"Basic Points to Consider in the Decision-making Process" 

Ask yourself how a dog will fit into your present and anticipated future lifestyle. Dogs are not disposable items when they misbehave, get old or outlive their entertainment or “fashion” value. If you have previously had a dog that left your home for any reason other than death from old age or an unpreventable fatal illness, you need to evaluate your motivations and be certain that you are able to assume the financial, physical and emotional responsibilities that are part of dog ownership.

If you surrendered (isn’t that a nice, polite way to say “got rid of”) a previous dog because of behavioral problems, are you willing to spend the time and money it requires to properly train, exercise, and socialize a dog and to give it the attention it needs to prevent behavior problems from developing? Can you honestly afford a greyhound? The cost of caring for a dog doesn’t stop with the adoption fee and the cost of food. The American Veterinary Medical Association places the cost of the average vet visit at nearly $75.00. The initial cost of adopting a greyhound averages at least $500 for acquisition plus a basic bed, crate, coat, toys, grooming supplies and the like—nothing fancy, just the bare bones stuff you will need to properly care for the dog.

Minimum yearly costs just for food, immunizations, heartworm preventive, and licensing for a 65-pound dog are going to be $500 or more in a non urban area. And that’s just basic food and supplies, do your own grooming and training, and no illnesses or accidents. 

In spite of what we’ve come to believe, dogs and children are not a match made in Heaven. If you have a child under school age or are planning to have a baby or adopt a preschool child, you should carefully consider the decision to add a dog of any breed or age to your family. Unless you have had significant experience with both dogs and children and/or are willing to take the time and the measures necessary to protect both the child and the dog, this may not be the best time to add a dog.

Some adoption groups will not adopt a greyhound into a family with children under a certain age. That age is usually somewhere between four and six years old. By the way, “experience” doesn’t mean you’ve had a dog all your life. It means, at the very least, that you have formally trained more than one dog of more than one breed and that you have formally or informally spent time studying canine behavior and learning. Are you prepared for the responsibility of caring for an aging dog in five or ten years? If you work all day, how are you going to address the needs of an animal that may no longer have the bowel and bladder control that he once did. Do you have the patience to accept the behavioral changes that come with age and/or illness? Older dogs often vocalize more, become more demanding of immediate attention, get underfoot because they no longer hear or see as well and they’ve lost the quick reactions and agility to move out of the way quickly–all of these issues are part of adopting a dog for life. How are you going to deal with a 60 or 80 lb. dog that can no longer manage stairs on its own? If the dog also becomes ill as it ages, and chances are it will, are you prepared emotionally and financially for the challenge.

Will you be ready for the increased dependence on you? If you’ve never dealt with the responsibility of caring for an aging or dying loved one, you should learn more before you commit to a dog. The retired racer is the perfect companion—for some of us. No one breed of dog is perfect– although you would have a tough time convincing most greyhound owners of that. Not every greyhound is like every other greyhound. We can offer some generalizations to give you a sense of what to expect from the retired racer, what your responsibilities are if you choose to adopt a racer, what the pros and cons of adopting an adult dog are, and how to find the right greyhound for your home, but we cannot guarantee that the greyhound is the perfect dog for you.

From : "Running With The Big Dogs” ©Copyright, Lee Livingood 

Reprinted with permission of the author.