My parents wanted to get another dog after their bull terrier (like the "Target Dog") was hit by a car after jumping our fence (who knew?). Through people they knew they heard about Whippet & Greyhound rescue groups that gave homes to racing dogs after they were too old/ slow/ broken for the racetracks. Dogs who'd probably otherwise be put down because they'd outlived their usefulness (read: monetization) after 2-3 years.
What some of those people do to those animals is disgusting. They often keep them on the brink of extreme hunger in order to "jazz" them up for the race. They take a bunny tail and zip it along the path so that the animals race after it, their hunger propelling them on. They like to race anyway, they are born and bred for it with their long, lean limbs, but to me this is added cruelty.
They first got the best dog in the whole world ever named Ollie, a gentle, elegant Whippet. Smart as a whip(pet), friendly, just a great dog. I think Oliver was named after the Laurel & Hardy brothers, as his brother was Stanley.
Their next choice had a big, big paws to fill and didn't quite hit the mark but were lovely in their own ways. The first was Stanley, Oliver's brother, a good dog who was absolutely neurotic about food. Totally obsessed. This poor guy must have been starved the worst because if it had anything to do with food, he would get it, no matter what was in the way. Deep gouges on the dining room table, chew marks, anything edible (even often things non-edible he made them so) was destroyed in his quest for food - ANY food. Stanley was a little much. My parents decided he would be happier on a big farm that worked with rescue dogs up in Canada where he could run and run.
The next two they brought to our house were Shelby and Wesley. It was great because my Mom was born in a town called Shelby and her high school mascot was the Shelby Whippets. It was meant to be. Shelby wasn't the smartest dog in the world, but I would challenge you to find a nicer dog anywhere. She was just a sweet, sweet girl. She was kind of big (huge for a whippet - so probably not a purebred) and a bit skittish (she liked to escape from the front door and thought it was funny to let you get close to her then hop, skip and jump away as if it were a game --> usually when someone needed to get to work or school - that was her favorite escape time). She had big ears and loved to be scratched on her back just above her tail; she'd go into an ecstatic state if you scratched her there. She would come and lay her muzzle on you and look up at you with her big doe eyes and you couldn't help but love her.
Wesley was a bit more interested in food (although not as bad/insane as Stanley was). He liked to herd my mom as she got up at 5am to get ready for school by bullying her into the closet until he got fed. Wesley was a nice dog too. It was sad to see him wolf down their food as they'd been taught (if they didn't eat someone else would) and not having enough. They never un-learn that after being starved. [[Wesley's legacy is that while my parents watched my Maltese, who was used to self-regulating his food and eating whenever he was hungry, was to teach my maltese to eat his food or it'd be gone, and to learn to be protective of it. My Maltese then passed this on to my next dog, our Lhasa Apso, who has in turned passed this along to my new Maltese! Thanks Wesley...]]
It was amazing to go watch the Whippets run in the backyard. My parents have a huge backyard fenced in and they would run the perimeter like it was a track. Sometimes I'd bring my little Maltese over and he'd try to keep up with his little legs but these Whippets were as fast as the wind. So he'd get PO'd and cut across diagonally to meet them and try to trip them up (no one said he was dumb!). They would race and play. There is something so poetic, so beautiful in time and space about their long limbs running and playing. They are simply stunning to watch in motion.
They were lazy too. They would sleep 20 hours a day, then play or eat for about 4. I've never seen dogs sleep so much. They stick their long, long thin legs out and take up half the bed. Two of them was sleeping with two not-small children.
Both of them were taken away by evil cancer. We were all heartbroken when they left. Wesley and Shelby were really lovely creatures, flawed as they were, who gave a lot of love and a lot of laughs.
"Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really."
~Agnes Sligh Turnbull ...