Roosevelt's Permanent Reprieve
by Carie Broecker
Roosevelt lived most of his life in a cage. He was infested with fleas, muzzled and caged 22 hours per day with only a few short breaks to relieve himself each day. The cages were stacked on top of each other and lined with nothing more than shredded paper.
This may sound like an isolated case of abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, this is the description of the horrific life many racing greyhounds must endure. The luckiest day of Roosevelt’s life was the day he mangled his leg coming out of the gate. Badly injured and unable to race anymore, Rosie was released to Greyhounds for Life Rescue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding loving homes for greyhounds in Northern California.
Rona and Harvey adopted their first greyhound in 1991 after Rona read an article titled “Run or Die” in LIFE Magazine. She was so moved by the article that she contacted a Greyhound Rescue group right away and adopted their first Greyhound, Gracie. Greyhound lovers have coined the term “chipping” which refers to the fact that you can’t have just one Greyhound just like you can’t eat just one potato chip. After Gracie came Sonny Boy. When Gracie passed away they adopted Annie. After Sonny Boy passed away Annie was so depressed she wouldn’t eat. She also developed terrible separation anxiety. They knew they needed to adopt another Greyhound to help heal Annie’s broken heart and bring her peace.
They contacted Greyhounds for Life and were told about Roosevelt. He was in foster care in Colorado at the time and after hearing his story, Rona said they’d like to meet him. It was arranged for him to be brought out to Lafayette, CA so Rona and Harvey could meet him. When they arrived at the house to meet Rosie, there were many friendly, beautiful Greyhounds available for adoption that day. And then there was Roosevelt with his injured leg cowering under the table. He wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone. He was terrified. He had only arrived a few days earlier and was unsure of where he was and what was happening. His injured leg had received triage medical care but was still in bad shape and would require orthopedic surgery. Of all the Greyhounds Rona and Harvey met that day, their hearts went out to Roosevelt. He was hesitant getting in the car and very on edge in the back seat even though they took turns sitting in the back reassuring him on the drive home.
Once they got to the house and Rosie met Annie, “the party started,” remembers Harvey. Annie and Rosie became fast friends and he was immediately accepted as a member of the pack. In less than a week Rosie was a new dog. This was his family and their home was his castle! Rosie soon learned that he was loved and he full privileges here – bed, sofa, whatever soft surface he chose was his for lounging in comfort. People who have Greyhounds know how much they like to lounge! They are often referred to as forty-five mile per hour couch potatoes.
Rosie underwent orthopedic surgery to fix his injured leg. He had 14 titanium screws in his leg to hold the bone in the right position for healing. He had to wear a cast for four months and then had the screws removed. It was all worth the effort though because the surgery was a success and he was finally out of pain.
All the Greyhounds Rona and Harvey have adopted have become fast friends with their other dogs, their cats, and now even with their miniature pony who is a certified service animal and has full run of the yard and house. Their Greyhounds have been wonderful with people and children. They are affectionate, loving, and docile dogs. From Harvey and Rona’s experience, Greyhounds don’t seem to have a mean bone in their bodies even after the mistreatment they received early in life. Greyhounds, in general, are not watchdogs! They will invite anyone into the home to snuggle.
While speaking with Rona and Harvey for an hour in their living room, Rosie lay on the couch next to me, on his back, with his legs up in the air, a goofy smile on his face and his head in my lap. It made me happy to know he is safe and loved. My hope is that more and more Greyhounds get the change at the life they deserve and that someday no Greyhound will be exploited and abused the way Rosie was.
There are Greyhound Rescue organizations all over the country with adoptable Greyhounds waiting for loving homes. To find a Greyhound in need in your area, please visit www.adopt-a-greyhound.org.
Greyhound Friends For Life holds an Adoption Meet and Greet the first Sunday of every month from Noon – 3 pm at Petco in Del Monte Center, Monterey. Golden State Greyhound Adoptions holds an Adoption Meet and Greet the fourth Sunday of every month from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm at Emily's Bakery, 1129 Mission Street in Santa Cruz and the third Sunday of every month from 11am - 2pm at Petfood Express at the Crossroads in Carmel.