After fostering many different breeds of dogs, I was finally in the happy position to adopt one permanently. My choice was a greyhound because of the breed’s gentle nature and beauty.

I pursued the adoption through Greyhound Friends For Life, and through every step of the process, I was warned that sight hounds could not be let off-leash since they were unpredictable and prone to taking-off when loose. I said I understood and agreed to be extremely careful. I knew I had a fenced-in yard from which the dog could not escape, and that there was also an enclosed track/ball field behind the local high school where the dog would be able to run without getting away- so I adopted a beautiful boy named Lad.

Lad was special from the moment I met him, and within just a few weeks, had become a well-loved member of my family (which consisted of 4 cats, 1 potbellied pig, 1 small dog, and 1 husband). Although initially shy and reluctant to participate in the family, through basic obedience classes and patience, Lad became a well-adjusted, enthusiastic family member. From the day I had him, he was well-behaved and never tried to run away.

One evening during our walk in my neighborhood, my shih-tzu, Lindsay, managed to get her leash tangled with Lad’s and wound around his legs. Without even thinking, I dropped the leashes to untangle the dogs, and in that brief moment, Lad took off at full speed, sending Lindsay tumbling in his wake. He ran away down a hill and out of my sight, ignoring my calls to him. I don’t know if he saw something off in the distance, or exactly what prompted him to take off at just that moment, but he never even looked back.

I heard, but did not see, the car that hit him, breaking his neck and my heart. That brief second’s thoughtlessness cost Lad his life, and will cause me sorrow for the rest of mine. I finally learned the lesson that everyone had been trying to teach me from the beginning: Don’t let your sight hound off the leash.

For those of you who have let a greyhound into your heart, please do not let him run free. You can never take back the few seconds it takes for an accident to happen, and when it does, it will haunt you forever.