Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Miles and I went up to Midway Tennessee last weekend for his first competition since his injury in March.  This was a NOTRA race that is popular with owners of sighthounds. All sighthounds can compete and we had whippets, borzoi, basenjis and greyhounds at this competition. This is not professional racing - no betting. Dogs win titles, ribbons and dog toys and just have fun. The dogs love the chance to chase the lure and do what they were bred to do. It is a great way to keep dogs in exercised and in shape.

Miles had been sore after a collision with another dog back in March. For the first week or two he was too sore to run fast but we did acupuncture, massage and other therapies on him and gradually the soreness went away. His stride was a little off for awhile after that so I didn't let him run after a lure or with other dogs for a couple of months. Then I had to get him back in shape again before I could let him run hard.

 I wasn't nearly as careful about my first greyhound and wondered why the other owners at lure coursing events checked the dog over after every run and worried so much about them. If they even thought the dog might have soreness they would drop them out of the competition even if I could see absolutely nothing wrong with the dog's stride. A dog could change its stride one time in a course and the owner would take them out of the competition just in case there was a reason for it. I had no idea back then how they will run through an injury and make it worse because they love to run so much. The owner has to be really cautious to make sure they are fine to run because they will give it 100 percent no matter what. It is like having an airplane. You better be sure you take care of it and that nothing is wrong with it before you think about running it. At the competitions you have to trot your dog in front of the judges before they are even allowed to run so experts can make sure they look sound to avoid injuries. It is all about fun for the dogs and keeping it safe.

When we arrived Miles spotted the boxes and the track right away and tried to drag me over there before the lure even was hooked up. He was ready to go. The first race I was nervous to see how he did and watched his stride to see if he showed any sign of the old soreness. I was also hoping he wouldn't be timid passing or running with another greyhound after having one fall on him. I didn't see any sign of soreness and he ran with a lot of drive. He did end up behind the other greyhound and had to get by her which took some doing. He tried hard to get to the inside rail but she wouldn't let him through so he went around her on the outside. She caught him and passed him when he did that. At the straight at the end he pulled ahead of her for the win though.

The first two races were close and exciting. The last one was a box to wire win for Miles though. He really turned on the speed and looked really good. He always seem to do better in the later races or maybe the older dogs just start to slow down in the later races and make him look faster. He is only two and most of the dogs he runs against are older dogs that are retired racers so he should be faster and have more endurance.
Miles in #2 Willow in #1. Willow has the rail and the lead as Miles tries to pass on the outside - Photo Jennifer Ng

Miles pulls ahead for the win. It was an exciting race several lead changes and he pulled ahead at the last second in the home stretch - Photo Jennifer Ng.

Here is a video of the last of 3 races. Miles seemed to do better with each race This one he stayed in the front from box to wire. I was very happy and relieved that he seems to be OK after his injury and will still be able to do this. He loves to chase a lure so much that I would hate to have to retire him because of an injury.