Dog retires and starts a new life

Nicky the greyhound

Nicky enjoys his retirement in Woodinville.
Photo by Karen Diefendorf/Woodinville Weekly.

retired greyhound by Karen Diefendorf
Nicky, a.k.a. Joe, is finally living the good life here in Woodinville. For two years Nicky, as he is now known, was a racing greyhound at the Idaho Race Course.
   From the time he was just a puppy, Joe, as he was then called, lived in a kennel with 50 to 100 other greyhounds. He spent most of his life in a cage, which is evidenced by the missing fur on his behind and the peculiar configuration on his tail.
   Once a week he was taken to the track to race. He wore a muzzle constantly, even while eating, not out of concern that he was vicious, but to protect him from injury and to serve as a marker in the event of photo-finish race.
   Nicky was, however, one of the lucky ones; he was not abused or beaten. But, like other racing greyhounds, Nicky's life span depended on the number of races he won.
   In this case, his racing career was cut short by the closure of the track in Idaho, and he and a number of other racing hounds were shipped to this area in hopes they would find new homes.
   When Tonya St. Berg of Woodinville became interested in the plight of these gentle giants, she and her husband Roger Berg decided to foster one of them until adoptive owners could be found. They chose Joe and in two weeks fell in love with him. They changed his name to Nicky and adopted him.
   The Bergs describe Nicky as sociable, polite, mellow, and already a part of their family. Roger was delighted to find that Nicky was a happy and well-mannered partner on his most recent Volksmarch.
   Perhaps not surprisingly, considering Nicky's past, he has needed some training in his new home. For instance, he had to be taught how to go up and down stairs. The steps were something he had never encountered before, but he quickly mastered the new obstacle.
   Nicky also had never experienced windows, and he was apt to crash into glass doors; warning stickers now serve as reminders. And he does enjoy the view from the car's windows.
   Although the Bergs have adopted Nicky, they will continue to serve as a foster family for another greyhound looking for a home.
   If you are interested in meeting already adopted greyhounds and their owners or dogs that are currently adoptable, members of Greyhound Pets, Inc. and dogs will be at the Lake Forest Park Petco store Jan. 20, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Information on the organization and the dogs will be available at that time; or call Cindy Lippincott, Foster Care Coordinator and Adoption Representative at 402-8224, or Tonya St. Berg evenings at 488-1772.