|Jack is a greyhound who came off a racetrack in Phoenix. During his racing days, he raced 60 times and won first place 30 times. Photos by Jordan Clary||Mary Kay Murphy said Jack “is a running machine.”|
Dec. 17, 2012 — It was a matter of connection that led Mary Kay Murphy to rescue her first greyhound back in the 1980s.
“There are so many animals out there, and people too, that need rescued,” said Murphy. “I just happen to have my connection with the greyhound.”
That was in Louisville, Ky., and Iris was the first greyhound she brought home.
“She was absolutely a diva,” said Murphy. “She was beautiful.”
At the time, Murphy had only recently learned about the greyhound rescue movement.
She said, “I just saw the dog and the story and how people were rescuing greyhounds who were no longer useful on the track. They injure themselves or they get too old, or they’re just not running enough.”
It’s a sad fate for a dog that was once considered an aristocratic dog and could be owned only by royalty to become what Murphy referred to as a “disposable dog.”
Greyhounds are one of the oldest breeds known to man, and according to Murphy, they go back four or five thousand years. They can also outrun any four-legged creature on the planet except for cheetahs.
“They’re called site hounds,” she said. “These dogs have an amazing ability to see. They can see half a mile away.”
For some greyhounds, their fate is also chilling.
Murphy said, “People were just horrified that they would find dozens of dogs just dumped in the desert. Shot or left to starve because if they were no longer running, they were no longer useful.”
Murphy has become a strong advocate for greyhound rescue, and after Iris died, she brought home Mary.
“Mary is a dog that a cowboy in the area knew of. He was working for somebody in Montana who was raising greyhounds to hunt coyotes,” said Murphy.
Now there is Jack. Unlike Iris and Mary, who Murphy said were very calm and subdued, Jack “is not that quiet.”
She decided to get Jack one day when she was visiting her sister in San Diego.
“She had two greyhounds and we went to the greyhound rescue place, and they had over 50 dogs,” she said. “If you walk in you see they come in all different colors.”
She got Jack sight unseen and said, “The reason I got him is he is very trusting and gentle with cats and small animals. Jack is a very easy-going dog.”
As well as Jack, Murphy has four other dogs, two Siamese cats and a parrot.
She said of greyhounds, “They are humble, quiet, amazing creatures.”
But she also stressed, “There are certain things you have to be aware of if you get one. They can never run loose. When you first get them off the track, they don’t know how to climb stairs or get in and out of a car. They don’t have common sense because they were raised on the racetrack.”
Most of the greyhound tracks have closed, but Murphy said, “There are still dogs coming off the tracks.”
Jack came off a track in Phoenix where he was no longer of use because of an injury.
It’s impossible to say one creature is more in need of rescuing than another, but Murphy would like to make people more aware of greyhounds, this ancient breed whose images are carved on the tombs of pharaohs.
For more information on greyhounds and how to adopt one, visit houndsavers.org or call toll free 877-478-8364.
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