Ron and Riley: A Somerville Resident and His Greyhound
Ron Mesard adopted a former racing greyhound and said the animal is a great apartment dog.
In late July we mentioned briefly the story of Somerville residents John and Jo Ann Murray and Ron Mesard, who volunteer at at Greyhound Friends in Hopkington, an organization that rescues former racing greyhounds. The Somervillians have also adopted greyhounds, and we talked to Mesard about his experience with Riley, a 6-and-a-half-year-old greyhound who used to race in Raynham.
Mesard, a software engineer at a Boston advertising firm, adopted Riley in March of 2010, only a few months after greyhound racing ended in Massachusetts (at the beginning of 2010).
Mesard said he had wanted a dog, and "greyhounds were on the short list of breeds on my list."
Though one might think the dogs are full of energy due to their racing qualities, they're actually "laid back" and "docile," Mesard said. They're also good with people.
As racing dogs, "They don't live under ideal conditions," he said.
Greyhound racing has received negative attention, "and rightfully so," Mesard said, noting "the horrors that have been uncovered at some racetracks."
(The ASPCA, an animal rights organization, condemns the treatment of racing dogs at commercial tracks, saying they live in isolated kennels and are sometimes put down when their careers are over.)
Mesard said he doesn't have problems with tracks that are "well run and care for their dogs properly" and that most greyhounds you see on the street are former racing dogs.
Greyhound Friends houses over 24 dogs up for adoption at any one point, and their space is always full, he said. Once a month Mesard helps photograph the available dogs up for adoption.
As for Riley, he's laid back and loves to sleep, Mesard said, noting what greyhound people say about their dogs: They're "40-mile-per-hour couch potatoes."
Mesard is also part of a group called Greyhound Adventures, which arranges outings for greyhound and their owners in the Boston area, he said.
"Everyone should have one," Mesard said about greyhounds, adding that he might get another one himself.