New season, new gathering spot

Savvy and Reasey at Panera Bread
Deb and Kim confirmed what I observed Saturday night, that Reasey really has come out of her shell in the past several months. Savvy, meanwhile, is the same big hunk of fawn lover boy.
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Dusty and I joined several regulars and a couple of new faces and hounds Saturday night for the first Friends of Greyhounds gathering of the new season. Michelle got us a new spot, the Panera Bread patio at the Plantation Promenade shopping center.

Rosie and Luna at Panera Bread
I always love seeing Rosie and Luna.
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It was the culmination of an eventful few days for Dusty. Except for a couple of short bathroom breaks, she has been curled up nearly unconscious for about 14 hours now after a few days of visits from grandparents Ma and Pa Sharp, a distressing rescue of a family of ducklings Saturday morning and her meetup with old and new friends Saturday night.

A couple of wounded warriors were among the group in Plantation. It was the first time we saw Mike since he went down several months ago with an injured back. He looked good, said he's getting around pretty well, his pal Andy and a new walking cane helping to support him. 

Greek god Hermes arrived with a pronounced limp from a sprained left front. Maurice said Hermes injured himself somehow a couple of weeks ago. X-rays were negative, so it doesn't appear that it's anything serious. The sprain seemed to be healing after an acupuncture treatment a few days ago, but Hermes injured the foot again with an awkward landing jumping out of dad's vehicle.

Much of the conversation Saturday night was about the upcoming vote on Amendment 13, which would constitutionally ban wagering on greyhound racing in the state. FoG as well as other adoption groups in the state and across the country are ready to spring into action to accommodate the dogs that would become available should the measure pass.

Maurice has been especially active with the Protect Dogs Yes On 13 campaign. The measure has encountered a bit more resistance than I thought it would. Opposition arguments are numerous and range from marginally legitimate to complete nonsense.

The industry obviously is terrified of becoming extinct -- supporters want us to believe that the dogs live a good life in racing kennels and are not mistreated and abused. That is hogwash. I've seen a couple of the kennels on a routine work day. There is nothing pleasant about kennel life for a dog. It's heartbreaking to see how they live in close confinement with very little human or canine contact. They are released from their cages only for one meal and a couple of bathroom breaks daily and to run a race every couple of days. The only way they escape that life is by suffering injury or becoming too old to win races and make money. I know. I've seen it. Don't buy that industry nonsense for a second.

Dusty at home 10-21
Dusty in recovery mode Sunday
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Many people fear that tens of thousands of dogs would suddenly be abandoned and/or euthanized. Some greyhound lovers believe the breed would become endangered or extinct if racing is banned. Not so. Michelle addresses these arguments in a blog post. While you're over at friendsofgreyhounds.org, read this post that illustrates a particularly disgusting example of kennel life.

Some otherwise right-thinking folks oppose the measure because they don't believe it should be part of the state constitution, that it should be a legislative matter. OK. Whatever. Unfortunately, the racing lobby has had its tentacles deep into state legislators' pockets for many years. That's been a dead-end street for a long time.

And I won't expend any energy on the bizarre NRA argument that passing this measure would open a path to banning hunting and fishing in the state. I typed something here that I decided to delete. Let's move on.


Michelle tells me she will ramp up a schedule for some more gatherings in the coming months. We hope to go check out the new setup at the Flamingo Nursery barbecue stand to investigate a possible return there. The Panera Bread spot was a perfect space for us, but our opportunities there might be limited. Watch this blog and Michelle's for notices.

In the meantime, we should know by the next gathering what happens with the vote on Amendment 13. And we should have more answers as to exactly what we might expect if dog racing will indeed be phased out over the next couple of years.

Please turn out to cast a ballot. Yes votes must be 60% of the vote total for it to pass, so it needs all the support it can get. Please don't blow it off. Early-voting polls will be open beginning Monday, so you have a couple of weeks to vote in person. Or make sure to drop two stamps on that absentee ballot and double-check that you've filled out all the details correctly to make your vote count.

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