A Dog’s Best Friend
People often ask me how I became an attorney for greyhounds. It’s simple: My love of dogs led me to law school. I have been a problem solver all my life, so when I learned that thousands of greyhounds were suffering and dying at two racetracks in my state, I had to do something about it.
Racing greyhounds are kept in warehouse-style kennels inside small, stacked cages for an average of 23 hours a day. Then, when they are let out to race, they suffer terrible injuries, and many die. They break their necks, their backs, and their legs, suffer heart attacks, and become paralyzed—just so that gamblers can place a $2 bet on them. I knew this was no way to treat a dog and that the law should be changed.
“How could such a clear exploitation of man’s best friend be legal,” I wondered. I began taking classes at the New England School of Law in 2001, the same year I co-founded the non-profit greyhound protection group, GREY2K USA Worldwide, with my partner, Carey Theil. The greyhounds needed a lawyer!
But my life course could have been much different. In 1992, I was struck by a speeding Boston trolley while walking my dog, Kelsey. She was a one-year-old Black Russian Terrier I adopted on her last day at a kill shelter. Just as I had saved her life, one year later, she saved mine by pulling me away from the direct path of the train, sparing us both from certain death under its wheels. We suffered terrible injuries and spent years in recovery. I promised that if I could ever walk, talk, and care for myself again, I would spend my life helping dogs.
A SURPRISING BENEFACTOR
On the eve of law school graduation, I learned that George Carney, a prominent local track owner, had unknowingly funded my four-year scholarship. When I thanked him, he insisted on coming up on stage to hand me my diploma personally. Perhaps he thought I would be out of his hair, toiling away at a big law firm for the near future? Instead, I spent the summer writing the ballot question that would eventually give Massachusetts greyhounds the second chance they deserved.
This opened the door for change nationwide, and over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to help close nearly 50 tracks across the country. Today, there are only two in operation, both in West Virginia.
In 2011, my organization took on an international focus and was able to work with government officials to rescind the license of the only legal dog track in China. We airlifted more than 500 dogs to safety, including my sweet hound Brooklyn. There was no adoption program at the track, and before our #CloseTheCanidrome initiative, 400 dogs raced and died there each year. This should have been Brooklyn’s fate, too. We found him underweight, his coat dull and dirty. Thirteen teeth, worn down to the roots after years of chewing on the bars of his cage, had to be removed. A short time later, when he lost one of his legs to cancer, he still pushed on. Brooklyn’s story of survival and how he joyfully greeted each day taught us lessons about forgiveness and strength that we will never forget.
HELPING GREYHOUNDS WORLDWIDE
Brooklyn Goes Home: The Rise and Fall of American Greyhound Racing and the Dog that Inspired a Movement tells the story of our twenty-five-year campaign to end dog racing, which has helped to save 50,000 greyhounds to date and culminated in the recent filing of the Greyhound Protection Act in Congress. Carey Theil and I describe our state-by-state push to outlaw dog racing and introduce readers to the diverse group of people who came together to help greyhounds along the way. These folks, Democrat and Republican, old and young, were united in the singular belief that dogs are family friends and not racing machines.
I hope readers find inspiration in our story and discover new paths to change the world positively. And no law degree is required!
For more information on GREY2K USA Worldwide, visit GREY2K.org
Brooklyn Goes Home is about human love and compassion on the one hand and callousness and cruelty on the other. It’s also an incredible account of how two brave and committed people fought against a shameless yet powerful industry. Christine and Carey had little more than a belief in themselves and a shared love for their greyhound Brooklyn, but their determination has paid off for thousands of other dogs in the United States and worldwide. My greyhound and I recommend you read this stunning memoir! --Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace.
For more information on Brooklyn Goes Home,