College of Veterinary Medicine

In Memory of Our Beloved...

Serene Joy

“Mission,” as she was called when she suffered the horrid existence of a racing dog, a greyhound racing dog.  The racing “Industry” has a euphemism when someone adopts a former racer.  The Industry euphemism is a “retired” racer.  The plain truth is racing greys are not retired; they are destroyed. 
            When I adopted “Mission” in Arizona, she was a sad looking creature.  She was considered a large dog yet she weighed only 36 pounds.  I don’t know how she was able to walk.  Her brindle fur was hard, dry, and stiff.  “Mission” had no personality.  How could she?  She was caged 23 hours a day.  The only human contact was when a handler drove her from the concrete windowless kennels to the track.  Racers never meet other breeds of dogs; they never live in a home; they never go for walks.   They are not handled gently.  In fact, they are coerced into chasing a lure by a variety of means. 
            “Mission” was about to be destroyed when a non profit greyhound rescue group acquired her.  I adopted her less than four weeks after she was removed from the track.  How could you not look at her and yield your heart?  She had no joy.  Within a few days her name came to me: Serene Joy.  With kindness and attention she very slowly began to bond.  She had no positive life experiences to draw from.  Racing greys are fed “slop”—that is the name the “Industry” uses for the feed they are given.  When I offered her a morsel of bacon or tidbit of hamburger, she lowered her head and pulled away.
            Serene began to follow me around the house.  Curious but so afraid of the sounds of ordinary daily life.  Slowly we began very short walks.  Racers have never been walked on regular surfaces; they race on sand.  Consequently the pads of her feet were very tender. We could walk only short distances, day after day until the pads developed calluses necessary for longer walks.  When I adopt a pet, I take the pet into my life, to share my life.  Serene Joy “grew into” her new name.  She thrilled to go for walks, and always expressed incredulity at seeing other creatures.  Not having seen other dogs she was curious, excited and frightened.  Cats were unknown but surely reminded her of rabbits (first) and lures (second).  I was sharing the world with my pet and she responded with affection, loyalty, obedience, gentleness.  She responded to my timing, pressures, happiness and tears.  Serene Joy was a graceful, endearing part of my life for 7 ½ years.
(She was between 4 and 4 ½ years old when I adopted her).
 Serene Joy was a little bit of heaven on earth

Catherine A.


Pet Loss Hotline,  PO Box 647060 , Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-7060, 509-335-5704, Contact Us   Safety Links