When we get curious about the lives our adopted greyhounds lived preretirement, we can go to Southland Park Gaming and Racing to see what they experienced on the track. But like the iceberg, with the greatest percentage of its mass being underwater, the race is only the smallest sliver of your greyhound’s preretirement experience. A lot goes into the 30 seconds the dogs race around the track once a week.
One sample of the photography that can be seen on Ray Wong's "RayHoundTales" website, showing Mac's Hoppy (No. 2 with the blue slik) leading the pack of racers to the finish line at the Birmingham Race Course. She and her brother, Happy, were two Grade A runners. Hoppy is to become a mom, and her brother is now retired to a couch in Clarksville, Tenn.
Now you have an opportunity to learn much more about the life your dog led as a racing greyhound. Ray Wong, a Nashville-area retired professor and former photojournalist, has focused his talents on an inside look at the lives of greyhounds, from birth through adoption.
Through Ray’s recently unveiled website, Ray Hound Tales, you can virtually travel the path your greyhound took, from farm to track to home.
Ray is intimate with both sides of a greyhound’s existence. He and his wife, Mardy Fones, adopted their first hound, Bart’s Viper (Mel), a Southland alumnus, in 2002. They also are very active volunteers with GPA/Nashville, an all-volunteer organization that finds homes in middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky for retired racing greyhounds. They provide support at events as well as being active in communications for the program.
Since 2007, he’s been shooting photos at tracks, farms and greyhound events to document the lives of dogs from birth to retirement, as well as profiling breeders, kennel staff and other industry professionals who care for the dogs. He hopes to use his photos in a book documenting a culture that’s disappearing as U.S. tracks close.
To accomplish this, he needed access to the inner world of greyhound racing. On the advice of a kennel owner, Ray purchased an interest in two hounds, Mac’s Happy and Mac’s Hoppy, who were racing at Birmingham. Happy recently retired and found his forever home with a Nashville, Tenn., adopter; Hoppy is to become a mom.
Ray currently owns 11 racers, among them Cry Calaveras, who is tearing up the track at Southland. When Cry wins, so does Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option since Ray donates 10% of the dog’s winnings to the adoption program. Ray and Mardy also have four retired hounds, Okie Darkness (Shadow), another Southland alumnus, as well as Reta Raccoon, Deforest Kelley and senior hound, Athena.
We urge you to spend some time on Ray’s website to satisfy your curiosity about the world your dog once inhabited. It will be time well spent.