Tag Archives: rescue dog

In Pet Adoptions, Photos Matter

This photogenic whippet girl was adopted from WRAP in a week

This photogenic whippet girl was adopted from Whippet Rescue in a week

I look at the Whippet Rescue and Placement website every week. Having three already in a two-room apartment, I’m not looking to add to the family, I just enjoy meeting more whippets.

Over the past year, I’ve noticed that beauty matters in how quickly the foster dogs are adopted, and so do the photographs. Which is sad, because it reminds me of that heartbreaking scene in Cider House Rules when all the orphans know that the adopting couple looking them over will choose the prettiest little girl, and they do.

This week a dog that could be a sister of C-Biscuit, Picchu and Sesame was adopted from WRAP after only a week or two. To my eye, she was beautiful – and showcasing her outside in front of lovely flowers made her even more appealing.

The first photo we saw of Picchu, in whippet foster care

The first photo we saw of Picchu, in whippet foster care

Well-taken photographs of any dog can surely help their case in attracting new owners. 

I especially understand this because the first photo we saw of our little Machu Picchu was from her WRAP foster home, and neither Bob nor I felt particularly interested in her. We almost didn’t go meet her – I find that painfully unbelievable now.  As we often wonder, Who could turn down our little Picchu?


Picchu (center), as we see her every day in our whippet packette

Our treasured Picchu (center), as we see her every day in our whippet packette

As a lay person, I can offer these tips to rescuers showcasing dogs for adoption. Photos are all from whippets currently available from Whippet Rescue:

An affectionate dog is an appealing dog (This is Caesar, available in )

An affectionate dog is an appealing dog (This whippet is Caesar, available in Colorado)


A Sears-like portrait, with a blanket for a background and a little work posing, showcases a dog

A Sears-like portrait, with a blanket for a background and a little work posing, showcases a dog (This whippet is Devon, available in Colorado)


At a minimum, make sure pictures are in focus (This is Goldie, available in

At a minimum, pictures should be in focus (This whippet is Goldie, available in South Carolina)


An outdoor, full-body shot works well (This is Peaches,

An outdoor, full-body shot works well (This whippet is Peaches, available in South Carolina)


A dog looking comfy and snuggly lets a potential adopter imagine them relaxing at their own home (This is Luke,

A dog looking comfy and snuggly lets a potential adopter imagine them relaxing at their own home (This whippet is Luke, available in Colorado)

Because what grabs one family’s attention might not grab another’s, including several photos is always better than a single shot. 

To happy, loving homes for all of the WRAP whippets and other rescue dogs and cats!

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“Is your dog a rescue?” Breeder vs. Shelter


Sesame, Picchu and C-Biscuit: Whippets by C.Square

Sesame, Picchu and C-Biscuit: Whippets by C.Square

The most common question we get about our whippets is, “Are they rescues?” 

We assume this is because people think whippets are greyhounds, and greyhounds usually are ex-racing dogs from a track – so much so that the group Greyhound Pets of America has the subtitle, “the greyhound retirement specialists.”

Greyhounds at Dewey Beach

Greyhounds at Dewey Beach

It’s delicate enough explaining that whippets are not track discards in need of a retirement home – I can only imagine how tricky this question is if you own a greyhound that is not “a rescue.” Implied is that the only acceptable way to get a pet is through a shelter or rescue operation.

We could make a case that our dogs are all “rescues,” in the sense that we did not buy them as puppies. C-Biscuit, raised as a show dog, went to one home for a few months and then was returned to the breeder. She was re-homed to us, and we like to think this was her destiny all along. Sesame is a retired show dog. He was treated very well by his breeders and now gets the royal treatment from us.

Picchu and Sesame: Enduring the hard life

Picchu and Sesame: Enduring the hard life

Machu Picchu went through several homes and was surrendered to Whippet Rescue before going back to the breeder and then to us. She would have found a home if we had not taken her in, but it would have been the home of people like ourselves, who want to share their lives with whippets. 

To insist that the only good dog is a rescued dog is to relegate our future with the canine species to random relationships in which humans are forced to settle for whatever renegade breeders produce and fail to care for.

– Judith Lewis, Los Angeles Times opinion essay

Some things to consider when thinking about rescued dogs vs. purebreds:

  • A dog from a reputable breeder doesn’t usually end up homeless. Potential owners have gone looking for a specific breed, presumably after thought and research, and they are personally screened. Responsible people should be able to get the pets they want, and love and care for them without public scorn – or inquiry, for that matter.
  • Would one ask a parent with a baby carriage, “Is your baby adopted?” Parents are not thought selfish for wanting a specific child (their own) rather than giving a home to a homeless child.
  • Our whippet pack enjoying Central Park

    Our whippet pack enjoying Central Park

    As I wrote about previously in the article, “Obamas & Bo – Why get a purebred pet,” I wouldn’t have gotten a dog from a shelter because I only wanted a whippet. Sharing your life with an animal is good for you and arguably good for society, no matter where it comes from.

I recommend reading a very thoughtful and informative opinion essay in the Los Angeles Times, “The Obama family dog saga,” by Judith Lewis, a woman who owns shelter dogs and also makes a case for purebreds.

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Facing Fear of the Unknown

It’s amazing how much fear of the unknown can hold us back. For years, I didn’t run a marathon because I had heard that long-distance runners sometimes lose control of their bladders – or worse – during a marathon. That image kept me far away from the starting line of any race. When finally I got an incredible training book and went for it, incontinence was never a problem.

And to think I had been afraid to get a dog!

To think I had been afraid to get a dog!

In the same way, for years I was afraid to get a dog, let alone a second one. My #1 issue was: “I am not going to stoop down and scrape dog crap off the sidewalk every day.” 

I didn’t know it was more like three times a day. In any event, like new parents not minding changing diapers, I was amazed how much of a non-issue this turned out to be. And to think that before, it had practically stopped me from getting a dog! Silly.

Then my fear became getting a second dog. Things were so good with just C-Biscuit, I worried about upsetting our happy, well-functioning household. Mostly I worried that they would fight.

So I read everything I could about choosing a second dog. The main advice was not to get a second dog of the same sex, especially not two females, who were likely to fight. One article said to get a smaller dog. The vet said to get a younger dog. Much advice centered on dominance, a pecking order between the dogs that would need to be established (by them) and reinforced (by you). I didn’t really like that idea, so I worried about that, too.

Then, as happens in life, the angels showed up: People appeared and gave advice and reassurances I needed. A friend said that 99% of 2nd whippets work out and she was nearly sure getting a second would be okay. A woman I knew only online gave me a guarantee: If this little girl didn’t work out, the woman, who already has five whippets, would take her. (The breeder also would have taken her back.) A couple I met in the park just before going to meet Picchu (a second female) said they had two females who got along great, even though “everyone had told them that two females would kill each other.” Huh.




C-Biscuit and Machu Picchu: Playmates of the Year


Even though Picchu is the same age as Biski and the same sex, we brought her home and hoped for the best. Biski gets jealous when we cuddle Picchu, and for two days wrestled every toy out of Picchu’s mouth. But they’re doing no more than play-fighting, and we’re happy treating them the same. 

Maybe it’s that whippets are a pretty laid-back breed, or maybe we got especially lucky with our two. What I’m most sure of is that the best way to learn is by facing fear of the unknown and doing.

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Housetraining an Adult Dog

The only issue we’ve had with Machu Picchu is she was not entirely housetrained. Her favorite place to go to the bathroom is the middle of the living room rug.

Picchu: "Biski, you're lying on my bathroom spot."

Picchu: "Biski, I've been waiting in line to use that bathroom spot..."

This is understandable, because this is at least her 6th home since January (counting her original owner, family #2, family #3, Whippet Rescue foster home, the breeder, and us). Both her environment and routine keep changing. Plus she isn’t used to big city noises, smells, traffic, and a constant stream of company on the sidewalk (“in the bathroom”).

Our mistake was not being as vigilant as we had been when we brought home C-Biscuit. Biski, too, refused to go to the bathroom on the street at first. We kept her in her crate and kept taking her out every hour or so until almost 24 hours later she finally went. She had a couple accidents in the house after that, but they were our fault for not knowing things like she has to go after taking a bath, even if she went right before the bath. In other words, she had to go and we didn’t know it and didn’t get her out in time.

With Picchu, it’s different. She just prefers the privacy of the rug, period. We walked her for an hour, figured she didn’t have to go, got home and – sssss, on the rug.

Once they go in the house once, the habit is 10x harder to break. (Although cleaning up with Nature’s Miracle really seems to help.) And she’s crafty about it: Even once we started closely monitoring her, the second we turned away, she went on the rug. I felt like my grandma when she explained driving her car off the road: “I just closed my eyes for a second!”  

Breaking this habit is all about eliminating any opportunity to go inside. Housetraining tips say to “limit your dog to one or two rooms of the house.” Well that’s where living in Manhattan comes in handy: I’ve been limited to two rooms for the past 10 years (when I moved up from one room). Continue reading

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Welcome home, Machu Picchu!

We renamed our new little girl Machu Picchu.  She’s settling right in!

Introducing Machu Picchu!

Introducing Machu Picchu!

C-Biscuit loves having a playmate and insists on playing all the time! Machu Picchu seems to need a lot of sleep, though.

#2 is already right at home!

Our second whippet is already right at home!

One of the first things we did was to introduce her to Central Park. We had a nippy day, so they could model their Montana Dogware coats. 

Chestnut & C-Biscuit in Central Park

Bob walking Machu Picchu & C-Biscuit in Central Park

On Tuesday we took her to the vet, and she seems to be perfectly healthy! Except her teeth & gums aren’t in great shape – will need to get her used to teeth brushing.

We also had our first playdate, with Biski’s friend Gracie.

Looking forward to many more multi-whippet adventures together!

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Choosing a Second Dog

In 12 days, we’re bringing home our 2nd whippet, Lexie Picchu!

Picchu”]Meeting LexieBut is she Sesame? We’re just not sure. For now, we’re thinking of her as our “bonus dog.” And keeping her current name.

The breeder where we got C-Biscuit last May has known all year we wanted a second. A couple weeks ago, I got an e-mail entitled “Sesame” with photos of this gorgeous little girl. He thought she’d be perfect to add to our family as our Sesame.

Although she’s a year-and-a-half old, she looks like a puppy. And is just as soft!

Picchu: A tiny and gorgeous whippet!”]Lexie: A tiny but gorgeous whippet!She’s a micro-whippet at only 18 23 pounds (C-Biscuit is 28-30). She came to the breeder via whippet rescue after having been in several homes. I’m guessing she was too cute for families to pass up, but they were probably not up for the hands-on attention (exercise!) that a dog needs.

Bob said he wanted a full-sized whippet, maybe a male, who could be a true partner to C-Biscuit and keep up on hikes. But as soon as he saw Lexie Picchu, she was Daddy’s Little Girl! I loved her, too. We couldn’t imagine letting her go to a home other than ours.

The only complication is: We also met a 2-year-old boy whippet. If it hadn’t been for Lexie Picchu, I’d have been 100% sure that he was our Sesame! I felt the same bond, even seeing his photos, as I had first seeing C-Biscuit a year ago. Plus, he and Biski really hit it off, looking like a real pair, just as Bob and I had always envisioned!

C-Biscuit and the Boy

C-Biscuit and the Boy

They certainly seem to be a pair!

They certainly seem to be a pair!

This is so American, but I really want them both! The boy certainly seems like our Sesame, but the girl is irresistible  – she needs a home and we want it to be ours. Plus, as providence would have it, I had only saved 75% of our target in the Sesame Fund, but since she is a rescue dog she won’t cost anything up front. That brings our budget right in line – isn’t that a sign right there?

As for the boy, he isn’t available just yet, so we have more time to decide. The breeder did say, “Two is a joy, three’s a job.” Gosh. Not to mention an expense. But with motivation and belt-tightening, I’m sure we could make it work.

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