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Blarney's
Castle

Music - Blarney Pilgrim, trad. Irish jig. Thanks to Reel Music.

Hey! I'm Blarney. Welcome to my castle! Doesn't look like much, does it? And Mama says the inside's even worse! But I'm lucky...I don't live there. I live in a comfy warm house with my family. This is the story of how that came to be.

On May 1, 1997 I was just beginning my career as a professional racer, and I thought I had life pretty well under control. My ankles used to get sore sometimes, but life wasn't too bad. But the next day my trainer, Judy, found out that she had a whole truckload of new dogs coming in and she had to make room for them. Uh-oh. That could spell trouble, and I hadn't been running very well because of my ankles. I got scared because I'd heard rumors in the kennel that sometimes when a dog wasn't running well he got sent away and never came back. None of us ever knew where they went.

Judy walked down through the kennel, looking in the crates. I curled up in a corner, hoping she'd pass on by. But she stopped. "Alan," she said (that's what she always called me), "I hate to see you go, old friend, but it's time." Boy, I was really scared then! But Judy said, "Don't worry. I know somebody I can call that might be able to find a good home for you. You're such a sweet guy, I know somebody will love you." Home? What did she mean by that? I thought I was home. Or did she mean my childhood home in Oklahoma? And somebody who? I never knew a lot of people. Just Judy and the other trainers and handlers and the Boyds, the nice people that raised me.

Late that evening, Judy came to take me out of my crate. Racing was going on down the hill, so I hoped I was going to work. Maybe she'd forgotten about sending me away, or changed her mind. But instead of taking me to the truck she walked me to the guard shack and handed my leash to a lady I had never seen before.

Her name was Janet, and I could tell she wasn't race folks. "Now what?" I wondered. "Is she taking me to the vet?" But she didn't take me anywhere. She just waited there with me for a while. I could hear race sounds coming from down the hill and I wanted to go down there and run! If I just had one more chance I'd remind Judy how fast I was and I wouldn't let her know if my ankles hurt. I didn't really mind that much if they hurt as long as I got to run!

After a while, a car drove up. A man and a woman and a black Greyhound got out. The hound looked a little chubby to be a racer, but he looked like he knew his way around. Janet started leading me toward them. "Who are they?" I was scared, and I kept jumping around and trying to pull away from Janet, but she knew how to handle me. As we got closer, Janet and the other two people let me and the black dog sniff and talk for a minute.

"What's going on?" I whispered in his ear.
"Don't worry, they're nice. I think you're coming home with us," he said.
"Home?" I asked.
"Yeah, you'll like it. Soft beds and lots of attention. Just act nice so they'll like you. I'll fill you in on the rest later."

The man and the woman started petting me and scratching my ears and talking to me. The man took my leash and we went for a short walk. I could still hear the track sounds, and though I tried to stay calm, I sure did want to go run! The man talked to me a lot and stroked my head and scratched my ears. I decided I liked him so I jumped up and gave him a big hug. In a few minutes, he brought me back to Janet and the other woman and the black dog.

Finally the man and woman put the black dog and me in the back of their car, on a nice soft blanket and we drove away. I had never ridden in a car with windows before. I couldn't believe I was going so fast and not getting tired! I stood up for a long time and sniffed at the man and the woman. She rubbed my ears and talked to me a lot.

Then I got tired and lay down. The black dog had gone to sleep as soon as we got in the car, so I figured there must not be much to worry about. When I lay down, the black dog woke up and we had a chance to talk more. He told me his name was CJ. He used to be a racer, too, but he broke his leg and couldn't run fast enough anymore. No wonder he looked like he knew his way around! He had raced at the same track! After his leg healed this same man and woman came and took him to their house to live. CJ said the man's name was Daddy, and the woman's name was Mama. "You'll love them once you get to know them," he said. "After a while you won't even miss living in the kennel."

After a while we stopped, and Mama and Daddy got CJ and me out of the car. They led us to a building that didn't look at all like a kennel. I didn't know what it was. "It's a house. We live here," CJ whispered. We went inside and Daddy took my leash off and let me explore for a few minutes. There were two other dogs waiting there, but they were way too little to be Greyhounds. The littlest one was asleep and barely looked up when we came in. The house was strange. There weren't any dog crates anywhere. Most of the floors were soft and fuzzy. I found a big pan of water and had a drink. That's when the other little dog ran up to me. She barked and growled at me, but I just looked at her.

"Who are you?" I asked.
"I'm Maggie. I run this place and you'd do well not to forget it!"
"Yes Ma'am!"
"Hey, good attitude! Okay, you can stay."
"Are you a Greyhound? You sure don't look like one."
"Of course not, silly! I'm a Carolina Terrier!"

Then Daddy opened another door and CJ and Maggie ran toward it. "Come on! I want to show you the back yard!" CJ said. All of us, even Mama and Daddy, went out. I found myself in the biggest turnout pen I'd ever seen. It was huge! CJ took off running, and I followed him. This was fun! CJ told me it was called a back yard and we would get to play there a lot, and sometimes Mama and Daddy would play with us.

We went back in the house after a while and Mama got out a bunch of food dishes. She scooped out some stuff from a bag, and then added some other stuff and stirred it all up, then she put one of the dishes down in front of me. I looked up at her, but she stroked my head and said "It's okay, you can eat it." It didn't taste like the food I was used to getting, but it wasn't bad. Each dog had his own bowl, but Mama stayed there to make sure we didn't get into each other's food. Maggie tried to get in mine, but Mama shooed her off. After we ate we dogs all went out in the back yard again for a few minutes, and CJ showed me the "business district". When we came back in, everybody went to another room and Daddy turned off all the lights. Mama led me back to the other room, where CJ was already lying on a blanket and Maggie and the other little dog were on what I later found out was Mama and Daddy's bed. But I didn't like it in that room, so I went back to the food room and lay down. I was still pretty confused, but it had been a long scary day and I was tired, so I went to sleep pretty fast.

When I woke up the next morning at turnout time, everybody else was still asleep. So I went to the room where they all were and barked. Mama got up and let CJ and me out. When we came back in she had our breakfast ready. It was more of that strange stuff, but I was beginning to get used to it. Then she let us go back out to play for a while, and she even came out with us. She had a ball that she would throw and CJ would chase it. He seemed to enjoy it, but it didn't look like that much fun to me. But then I discovered a stuffed bunny. I picked it up and took it to Mama. She threw it and I ran after it. That was fun! When we went back in the house, Mama went to another room that I hadn't seen before. CJ told me it was her computer room. He has a sofa in there that he sleeps on when Mama's in there. I went in and watched for a while, but all she did was poke at a box with her fingers, so I got bored. I went back to the big room where there was another box that had people inside it. Sometimes they talked and sometimes they played music. It was interesting to watch, so I stayed in there most of the time. I found out later that they call this other box a TV.

Later that day Mama and Daddy and CJ and I went for another ride in the car. I was afraid again because I didn't know where we were going. Were they taking me back to the track? I was just starting to like it here! But we went to another house where there were a lot of people. They all scratched my ears and played with me, and it turned out to be fun.

We went back to our house and had supper and more playtime, and that was my first whole day with my new family. A day or two after that Mama started calling me Blarney. Mama's Irish and she even kissed the Blarney Stone once. Now she kisses me. I'm part Irish, too! I didn't know Blarney meant me for a while, but I finally figured it out. Since then I've learned all kinds of stuff, like that littlest dog's name is Harry and I'm not supposed to step on him, and if I roll over on my back I'll get a belly rub, and if I chew Daddy's shoes I'll get scolded. CJ and I are real brothers now and we have a blast playing together. And sometimes we snuggle up together for a nap and he licks my ears. Sometimes Maggie licks my ears, too. I love it when Mama brushes me and when Daddy plays with me. I love to go for walks and car rides. And I've made lots of new friends.

I don't miss living in the kennel, but sometimes I miss racing just a little bit, and every now and then I'll hear something or smell something that will remind me of my first life and I'll think about it. I kinda missed Judy for a while. She was nice. But she didn't have time to give me as much attention as Mama and Daddy do. And Judy had to give me up, but I know now that Mama and Daddy will never send me away. Now I can lie down anywhere I want and if I want to go out to play all I have to do is say so. And my bed here is way more comfy than my crate was.

Oh, and I have a girlfriend now. She lives in Canada, so I never get to see her, but she and I send email notes to each other, and I have pictures of her. Her name's Minka and she's beautiful! So now I'm glad I got to retire early. There was nothing to be scared of after all. I just hope when my friends back at the track retire they get a family like mine.

Now I've been here a while and have two more sisters and five more brothers. Cassidy retired from racing and came to live with us in September. Then in October Giz came here after she retired from her career having Greyhound babies. They're good sisters and I'm glad they're here. Giz is old and pretty small, so it's my job to take care of her. The next April, LB came to live here. He's CJ's littermate and looks just like him. Then the next September, Tony came. Then the little Monster came here in January. He's a trip! Next, Willie came to live with us in May. And last (so far) came Elvis. He got here in September. I've been here two years now and this family is getting pretty big! Old Harry died in June, but there are still 9 Greyhounds plus Maggie here.

Sometimes other Greyhounds come here and stay a while and then leave. Mama calls them foster dogs and she says they go to live with other families that love them, but I wish they could all stay here. But I guess if they all lived here Mama and Daddy wouldn't have time to play with all of us as much. I love to play with Mama. I'm her boy. She calls me her baby boy even though MONSTER is really the youngest. CJ is Daddy's special dog. But they both love all of us.

To help people see what great pets we are, Mama and Daddy often take all of us hounds out to special events like festivals and parades and stuff. We have tons of fun and make lots of great new friends. And sometimes after people meet us they adopt Greyhounds for their families. We've even been to the beach twice where we met hundreds of other Greyhounds. That was a blast!

Mama's description of me: Blarney is 29 1/2" tall, and weighs about 82 lbs. He's white with black ticking and dark brindle patches. The ticking is paler in winter when his coat is heavier, but in summer he's practically polka dotted! He has the most muscular hind legs I've ever seen. But for all that size and strength, he's kind and gentle. He's friendly and affectionate, and loves to snuggle. He's a clown that will do anything for attention, so he gets in trouble every now and then. But everybody loves him and he loves everybody, especially kids. Bred by John C. Boyd, he was born January 1, 1995 in Keota, Oklahoma, and raced for the Boyd Kennel at Tri-State Greyhound Park under the name of Craigie Alan. I've recently learned that he went to the Spring Nationals in Abilene KS in 1996 (at the age of 15 months) and won a stakes race.

This picture was in the June '96 issue of the Greyhound Review.


Check out my pedigree, and click on the links to see pictures of some of my famous ancestors.. And please visit my brother CJ's page, and my sister Cassidy's page, and my other sister Giz's page, and my other brother LB's page, and my brother Tony's page, and my baby brother MONSTER's page, and visit with the other family dogs, too.


Check out the awards we've won OR see if your page qualifies for our award.


Special thanks to my aunt, Clarice Mills, who scanned lots of pictures for Mama, and who really really needs a Greyhound of her very own! I love you Aunt Clarice!


Fosters and Adoptable Hounds - Mama and Daddy often foster Greyhounds in our home while they wait for families of their own. Please stop by and say hello to current and past residents, and get a better idea of what Mama and Daddy do with these Greyhounds (and why they do it).

Visit Sam's page - he was Mama's boy before me, but he went to wait for us at the Bridge before I came here. I wish I'd known him.

Visit CJ's Hangout - he's my big brother and he's got lots of neat pictures!

Visit Cassidy's Page - she's my sister!

Visit Giz's Page - she's my sister, too, and her page has pictures of her grandkids. Does that make me a Greyt uncle?

Visit LB's Place - another brother!

See Tony's Tail - and another brother!

Visit the Monster Movie - my baby brother, the little heathen! (but I love him)

Meet the Cassidy Clan - a bunch of hound-crazy humans!

Visit the GREYHOUNDS! page - about retired racing Greyhounds in general, with links to more neat stuff. You can even find out how to adopt one of us wonderful critters!

Visit the other Family Dogs - about the other dogs in the family, Harry, Maggie and the rest of the pack.

- some nice people get together by email to pray for dogs and cats and other animals when they get sick or hurt or lost.

 

Check out the Hound Mountain page! Wemake all kinds of neat stuff for Greyhound folks and part of the money goes to Greyhound adoption organizations!


Hound Mountain WebCraft 1997-1999