» Family Photographer Mary Schannen serving Dallas Texas and surrounding areas.

Our Newest Family Member!

My youngest son is off to kindergarten.  I knew I would miss the kids so much, so after much discussion, research, and more discussion, we decided we needed a dog.  My husband is allergic, so we’ve never had any furry pets.  However, we always knew that when the kids get a little older, we wanted to get a ‘big dog’.  I always envisioned the big, gentle lab just lying down on the brown leather sofa with plaid fleece blankets all around.   Just hanging out, part of the family, letting the kids lay on top of him while watching TV, and the warmth from the wood burning fireplace, logs on the piled up on the side.  Basically,  a scene out of an L.L. Bean catalog, (or my grandparent’s library in Hanover, NH).   Ah – but I digress…Remember, my husband is ALLERGIC and we live in TEXAS, so wood burning fires in our livingrooms are pretty rare.

So, back to more research.  I love horses.  I grew up in NYC, however spent much time in NH at my grandparents, and I would ride and take care of horses as much as I could.  I’ve never been in a position to actually ‘own’ a horse, so in my mind, the next best thing was a Great Dane.  Or so I thought…..Just because I love Great Danes, that doesn’t mean Great Danes are going to love living with us.  Because of work and family commitments, I won’t have the time to make sure that high energy dogs get the exercise they need.  If a high energy dog gets ‘bored’ or needs more exercise, they will be miserable (and possibly use your house as their personal gym, wreaking havock on the furniture!)  Of course, Great Danes and Labradors are high energy dogs.  Not a good fit.

Puppy, or adult?  Again – don’t have too much time to train, plus I haven’t had a dog in a long time, so adult.

Rescue?  I always worried about their past – With two small children in the house, I need a gentle soul, one that’s tolerant and sweet.  Once the children are grown up, I will have more time and energy to take care of an animal with issues.  However, I really can’t do that now – Would not be fair to the animal, nor my family who need me.

More research.  My good friend Tiffany told me about how she adopted a retired racing Greyhound once.  Was a wonderful dog, in the nine weeks, she may have cleaned about 12 hairs off the kitchen floor, and highly recommended them.  The issue she had is that her Greyhound did not get along with her cat, that has been a family member for a long time.   They really tried to make it work, but as you know, dogs and cats don’t always play well.

Hmmm – A Greyhound, sounds interesting.   But they just got off the racetracks – they must need a lot of exercise!  But just in case, I’ll go check them out.

Wow!  Apparently, a retired racing Greyhound, is just that – RETIRED!!!!!  Once they are off the tracks, they are pretty much done!  Greyhounds were bred for quick burst of speed (they have the largest heart of any dog – enabling them to run so fast).  They are sprinters, but not endurance runners.  They are affectionately known as ‘the world fastest couch potato’!   Basically a run in an enclosed area or a longer walk once a day is all a retired racer needs.  They typically sleep up to 20 hours a day!

Ok – second problem – my husband’s allergies.  Well, many allergy sufferers do well with Greyhounds.  They shed very little and have no undercoat.

Rescue? – Well, for the most part, the retired racers were treated well.  They love to run and be with other dogs.  They do need to learn how to live in a house, but often an adopted racer first lives in Foster care, therefor learning about the house – tables, windows, mirrors, stairs, etc.

What else about the Greys -  (Please, Please, Please feel free to either correct me or add more if my information is inaccurate – You can do that in the comments or contact me directly. )

Demeanor- gentle, sweet, affectionate, eager to please.

Intelligence – Very Smart, pretty easy to train, but get bored easily sometimes.  (However, they do not know how to get back home if loose – will elaborate below)

Noise – Basically Greys don’t bark.  Some do, but it’s not a characteristic of the breed.

Guard dog? – NOT – They’ll greet the intruder at the door, say ‘come on in and pet me!’

Good with children – Yes, typically.  As with most dogs, if the child is too hands on or rough, the Grey will typically back off or just leave the room.  May not be a good fit with very young children, but again – depends on the situation. (My kids are not rough or very overly affectionate with animals).

Life expectancy – 12 – 14 years.  Pretty good health –

For  us – what could be a better breed???  They remind me of horses – I just love how they look – so poised and statuesque, but they can be really silly too (just look up ‘Greyhound Crazies’ on youtube – hysterical).

Well, we wanted to meet some Greys, make sure they are ok with the kids and my husband’s allergies, so we went to a  Greyhound Unlimited ‘Meet and Greet’ event.  My husband petted and hugged each animal and we had a great time (and the hubby felt perfectly fine all day -yay!).  We had no intentions of bringing home a dog that day, so we made sure to tell the kids that we were JUST looking at them and we would NOT be bringing home a Greyhound on that day.    Well, it turns out we really didn’t need to convince the kiddos that we wern’t bringing home a Grey that day – it was ME!  I fell IN LOVE with Brie.  A week later, after chats with her foster mom, meeting and liking my MIL’s dog, we brought her home.

My 8 year old wanted to change her name to Abby, and I really want him to feel a part of Abby’s upbringing, so Abby is her name and she responds to it nicely.

I’ll post more about Abby in future posts and will get some better shots in.  She so pretty, has a great, fun personality. so affectionate and  to sum it all up -  – PURE JOY!


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  • sarah costa - what gorgeous images of your new family member I LOVE these so much absolutely wonderful story as well!

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