Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Hound Blogging

Well the day is rapidly approaching, and in the spirit of the season we here at IM Central , having as much good cheer as the next person, if the next person is spiking the egg nog with copious amounts of Stoli, have decided to take a week off of bringing you the latest news from the wacky world of the overlords and instead share with you this heart warming story of love, loss, redemption and happiness so apropos of the times.

OK, it's not about love, loss, redemption and happiness, but it's still a neat story, reproduced in its entirety below:

A Greyhound dog has saved the life of an elderly man from South Carolina

Grace the greyhound who's life was rescued from racing by Pam and Alan Burton of South Carolina, has now returned the favour, saving the life of an elderly man who lived near the Burton's home.

Ronnie Principato, 70, of North Myrtle Beach, was retrieving Christmas lights from his garage attic at his home Nov. 10 when he blacked out.

"I fell, and if it wasn't for the dog, I would be dead by now," he said.

Pam Burton said she and Grace roam the neighbourhood for fun and exercise three or four times a day in whatever direction the dog leads.

"She wanted to go that way that day," Burton recalled.

Grace, a 4-year-old greyhound the Burton's adopted in 2005, insisted on pulling Burton toward Principato's open garage door. They found Principato, who suffers from diabetes, lying unconscious in a pool of blood.

Alan Burton called 911 and rescue crews quickly arranged Principato's airlift to Medical University of South Carolina.

Principato's wife of 41 years, Connie, was supported by friends and neighbours who drove her to Charleston that night as her husband was stabilized.

"Thank God for the dog, for the family and for the neighbours," Ronnie Principato said later with 20 stitches in his head.

Connie said she had gone Christmas shopping and that her husband was gathering strings of lights to help with the homeowners' association decorations.

"I had told my husband to wait until I got home," she recalled.

The Burtons adopted Grace through Greyhound Crossroads, based in Chappells, near Greenwood South Carolina. The group places retired racers in homes in and around the state.

According to the Greyhound Pets of America, more than 18,000 retired racing dogs get a new lease on life as family pets each year.

Dr. Randy Werkhoven, chief of staff at Waccamaw Regional Veterinary Center in Conway, has researched dogs for many years.

He said Grace's story is extraordinary because greyhounds are sight, not scent, dogs. They are able to see a small moving object a half-mile away, but aren't known for their "sniffing-out" abilities like some other breeds.

Werkhoven said each dog possesses 120 million to 220 million olfactory cells in body tissue vs. 5 million in a human's, increasing the sensitivity of a dog's five senses.

When a dog sniffs the air, "they get chemical messages coming to them from hundreds of feet to hundreds of yards or further, maybe miles. It's telling them about their environment that they can't see," he said.

"We're seeing more and more greyhounds because of rescue groups, " Werkhoven added. "They're very nice pets. One of the things they're known for is sleeping."

On their walks, Pam Burton had always exchanged pleasantries with the Principatos, who retired to their street from suburban Philadelphia.

"We just said 'Hello,' that's all," she said, noting the incident had brought her family closer to the neighbours.

"We need to look after our neighbours. I truly think the Holy Spirit sent Gracie and me that way."

"Holy Spirit" was the name of Principato's cat, right Luster?

Luster is friendly, happy, playful, and energetic for a greyhound. She is a little shy around new people but will warm up after a little time. She is very funny! As if the missing teeth aren't enough, she has a tremendous overbite! Her lower jaw is nearly an inch shorter that her upper resulting in always been able to see her front few teeth on top. She kind of resembles a gopher when she's sniffing the air. She LOVES soft chew toys and found the corner where her foster family keeps them within 2 hours of arriving... now they're in a pile around the bed she chose. For being older, she is very spry; she plays in short bursts and is affectionate. She enjoys playing with toys and will steal the folded socks and hide them in her crate. Luster would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children, 6 and up. She is okay with other dogs, but would prefer if there not be too many dogs in the home. She would also prefer the other dogs to be average to larger size, but might be fine with only one other smaller dog in the home. She would probably prefer to have another dog to keep her company when the family is away. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.


James said...

I propose Greyhound Heroes Day. We'll all celebrate by hanging out on the couch with our favorite hounds.

Ironicus Maximus said...

A fine idea, except that around IM Central there is very seldom room on the couches for the bipedal residents.

Anonymous said...

Great story! Greyhounds will indeed switch to their sense of smell if they lose sight of prey on a chase.