not following the rules, he was yet another dog headed to the over-filled retirement kennel for sensitization to the outside.

I accepted the man's offer to meet the dog he had available. This is extremely uncommon, as greyhound adoptions are typically handled by rescue groups who impose a mandatory foster period to adjust a dog to 'pet life,' provide necessary de-sexing services (to prevent breeding), and then prepare the dog to be adopted.

Greyhound Adoption Process:

  • Meet a greyhound rescue group or foster parent with a dog for adoption. Meeting your dog first is not common.
  • Rescue group assesses your home with a visit, meets your pets, ensures you are fit to care for a greyhound (by their standards), then either approves or denies you for adoption.
  • They will "match a dog" that they have in their system with your needs, personality, and interests. Sometimes, you can choose the exact dog you connected with, but in my experience, this is not their priority.
  • You sign a contract stating a variety of things you will never do with your dog: Let them off a leash, race them, donate them to science, etc, or they have every right to reposess your dog.
  • A fee upwards of $250 is collected and your dog is delivered to you.

How I adopted Gallow:

  • I visited Abernathy Kennels at Derby Lane Racetrack where Gallow lived.
  • We met, he seemed cool, but otherwise distracted by the 59 other dogs in the kennel.
  • I said, "Yes, I'll adopt him."
  • Their only condition was that I had him neutered before they gave me his pedigree paperwork, to prevent me from breeding him for profit.
  • I drove up in my little Misubishi sedan on Thanksgiving day, put a collar and leash on him, and taught him to hop in the back seat.

And the rest is history - and often quite hilarious.