If you've been to my studio before you've definitely met Koda. He's our 3 year old retired racing greyhound that we adopted in January. My husband, Andrew, and I dreamed many a time of what our first dog as a couple would look like. 7 years ago I had lost Tiger lily, a corgi who, as far I was convinced was my soul mate. She went everywhere with me, got along with cats and dogs, and was happy to meet everyone she encountered. So, when the topic of what breed of dog we were going to get, I was dead set on another corgi.
Somehow I found myself at a greyhound meet and greet at my local Pet Supplies Plus. I was just there to get kitty litter, when I walked in and saw these fawn like creatures laying on dog beds toward the dog food aisle. I did a double take and walked over to say hello. Low and behold it was the Prison Greyhound adoption group. This group is different from any greyhound adoption agency in Indianapolis. Not only do they rescue retired racing greyhounds by bringing them her from Daytona, but they also take 5 of the 6 dogs on a haul to a local prison to be trained. These prisoners are doing time for nonviolent crimes and have earned the privilege to train dogs. How could you not get behind that?
As soon as I walked up I was greeted my three long friendly faces. They were completely docile creatures and I was in shock at their temperament. "Are they all like this?" I asked totally in love. "Pretty much!" the woman told me. "I have two more at home!"
Two years have passed and I tried to make every single meet and greet that Prison Greyhounds had in my area. I was hooked! Last fall Andrew and I went with my mother-in-law to a dog show that was being held at the Indiana State Fair Grounds. I was dog crazy at this point and was happy to tag along. "I wonder if there will be any greys there? Maybe we'll go home with one!" I joking told Andrew. Of course there was! We met and talked to the Galgo
rescue and another greyhound rescue. Unfortunately, we left empty handed. I was to graduate from college in the winter of 2016. So, I would be able to open BB Quinn Photography full time and get my pup acclimated to his new lifestyle. It would be perfect!
I made a deal with my husband. A friend of ours was talking about going on a motorcycle trip on the continental divide and he was looking for people to go with him. I told him he could go if we got a dog. Win win, right? So, the research began! Prison Greyhounds was the winner! For Christmas all I asked for was gift cards to Petco and Petsmart. I was nesting hard!
During finals I was filling out adoption forms. A week went by then 2 weeks. I follow them on Facebook and left a message asking if they received my adoption application. You're required to read a hand book called "Greyhounds for Dummies". It took me two days to finish that book! I was ready! "Finish reading your book please!" was their response. They had to think I was crazy! " I already finished it." was what I replied. That Tuesday I got a phone interview. Yes, you have to have a phone interview. They are very thorough. Finally, in December I got my home visit. Where someone from the group comes to your house with a greyhound and makes sure you're home is a good environment for a greyhound. The greyhound that was at my home visit was Vino. She is a sweet little girl. I had her sit on the couch with me and she cuddled right up. Needless to say, I passed with flying colors.
The next haul was to arrive on January 21st. They bring 10 greyhounds up from Daytona, Florida in a hauler that looks like a little horse trailer. You show up to a location that they announce via email. You get a sheet of paper with all of the greyhounds on it. It has their names, weight, color, leash color, the person who is walking them, and rather or not they are cat friendly. I knew I wanted a male, so I looked through their stats first. I met two of the dog walkers of the dogs who I wanted to meet first.
The hauler arrived, I'll admit I started to tear up. I knew the top three dogs that I wanted to meet. First, was Humdinger, a cat friendly,spirited, fawn brindle, who's sister was on the haul too. This boy looked like a tiger! When the dogs get off the hauler they don't drink or eat anything for 24 hours. They are in a little state of shock after driving over 1,000 miles to their forever homes. I kept this in mind as I was meeting each one. Humdinger although a sweet boy had no interest in me whatsoever. I gave him some time to acclimate to his surroundings and came back to him.
The next boy was an all black 3 year old Maverick. Although there are other potential adopters there it's almost competitive and you want to find your dog fast before someone else makes a move on him. He seemed more involved with another potential adopter, so I let it be.
The final boy, was Turbo Lennon. A dark brindled 3 year old male. He was frozen in his stance. He was in total shock. I knelt beside him and let him sniff my hand. Nothing. The other potential adopter knelt on the other side of him and was staring at him and saying unrecognizable mumbles. Turbo turned away from him and leaned on Andrew. The other adopter walked away and I stayed a little longer to pet him and get a feel for him. He loved to lean. I was totally ok with that. His body started to loosen up and he was taking in everything that was going on around him, but was still in tuned with us. "I think this is our dog! Is this our dog? I just love him already." I asked Andrew. It was ultimately my decision.
We put a bid on him and he would live with a foster mom for a week to get him acclimated. He was ours! We met him at Pet Supplies Plus for a bath. "Do you want to bathe him?" His foster mom asked. "Uh yes!" He was such a good boy. We bought him toys to take with him to his foster mom's and one that we would have for him at home. "What is his new name? I can start calling him that so he'll be use to it when you pick him up." "Koda, his name is Koda." (It's Sioux for friend.)
A week had passed and it was time to pick him up. I have to admit I was a little nervous about his personal space. I have always had dogs that would get grumpy if you make them do things that they didn't want to do. He was easy. The first 2 weeks we had him I kept his muzzle on as a precaution since we have two cats. You may know them as Ruth and Leonard. Neither of them have ever been around a dog in all of their 9 lives. Lenny wanted nothing to do with him. Ruth would prance around like, "What are you going to do little doggie with that thing around your face?" Needless to say, they both run him and when he gets too close they let him know who's boss.
We've now had Koda for 7 months and I have never had a dog that was already potty trained, a total couch potato, and the easiest dog I've ever walked with a leash.
Greyhounds are such different dogs. You can never have them off a leash because if they see something they want to chase, they bolt! Koda will be laying in the grass dozing off one second and chasing a squirrel up a tree the next. He's so fast! They have no homing instinct so if they were to run with out a leash they wouldn't know how to get home. They can run up to 40 mph and get far fast. They also don't smell like a dog. They have very minimal odor and shed twice in their life. If you're thinking about adopting a greyhound they're the most intelligent, easy to train, docile, dog breed I've ever met. Imagine having a deer as pet that really loves steak, cuddles, and couch time. That's Koda.
I always ask my clients if they're allergic or afraid of dogs before they come to the studio. He is a really tall boy, but happy to meet everyone. He also doesn't jump on people. He greets them and goes back to the couch. I love having Koda meet everyone that walks through our door, because he puts everyone at ease. Besides, who doesn't love having a dog around!
Koda has been through his own transformation. He's opened up so much already and we're learning new things about him everyday. The images show his progress. He's put on 5lbs and is still gaining weight.
If you're interested in adopting a retired racing greyhound, you can find out more information go to www.prisongreyhounds.org.
Beth is a portrait, wedding, + pet photographer based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. She has a BS in Digital Photography from the Art Institute of Indianapolis. She loves hiking with her dog Koda, old family photographs, gardening, and traveling with her husband Andrew.
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