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Love is a greyhound

Many of our friends are wanting to know how our Kieran is doing...but I'm also writing this post to alert greyhound owners of potential health concerns AND encourage anybody out there looking for a loyal, brave, amazing four-legged companion to consider greyhound adoption. It's one of the greatest things we ever did!

Our Kieran (aka Hibest Carrie)
Our 10 year old retired racer came off the track at the rather advanced age of 5 years old. Usually, most adoptable greyhounds you'll see are in the 2.5-3 years range when they can no longer win money for the owners. But we think they were going to breed our girl since she was moderately successful on the track...she never had puppies though. So she came to us in middle age. And has spent the last 5 years eating cookies, going on walks, getting belly rubs, being afraid of thunderstorms, leaving puddles of drool at the kitchen door waiting for us to come home. They're "velcro" dogs who want to only be wherever you are. She's a sweet girl who rarely barks, mostly lays around all day, and begs for peanut butter sandwiches. She will work for cheese.

Right around Easter, she came down with a nasty cough so we took her to the vet and was put on antibiotics for possible kennel cough along with cough suppressants. But we saw no noticeable improvement in the coughing...in fact, it got worse if anything. What started as a hacking "goose honk" with a little reverse sneeze at the end turned more frequently and less forceful. More of a wheezing. And when she stopped eating the beloved peanut butter sandwiches that are a treat to put her pills in, we knew she didn't feel well.

So yesterday at the vet they didn't like the sounds of her labored breathing. Chest x-rays showed fluid on her lungs, around her heart, and in her abdomen. In all, they drained 3 pounds off her lungs and couldn't even get it all. So she's more comfortable for now.

It leaves some tough decisions ahead though for our family. The recommendation is for a cardiologist because of heart disease. There's a small chance, however, that it could be something with, say, a liver that would be treatable with drugs to allow her to lead a longer and fairly normal life. Or...it could just be plain old heart disease. Just like in a human, there is only containing the problem and her quality of life would deteriorate. For now, the fluid on her lungs will come back, but the vet can't say when. A week, a month, etc.. When it does, there isn't much to be done to ease her suffering other than put her down.

Regardless of the outcome, our time with Kieran appears to be drawing to a close. We're very sad to the point of tears already. But really I'm not sad at all. We're just as lucky as her. She got a second chance at life and a home coming off the track. We got one of the most amazing friendships possible. As the story goes, Kelly was not intending to adopt Kieran...Kieran picked her while Kelly was trying to adopt a different breed. But sometimes fate intervenes. She's been on car trips with us, she goes to the store, to get coffee, she waits staring out the back window while we get milk. We even bought our current car with her along to make sure she could easily jump into the back cargo area!

Thank you to all of you who have expressed your sympathy. She has lived a good, happy life and I'm sorry she is leaving us and sorry she cannot play and run like she used to. But I also love her...and know her personality...enough to know she wouldn't want us so sad. Seeing a sad owner only makes her sad. The true mark of a best friend...she cares nothing for herself and only wants to please.

Losing a dog always makes me think of the Will Rogers quote. "If there are no dogs in Heaven then when I die I want to go where they went." If she does leave us, I know she'll be taken care of like she deserves. I suppose that is the mark of faith...life would be completely worthless and unfair if there isn't some better place for greyhounds.


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