The story of the author’s adoption of a greyhound as a companion for her son and how she became involved with a fascinating group of animal rescuers.
It began in New Jersey when the author sold a vintage stove to a woman named Elizabeth, who had recently returned from a visit to Ireland. She suggested that the author’s son might like an Irish greyhound dog that she had recently rescued. He did, and she became a cherished member of the household, and a friendship between Schenone (The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family, 2007, etc.) and Elizabeth was born. Through Elizabeth, the author met Marion Fitzgibbon, the leader of a remarkable animal rescue group in Ireland, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The members of the ISPCA first came together because of a shared concern to find homes for stray street dogs. Over time, their goal became more ambitious: to create an animal sanctuary. An anonymous donation of 20,000 pounds enabled Fitzgibbon to purchase land for the establishment of a Limerick Animal Welfare Circle. For a time, greyhound racing had been a popular sport in Australia, England, Ireland, and the U.S. Throughout the narrative, Schenone smoothly interweaves her personal story with a history of the breed. As she notes, “images of greyhound-like dogs—with their deep-chested, slim-waisted, long-legged forms—appear in Western art going back thousands of years. They race and hunt and pose on Egyptian pottery and tombs, and in ancient Greek and Roman sculptures.” Cruel treatment of the dogs when they could no longer race or hunt provided the original basis for concern by animal activists who sought adoptive homes for them. Fitzgibbon was also an advocate for itinerant Travelers. As a result of bigotry toward them, she received threats that her dogs would be killed, but fortunately, they were never acted upon.
An engrossing account of greyhounds, their owners, and their champions.