AS ALWAYS, I LED WITH MY HEART
I WAS DEAD WRONG –
I’m a self-confessed do-gooder. Bleeding heart. Tree hugger. Human hugger. Dog hugger. In fact, anything or anyone that will stand still for long enough will get hugged. I do try to remember and ask first.
Lamp posts and mail boxes don’t stand a chance. They can’t get away.
I see the good long before I see the bad. Invariably get taken advantage of. Or misunderstood. Carry my heart on my sleeve. Cry at sunsets and La Traviata. Ducklings and fighter jets roaring overhead.
Yup, that would be me. Always have been. Always will be. No intention of trying to change. Too old anyway.
Oh yes, I live in Florida. Sunshine State.
HOME TO GREYHOUND RACING. A RED-HOT BUTTON.
No, I’m not an animal activist. But I do keep a close eye on what happens around me. My pups are rescues. I support our local humane society the best I can.
So, when time came to vote, as always, I led with my heart.
PHASE OUT GREYHOUND RACING. YES OR NO.
I voted YES.
And found myself in the middle of a firestorm. Dodging dog leads and halters and muzzles from everywhere.
GREY HOUND RACING WILL BE PHASED OUT BY 2020 IN FLORIDA.
Why did I vote YES?
Because of the horrific stories in the local press about the terrible injuries on the race track. With photos.
Because of descriptions of the conditions the dogs live under.
Because proof was found that these dogs are drugged to improve their performance.
I’m naive and trusting enough to believe what I read in my local paper.
Why should I have voted NO?
I didn’t research the issue. It’s no excuse but I didn’t know, or bother to find out, what would happen to these retired dogs.
I DIDN’T THINK IT THROUGH!
I am told:
· The good ones will be shipped off to where racing is still legal.
· They will probably be living under atrocious conditions. Mexico was mentioned.
· Many will be euthanized.
· Florida shelters are already over-crowded.
· Other dogs will be euthanized to make space for the newcomers.
· It will be impossible to find long term foster homes.
· Adoption will be minimal. These are large dogs.
· Many people involved with the day-to-day operation of grey hound racing will be unemployed.
I’m not so sure about what I’ve been told. I found too many statistics I couldn’t verify.
Thus, I referred my questions to my local shelter, one of the best I’ve come across in any place
I’ve lived. And that’s been quite a few.
I’m waiting for an answer. I know it will come.
But on a personal level, what I most blame myself for –
I’m told these dogs love racing. They are bred for racing.
And while conditions here in Florida are not perfect, where the good ones will be shipped to might be much worse.
Which means, in my well-intended ignorance, I’ve hindered, not helped.
Unfortunately, as I said, I always lead with my heart.
In the meantime –