Greyhound, Rescue

A greyhound rescue offers a new lease on life for both the author and his newly adopted friend.

| November 2013

With Comet’s Tale Algonquin Books, 2012), author Steven D. Wolf (with Lynette Padwa) shows the benefits of animal therapy, as his visit to a greyhound rescue offered him just the lifeline he needed, and just when he needed it. This book is the story of friendship between two former winners as they attempt to make a remarkable comeback. In this excerpt from the introduction, Comet chooses Wolf to be his family, and both their lives are changed.

Greyhounds Abound

It was just past 8:00 a.m. and the road winding through the foothills north of Flagstaff was deserted. The spring air was chilly, but I rolled down the window anyway, letting the fragrant scent of Ponderosa pine rush through the car. Every so often a vista would open up and the snowy peaks of Mount Elden would appear, etched and highlighted in the sharp morning sun like a woodblock print. Then the road would curve away, the view would close, and I’d lean forward, searching for the turnoff to the foster family’s ranch.

Finally I saw it—a weather-beaten two-story house with a high-pitched roof and covered porch. It sat on a parcel of flat, grassy land the size of a football field, entirely surrounded by a high post-and-wire fence. I parked outside the gate and slowly got out, gripping my canes and bracing for the pain in my spine. Breathing hard, I leaned against the car. The air was still. At the far end of the field I glimpsed a spot of movement. In the same instant I noticed a faint rhythmic beat, like distant drumming. The spot moved closer, my eyes adjusted, and a pack of greyhounds materialized, jetting around the inside perimeter of the fence. The drumbeat deepened to thunder. A few seconds later they streaked past me, thigh muscles bunched, hindpaws stretching toward shoulders, mud flying in their wake, individual dogs blurring into a mass of muscle that flowed like mercury.

Thrilled, I watched them rocket away, racing for the sheer exhilaration of it. Just like children, I thought. Kids set loose on the first spring day after a long winter. I could almost detect laughter.

“We never grow tired of watching,” a woman’s voice called from across the muddy field. I had been so focused on the greyhounds that I hadn’t noticed the young foster mom ambling toward me, her hands shoved in the pockets of faded blue jeans. “So glad you decided to drive up after all,” she said when she reached me. “I’m Kathy. Come on, I’ll introduce you to the pack.”