LETTER RECEIVED AT MGPS
Another Lesson On
I was glad to see your warning article about retractable leashes in the last Greyhound Express (Fall '06) – and I am extremely happy that Necco's terrifying experience ended well. However, you did not mention one additional and extreme danger in using retractable leashes on sighthounds. I learned the hard way.
I had used them for a good five years on my two Greyhounds and a Shepard. When walking multiple dogs, it seemed that retractables were less likely to tangle. Then, one November day, for a reason known only to herself, my beloved Grey, "Laurie", decided to take off. I braced myself and held. After a ten-minute struggle, I finally managed to get Laurie back to my car. When I arrived home five minutes later, Laurie was totally paralyzed. The paralysis, we later learned, was caused by her coming to such an abrupt halt as she reached the end of the 26-foot retractable leash.
We rushed her to the Vet who examined and x-rayed her. He supplied us with heavy-duty steroids and warned us that the chances of her pulling through were very remote. For the next 3 months she slept beside my bed. I held her head up to give her water every ½ hour and never left her side. Luckily, I had just retired! Finally the day came that she was able to stagger around the house, and then the yard. Eventually she recovered almost completely. She was never able to run again and couldn't hop up on my bed, but she did have seven more quality years as the light of my life.
In a back issue of the magazine, 'Celebrating Greyhounds', I saw a copy of a Greyhound adoption contract. It included a statement that the new owner would never use a retractable leash on a Greyhound. If you have not already done so, you may want to consider adding that to your current contract.
Earlier this month as I was driving through Kittery I saw a magnificent brindle Greyhound being walked on a retractable leash. I couldn't stop due to heavy traffic but I have been looking ever since for a chance to sternly warn the owner. No luck thus far.
You have my admiration for your wonderful work. Best wishes to you always!