Saturday, September 24, 2011

I'm Walking for Jesse Marie

One thing about adopting retired racing greyhounds is that their pedigrees are very well documented.  Each dog is tattooed with unique identifying numbers, and racing and breeding records are very thorough.  Because of this, it is possible to trace my dogs' lineage back to the 18th Century, when records were first kept.  Considering what a history junkie I am, I think it's incredibly cool to have access to such detailed info on my dogs' family trees.

Emma was one of eight puppies born on January 21, 1997.  Her father was 'Aussie Iago' (an Australian import who may have made his appearance as imported frozen sperm, since I cannot find any trace of him actually being in the US) and her mother was 'Just Empty' (the worst dog name I have EVER heard).  Through various Internet searches, over the years I have found five of Emma's littermates.  One morning, out of the blue, I found her mom listed on a greyhound adoption site in Kansas City!

This is the photo that I saw on the adoption site, with her lounging on the sofa in her foster home.

'Just Empty' was now called Jesse, she was 12 years old, and she was being sent to her new family in Nashville, Tennessee.  I quickly got in touch with the adoption group, asking them to pass my contact information to her new owner, so Jesse's new mom could get to know some of Jesse's puppies.

Here are three of Jesse's puppies, getting reacquainted in Gettysburg, Pa, in 2003.
They are (1) Dude, (2) Aggie, and (3) Emma.

In September of 2004, I received an email from Jesse's new mom!  The adoption group hadn't passed along the info like I asked them to ... she found me on her own through an online search.  (Take this lesson ... if you're on a quest, leave a trail so others can find you.)  Jesse's new mom sent photos and we corresponded back and forth so she could get to know her 'grand-puppy' and I could learn about Emma's mom.

Jesse Marie.  She loved car rides.

I found out that most of Emma's special personality traits probably came from her mother.  Emma is happiest when she's greeting a group of people, and she's very quietly pushy and bossy.  Jesse was like that, too.

This photo of Jesse was taken the first week she was in her forever home.

Jesse's mom and I became quite close, bonded by our love of these amazing dogs.  Jesse was frail, like most dogs her age, but I was stunned to get a message in May 2004, just nine short months after her adoption, that Jesse had bone cancer and that she had to be put to sleep.  This is what it said: 

"I loved Jesse beyond belief. This winter as her personality emerged, it was so much fun to be with her. She would push to the front of the pack to get her share of petting, steal food from the others, do a little happy dance when I would talk to her, bark, carry on...she was a jewel. I had a growth removed from one of my small dogs a couple of months ago, Jesse licked it and kept it clean for her.

I am sorry that I had such a short time to spend with her. In Jesse I saw all of the qualities that make a grey such a wonderful animal. She would have made a wonderful therapy dog as your Emma Grace did.

In her old age, she got special treatment, especially in the form of food.  She always got part of what I was eating if she wanted it, tons of doggie treats and marshmallows! I tend not to do that with my dogs too much as it makes them "fat", but Jesse deserved it.

I saw her lameness was getting worse, the rimadyl was keeping her comfortable until this week. I did not know it was bone cancer, but of course that is always a good possibility with our greys. I could have brought her home with stronger pain meds and kept her a few more days, but that was not being kind to Jesse. She remained very interested in food, and as long as she did not have to move about, was content. I did not want the disease to progress to where she was no longer comfortable and wanting to eat.

Jesse will be coming home, likely the first of the week. Her collar and tags will adorn her urn.

I am so fortunate to have "found" you. Yes, let's stay in touch and some day I would love to meet you and if possible my beautiful granddog, Emma Grace."

My husband and I met Jesse's mom in person a few months later.  We were traveling to Memphis, Tennessee, and we made a stop in Nashville to see her.  It was sad that I never got to meet Jesse in person, but wonderful to see (and hug) the woman who loved her so much.

My favorite photo of Jesse.  It's the one we have on the Memorial Page of the Greyhounds Rock web site.

Next Saturday, October 1, I will be walking with Daniel in the Downtown Dog Fair's Masquerade Dog Parade to raise money for canine cancer research.  He and I will walk in memory of Jesse,  and all of the other dogs that I know who have been taken from us by cancer ... and for TJ, who is fighting the fight right now.

If you want to support us, you can do so by donating online.  Click HERE to go to the donation page, then click the green 'Donate to this Team' button underneath the photo of the four of us ladies and our dogs.

Emma says, "Thank you!"

In case you are curious, here are the links to my dogs' pedigree pages on my favorite greyhound info site.  Click HERE for Emma's, and HERE for Daniel's.


  1. What a heartwarming story. And I'm miffed at the rescue who did not pass on that information... it was kindof important!...

  2. Thank you for everything you do for this noble breed! I admire you so...
    We both view animals in the same way and it is rare for me to find such a kindred!
    I am off to check out the other links! Have a wonderful day and smooches to your clan!
    xo, misha

  3. Fascinating story, being able to track her history and finding friendship, too.

  4. Such a sweet and sad story! I love the work you do for these sweet dogs. hugs to you!

  5. Tears came to my eyes as I read this, but the main thing that shines through in this post is that there are so many good people who care for these sweet dogs. Thanks for sharing with us.

  6. Tears here, too. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Enjoy your walk!

  7. Remarkable story. We do this with our horses if they are registered and love the history. Have a great walk.


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