Finding the Right Homes for Retired Hounds in the Delaware, Maryland, D.C., Virginia Area ...and Beyond!
Dog Diaries

The Greyt World of Merle

by Merle Doughten

As you enter the front door, please watch your step. No matter how many times we pick up the squeaky toys, they still end up all over the place. If you do happen to step on one and the squeaky still squeaks, let me apologize now for the mugging you will receive when my herd of greyhounds runs you over.

Since you stopped by, have a seat and let me introduce my family and myself. My name is Merle Doughten. Along with my wife, Andrea, and two children Amanda (13) and Anthony (10) we are the Delaware representatives for Greyt Expectations Greyhound Rescue (GEGR).

We handle some adoptions and fostering for the group, and with our herd, get out and spread the word for greyhound adoption. We try to answer any questions people ask, and if we can’t answer them, we direct them to someone who can.

I am hoping that by writing this little column on the web site I can relate some stories about my herd along with other stories and information that can be helpful for someone looking to adopt, or just wanting to waste a little bit of time!

Up front, I would like to say I am neither for nor against greyhound racing so please don’t look for ammunition here.

As for my herd, as I like to call them. We have 3 greyhounds and a mutt. All of our greys were adopted through Greyt Expectations and we have had a wonderful experience ever since. So make yourself comfy and let me introduce you to my babies!

Gracie, also known as Queen Gracie, was brought home in August of 2003. We had adopted another grey, Tagger, but he was unhappy and had started showing aggression toward my son. We loaded Tagger up and drove to southern Maryland from Delaware and got to meet the dogs as they were coming in. Since this was our second trip down, we asked Deb and George Johnson (then running GEGR) if we could help out with what is called the Groomathon.

The Groomathon starts as the dogs come in the door. They are bathed, nails are trimmed, ears and teeth are cleaned, they are given a heartworm treatment, fed and watered, and Dr. Mac gives them a check up. After that the adopters can start looking at the dogs. Helping with the Groomathon gave us a chance to meet the different dogs that were available.

We had decided that we would look for a girl if any were available. Shadow became available when Doug and Lisa Parren took a pretty black tuxedo girl, Onyx instead. We walked the petite dark brindle girl with the doe eyes and I knew I wanted her.

While I was walking her outside, Andrea was inside sitting next to a large crate that had two guys inside. These were the brothers, Jack and Mack. They were “spook” greyhounds and very afraid of everything. Deb did not wish to have them separated since they had been together for their entire lives. Andrea wanted them, but with our small house I didn’t think it would be wise. Andrea sat with them talking quietly to both, trying to get them out of the crate.

When Jack did come out to get his nails trimmed, he immediately wanted to go right back in. We never did get to trim his nails because he started pulling away so hard.

Mack, on the other hand, tried to curl up into a tight little ball all the way in the back of the crate. When we finally got him out, he kept coming and coming. He was long and huge!!!! Once out he froze like a statue and would not budge. I couldn’t see what Andrea liked about them, if I had only known then what I know now!

After the paper work was done, we took Shadow home. The first few days were pretty stressful, for her and for us. Her new name was Gracie, but she hated being alone. She cried and cried. At the same time, Andrea was still looking on the web site to see if the boys had been adopted. She emailed and called me at work and gave me updates on them. That weekend we were back in the van and heading back to southern Maryland. It was the best arm twisting I ever got!

Gracie is the smallest of the three, topping the scales at about 53 pounds. She had an almost black face with some gray around her eyes and in the year and half we have had her, her entire face is showing quite a bit of grey. She is a dark brindle with dark orange stripes and a small white patch on her chest and feet. She has a very waggy tail attached to a full hairy butt! She also has the cutest bat ears you could imagine. She also goes by the name Queen Gracie!

Jack is the next biggest, coming in at 63 pounds, and is tri-colored with white and red fawn patches. His face has an almost bandit like black mask and his body is covered in dark freckles on all the white areas. He has a very dignified look to him, and would look right at home in some of the old paintings you may find with greyhounds.

Mack, also known as Big Mack or the Big Galoot, is your classic big greyhound. He has the deep chest, long slender body, muscular legs, and his ears are usually laid back on his big head. His is mostly white with freckles and has a brindle mask on his face. He weighs 88 pounds, but looks much, much larger. For his size, he is the biggest chicken of the bunch. Mack and Jack were born on Halloween 2001.

We also have a mixed yellow lab/ terrier we like to call “Damn Dog”. Her name is Emmy and she loves playing with the bigger greyhounds. She is only 35 pounds but can hold her own when they team up on her and chase her around the yard.

So, that is my herd. Hopefully you will be reading more and more about them if you continue to follow this column. I have lots of stories and really hope to get to share them with you. So as you leave, please make sure the door is closed, I really don’t need to chase a greyhound down the street…again. I hope to see you again!!!
Greyhounds aren't just dogs, they are a way of life!