by Kay McElhinney
Born on June 3, 1996 to a Kansas greyhound breeder, Ole Chipshot was a descendant of one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. He had three sisters and three brothers but he was the only one to race. Using his tail as a rudder he ran free for the first year and a half of his life. He was a handsome boy, fawn colored, had large kind brown eyes, and long legs. His trainer motivated him to run by playing the Bruce Springsteen song Born to Run on a boombox. What ran through Chip’s mind as a truck pulled up towing a funny looking trailer? He was loaded into a tiny, cramped compartment where he could barely turn around. He couldn’t see out and for the first time in his life, he was frightened and miserable. He could hear dogs whining and they too sounded frightened. Where was he going and what would become of his life?
Chip and his trailer mates were taken to a big building where he was put in a larger crate and allowed to rest. The next morning, he was taken to a track by a young boy. He ran and was timed all day long, always exhausted at night.
One day he was taken to a different track for his first race. The atmosphere was electric with excitement from the people and pure fear for Chip. Put in the starting box, it opened and he ran out on the brightly lit track. For a short time he was free again. He chased the buzzing machine that was supposed to be a rabbit but something told him not to catch it. He instinctively knew his metal muzzle would cause pain if the muzzle touched the rabbit. Often after a race, he was taken to a special place, his picture was taken, other times he was returned to the loneliness of his crate.
He wanted companionship of other dogs and people. He had friends but they would disappear in one of the trailers or he would be taken to a different track to race. This was Chip’s life for three long years.
Finally, in his last race, the announcer said he “pulled up short”. He had a long, somewhat successful racing career, but he was tired. For the last time, he was loaded into the trailer, taken a different kennel, where a woman smiled at him and stayed with him as he was examined by a vet, who was kind and gentle. Maybe something good would happen to him.
He went home with the lady where he could rest and play. One day she took him to another house so the people could meet him. He walked in, saw a white leather couch, jumped on the couch and went to sleep. His new owner smiled and scratched his neck. He was home.
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