(click on thumbnails for larger pictures)
This is GeGe's story and the profound effect she had on our lives.
In 1987 my yet to be wife was reading an article is Sports Illustrated magazine about adopting greyhounds. At this time there wasn’t a lot of adoption and public awareness taking place. Tammy was living in Memphis, TN at the time and there was a track just across the Mississippi River in West Memphis, AR “Southland” but they were not adopting out greyhounds in 1987. Not to be dissuaded she contacted an organization in Connecticut and they put her in touch with a group in Theodore, AL.
She eagerly filled out the application and sent it back to them. Shortly she heard back and they wanted to know if she would like to come see this little girl that they have. Well she told them that she would be coming down to get her that she didn’t need to see her first. So she packed up the car and headed to Theodore with her parents to get her greyhound.
When she got there the wonderful people running the adoption program also bred, raised and raced greyhounds. They happily showed them around the farm and how the greys were trained. They could name every dog by sight. They also showed them the new pups that were using the inside of their house as the race track. The Welch’s really cared and loved their dogs and it showed. Then the time came to meet GeGe aka Kango’s Gambler a beautiful two year old red brindle female. GeGe had developed a potassium deficiency and would have seizures after she raced. Once they cured her it was going to be to costly to re-train her to compete so they opted to adopt her out.
Well it was love at first sight and GeGe was on her way to Memphis. GeGe resided in Memphis for three years until Tammy and I got married. Tammy and GeGe packed up their bags in 1990 and moved to Slidell, LA. Tammy always claimed I married her for her greyhound.
In 1995 we were at a Books-a-Million and ran into a greyhound adoption group having an M&G. GeGe hadn’t seen another greyhound in eight years so at their next event at the book store we brought her in. It was amazing how her whole posture changed when she saw the other greyhounds. You could tell right away that she recognized them as being like her.
From that point forward to 1999 we volunteered our time promoting greyhound adoption. GeGe was a little trooper she would go to the M&G’s every month doing her part to help her fellow grey’s. We also started going to the Mobile track picking up grey’s that needed adopting. We met a number of very nice people and some not so nice on our trips to the track but overall it was a very positive experience. On one occasion we met one of the Welch’s daughters that was still racing grey’s and her kennel helper still remembered GeGe. On another trip I fell in love with our second grey. Her name is DeDe (purely by accident) aka Delightful Dee. She was a three year old light brindle female that had grin you would die for.
In the summer of 1998 GeGe was 13 years old and she finally caught a rabbit. Apparently the rabbit foolishly came into the yard unaware of the danger stalking it. All of her ancient heritage and training came back in a rush. Even at her age GeGe could still move and she was more than a match for her prey. After it was over she looked disappointed that the rabbit didn’t get up and run some more. When I went out to see what she was looking at I noticed the rabbit and inspected it. It didn’t have a mark on it she either broke it’s neck or it had a heart attack. There was no way I could be disappointed in her this was her breeding.
In 1999 we had to quit volunteering due to a moral dilemma we had about the direction things were going. GeGe and DeDe were still looking for ways to help their fellow hounds. We would attend humane events and go wherever dogs were allowed to promote adoption. In the latter half of 1999 a small group of people came together to form an adoption group. The girls were finally apart of an organization again and we were dedicated to finding homes for these greyt hounds. In fact our third grey Nell found her way into our home at this time.
The early days of the group wasn’t with out its ups and downs. We were experiencing growing pains as I’m sure most groups have when they were formed. The group is still evolving today but there is a wonderful set of core people that find ways to make everything work.
In December of 2000 GeGe passed from this existence to another she was 15 and a half years old and she had lived a wonderful life. It’s still hard for me to write about it today but she set in motion a course of events that forever changed our lives from the day she arrived. Sometimes it’s hard to keep everything focused and moving in a positive direction both in our own lives and in adoption. When I close my eyes and I can still see her sweet little face that had turned completely gray with age. At that moment I know why my wife and I continue to work so hard for these greyt hounds.
I'm sure GeGe will be waiting for us and all of the grey's she helped get homes when it's our time leave this world. She was an inspiration to us and those that met her. GeGe will always be remembered fondly and sorely missed in our hearts.
Chris & Tammy