ADOPTER PROFILE - Matt & Denise Schumitz
Educating and advocating for the SPORT of Greyhound Racing!
The Schumitz’ s entry to Greyhound adoption and Racing
My wife Denise and I started out in 2011 once we bought our first house.
We were already intrigued with the breed as our brother-in-law had adopted a retired racer who ran at Raynham and Wonderland before being retired. Melinda, Ulla Goodnight was a very stoic girl who only would seek attention from my brother-in-law. This made me believe she fit the stereotype that they were scared and all the other stuff people who didn’t know the breed would say.
Denise and I not knowing any better went to the first group that said they had cat safe dogs where we met Gary and Jenny. Gary came cruising out and put me on my backside and to be honest intimidated me from the start due to his large stature. We then met Jenny it was love at first site. She was a sweet little cow dog. Jenny seemed to settle in rather quickly, was acclimating to home life perfectly and we did everything by the book for her. Until out of no where Jenny became very afraid of us and was acting like we were going to hurt her. Our sweet little cow dog had become extremely aggressive towards both of us. We immediately called the adoption group for advice and they offered no help but said bring her back, reluctantly we did. At that time, I didn’t know it, but it was the best thing I had ever done. With a heavy heart I went and picked Gary up and left Jenny there which was incredibly heart breaking. Gary and I made the journey to his new home where he INSTANTLY was on the cat like a lightning bolt when we walked thru the front door. All it took was one loud yell and he never so much as looked at the cat again. Gary came into the house and was perfect after the cat incident and he is really the main reason that we became obsessed with the retired racing greyhound.
After a few months of having Gary I wanted to get him a friend to run with in our yard, enter Diago into the picture. Diago was the opposite of Gary on all aspects. Diago was barely 2 years old, was retired due to a hock injury and he was full of anxiety about everything! He didn’t sleep at night, he had sleep startle and horrible space aggression. Regardless of all that we said we would NEVER return another dog and put in as many hours of work with him to get him comfortable to living in our home. Diago is now going on 10 years old and has developed epilepsy over the years but he is the biggest spoiled brat ever.
We wanted to be more involved with greyhounds and helping them find homes as we thought they were some poor neglected dog, after all the first real greyhound thing that I remember was the vote in Massachusetts and how everything you ever heard was bad. Luckily for us we got involved with an OG of the adoption world and one that was pro racing, although the group was neutral. Kathy told us factual points that she had come to known from all her years of adoption and being closely linked to trainers and the dogs that they cared for. This is where our journey to really knowing Greyhounds began as we had our eyes open immensely to the truth of this amazing breed.
I started reading books about greyhound racing and becoming more friendly with “pro racers”. After a year or so of being more open minded and respecting the sport more we came to an agreement to pre-adopt a dog straight from a kennel that I fell in love with. My wife and I were vacationing in Florida and contacted her trainer to go down to Palm Beach kennel club and meet her for the 1st time.
From the first race I saw in person I knew I was hooked and every ill-conceived notion I may have ever thought was gone. I mean I’m realistic I know everything in life always has room for improvement and this is no exception. We spent time with our pre-adopt Kayla and her trainer Henry (who to this day many years later still keeps pictures of Kayla on his cell phone) and realized how much he truly cared about these dogs, they were his whole world. After about a year of her racing she was finally retiring which I was excited about but also sad cause I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy watching her weekly. It was January sometime and Henry kept Kayla in his kennel for a few months so the weather could warm up before sending her home to us. Henry never asked for a thing while he cared for our girl. I should also mention he got her spayed and a dental on out of his own pocket which was unexpected.
A few months later I got the itch to buy a pup after seeing a deal that I thought was to good to pass up, well Monster is a great pet and I wouldn’t trade her for anything, but she was no racer. She ran 15 or so races and I called it for her. During her time as a racer, Monster was in great care by some wonderful people that we have gotten to know over the past few years.
After a few bought pups that couldn’t perform my wife surprised me with a pup for our anniversary that I was crazy about the breeding. She worked with the farm to secretly purchase our boy who we named Swamp Yankee or Asa. Asa has been a very successful racer being entered in a few stakes tournaments and even finished second in one of them. We get down to Derby Lane a few times a year to visit him and spoil him and his kennel mates with gifts, and the kennel staff has become like a second family to my wife and me.
We purchased another pup right before the vote and I truly hope for his sake that he will get to do what he was born to do and run a long safe career on Florida Tracks.
In closing I will say since August of 2011 we have had a total of 9 retired racers live in our house and cannot fathom a day where we won’t be able to have one gracing us with their presence.
On top of owning dogs, we also both sit on the board of Greyhound Pets of America, Massachusetts and are each on boards for Greyhound Pets of America National
Right the Wrong
Order of Adoption
Atascocita Gary (RIP)
Kiowa Cat Cain
Kiowa Cat Curt (RIP)
Taylor May Duffy