Off the Clock: English Professor Speaks Up for Greyhounds

Posted: July 28, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: July 28, 2010 at 8:11 am

By Tara Laskowski

Corinne McCarthy with Bruno, in front, and Casey, a foster dog. Photo by Lori Ann Wilson

Corrine McCarthy may not be able to trace her own family lineage very far back, but her greyhound Bruno is a different story. A former racing dog, Bruno has a family tree that goes back more than 200 years. He is, as McCarthy likes to say, a very “regal” dog.

Seeing Bruno in person, you won’t find any traces of arrogance, even though his daddy was one of the best racers in the business. Bruno is a quiet, gentle dog that likes to nap a lot during the day, but he still loves to run. McCarthy, a Mason assistant professor of English, adopted Bruno from Greyhound Rescue Inc. two years ago. She says he runs laps in her back yard, digging out his own mini racetrack from tracing the same route over and over.

On the weekends, they visit pet stores to help spread the word and collect donations for the rescue organization. McCarthy hands out literature about how good greyhounds are as house pets (“They’re odorless! They sleep all day!”) while Bruno hangs out with his dog buddies and lets people pet him. McCarthy also helps out by taking in foster dogs whenever possible.

“I never thought I wanted a greyhound,” says McCarthy. “But when I first met one, I thought it was the coolest dog I’d ever seen. They are so striking, calm, relaxed and friendly. I fell in love.”

McCarthy researched dog racing and discovered that many greyhounds are saved from death because of dog adoption organizations. About 90 percent of greyhounds are now adopted after retiring from racing.

Another benefit, says McCarthy, is that the people who adopt these dogs have formed a very close-knit community. McCarthy has found fellow greyhound owners in the area, and they meet for walks, take turns pet-sitting and even swap greyhound clothes. Because greyhounds easily get cold, they wear sweaters and coats in the winter. Corny, maybe, says McCarthy, but she adds that anyone who sees a greyhound outside in a raincoat can’t help but swoon.

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