About Dusty and me (Part 1)

Dusty is a retired racing greyhound who found herself in a shelter with some nasty pain in an ankle shattered during a race at Flagler Dog Track in Miami one day last summer. Everything she had known for all of the 2 1/2 years of her young life was gone. The kennel, the other greyhounds in the shelter, the people tending to her, the food she was being given, the routine, the three-legged hobble, the surgeon's table, the anesthesia, the nasty pain were all really strange and confusing.

It was just a short time after all of that weird stuff started happening to Dusty when I met her. I had started doing volunteer work at the Friends of Greyhounds kennel in Sunrise, FL, last July. I started going there a couple of times a week to turn the dogs out into the fenced yard for their noontime bathroom breaks, removing their empty breakfast bowls from their kennels, refreshing their water buckets, doing whatever easy chores Michelle might need done. Whenever time and weather permitted, I would take one or two of the dogs on a short leash walk around the block for some rare but much-needed exercise and companionship.

But let's back up a little bit. I'm here to tell you about Dusty and how she came into her life of greyhound luxury at what really is an early age for a retired racer with a pretty good track record.

Dusty's right-ear tattoo
Dusty's right-ear tattoo: 14B, which tells us she was whelped in January 2014 and was the second of her litter to be tattooed. Her left ear: 63061, her NGA litter registration number.
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Dusty's registered racing name was Barts Moondust, permanently listed with the National Greyhound Association moments after she was whelped (born, in layman's English) on Jan. 9, 2014. She'll forever be identifiable -- her lineage traceable and specific litter data noted -- by the numbers tattooed that day on the inside of each ear. Her entire racing career, her entire life up until the day she was injured and necessarily retired, can be traced in detail via a couple of websites that access NGA records.

Barts Moondust landed on the roster at Derby Lane Greyhound Track in St. Petersburg, FL, and ran her first race there July 13, 2015, finishing fifth. She made money for the first time nine days later, finishing second in her third career race. She bagged her first win in her next race, on July 25, 2015.

Barts Moondust raced at Derby Lane for a few days longer than a year. There she ran 78 races, winning nine times, placing 9 times and showing 16 times -- a pretty impressive record. She was moved to Flagler at the end of July 2016. She ran her first Miami race Aug. 7, 2016, finishing fourth.

Her second race at Flagler came Aug. 13. I've seen the video of that race a few times. I think she hurt herself coming out of the gate. She finished the race -- injured greyhounds do that because that's what they're trained to do. But she fell behind the pack immediately and never caught up.

And that's pretty much everything I know about Barts Moondust. This is getting long, so I'm going to break this up into two posts. I'll be back in a day or two and pick up at this point, the end of the official record, when Barts Moondust became Dusty.

UPDATE (May 1, 2017): In regards to when exactly Barts Moondust was injured, Michelle told me today that it's more likely that she was injured a day or two before her last race during a training run and its severity only became obvious at the beginning of the race.

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