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Book Review
The Guide to Adopting an Ex-Racing Greyhound
by Carolyn Raeke

Review by: Kate Connick, August 2005

One doesn't always have the time or energy to peruse a gargantuan tome that addresses all aspects of a given topic. Sometimes the "quickie" book is best appreciated. The trick is in finding a brief book that doesn't skimp so much as to render itself worthless. Carolyn Raeke's The Guide to Adopting an Ex-Racing Greyhound is a concise but valuable introduction to retired greyhound adoption and is likely to be a welcome addition to any greyhound lover's bookshelf.

Although undeniably brief, the content is breed-specific, enjoyable and informative. It provides a good introduction to the breed and is likely to entice many towards greyhound ownership. Superficial in some regards, it nonetheless covers basic issues of temperament and ownership very well.

Raeke asserts that greyhounds are fundamentally lazy comfort-seekers that are easy to spoil. She points out that new retirees may need time to develop confidence, learn how to play and negotiate stairs. She discusses how crates and muzzles can help to bridge the transition from track to household. Other breed-related issues like dental hygiene, anesthesia risks, and bloat are addressed. The need to keep greyhounds on leash or fenced-in is emphasized. What I most appreciate is that Raeke doesn't simply sugarcoat everything. Although her fondness for the breed is palpable, to her credit she points out both pros and cons.

This 64-page paperback is pure eye candy with its many and varied photos of greyhounds being greyhounds. TFH Publications boasts of their "foto-glaze" page coating, which makes the pages appear ultra glossy. This may or may not appeal to the reader. I'm not convinced that the binding is especially durable; it is falling apart in my copy.

I found this book to be an enjoyable celebration of the breed that is easily read in one sitting. Even the seasoned fancier, who may find no surprises in the text, will enjoy the photography. My favorite shows an otherwise innocent-looking hound resting comfortably in a cavernous, bathtub-sized hole that presumably he excavated himself.

Weaknesses include the final chapter, written by a different and lesser writer than Raeke. Most notably annoying, however, is the shameless commercial promotion of various Nylabone products (nylabones, carrot bones, POPpup bones, roarhides, 2-brush dental kits) - a tacky characteristic of TFH books in general. TFH manufactures nylabone products, but they cheapen their books by cramming the books with promotional plugs for nylabones and related items.

This book would be a thoughtful, affordable gift for the child or adult who wants to learn more about retired greyhounds. It's probably the best place to start to get a feel for what's involved in adopting a retiree, although one would be wise to supplement it with further reading once the appetite is whet. This book excels when it comes to practical concerns related to living with an adopted greyhound, and that is exactly the intent. Other reading will give greater insight into the breed, training, health and care.

The Guide to Adopting an Ex-Racing Greyhound
by Carolyn Raeke.
Published by TFH Publications, 1997. ISBN: 0793818877

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