Friday, May 1, 2015

Guest Post: The Fascinating World of Greyhounds by Suzanne Burke

I recently had the privilege of reading and reviewing the book, Logan and the Mystical Collar: Adventures in Ancient Egypt by Suzanne Burke.  Her books have a greyhound for their main characters.  Today I am honored to have her as a guest on my blog speaking about greyhounds and her love for them.  Thank you Suzanne for being a guest on my blog and I look forward to reading more about Logan and sharing his stories with my students.

The greyhound became an inspiration to me one day in more ways than I could ever have imagined as I worked in my front yard. As I was tending my garden on Thanksgiving Day 2000, a greyhound suddenly raced by. At the time, I had no idea what rushed past until a young girl stopped in a car, obviously distressed that the dog she was dog sitting had escaped from its backyard. She told me it was a greyhound and his name was Zeus – what a mighty name I thought. I ran to the back alley looking for Zeus and at the far end I saw an incredibly elegant dog staring me down. I yelled his name and he raced to me at top speed grinning ear to ear. I was immediately smitten. I've never forgot that day and my first greyhound encounter!
Several years later I decided to adopt a “pound puppy” and I remembered Zeus. I did some research on the Internet and found a local adoption group, Greyhound Adoption League of Texas and met my first greyhound, Allie who I eventually adopted. After experiencing what a wonderfully docile breed this was I jumped into volunteering and fostering. Throughout the last 14 years I fostered and rescued greyhounds in dire circumstances, including one greyhound named Logan, and I learned what an incredible rich history they possess.
Did you know the greyhound breed goes back over 6,000 years? I bet you also didn’t know that they are the fastest land animal, second only to the cheetah, clocking in at speeds over 45 miles per hour during a sprint. For all of these centuries, their value was mostly for hunting. They were typically used in packs to hunt rabbits, wild boar, deer, and coyotes here in the U.S.

Their origins date back to beyond Ancient Egypt, but most of the drawings and documentation of this phenomenal breed dates back to this fascinating time period. Dogs in Ancient Egypt were highly regarded, well treated, and protected from being killed. Any person found killing a dog would face the same fate. Because dogs were held in such high esteem in Egypt, there were only three types of work activities for dogs: assisting humans with hunting, assisting in war, and acting as temple guard dogs.
Greyhound dogs were held in especially high regard because of their swift speed, incredible beauty, and sacred association with the gods. Only royalty could own this breed. So important were they to royal families, that a greyhound’s birth was considered second in importance to the birth of a male child. When a family greyhound died, they were mourned in the same tradition as that of a human.
Greyhounds were eventually given as gifts to dignitaries from other lands, because they were valued so highly. Greyhounds would become valued as gifts in Greek and Roman societies later on. The most important legacy that the Egyptians gave to the greyhound was the prominence and royal stature of the breed to many future cultures.
Unfortunately, man found a way to exploit the greyhound for its swiftness. In the early 1920’s greyhounds were used for racing around an oval track for people to bet on the fastest greyhound. Enter the greyhound racing industry. For decades the tides turned on this breed and they were no longer protected from death. Many died at the hands of humans because they were slow by mere seconds.
In the mid 1980’s greyhound adoption groups started to spring up around the globe to save these ancient royal creatures from certain death following their racing careers. Today, there are greyhound adoption groups in almost every state and most European countries as well as Australia. Most states have outlawed greyhound racing, but there are still a few states where greyhound racing is still a business such as Florida, West Virginia, and Arizona.
In 2003 I met a very special greyhound named Logan. This greyhound changed my life in many ways, so much so that I was inspired to write about his incredible story and the lessons he taught me. I began to promote his positive message to others. Those lessons can be found in my first Greyhound Stories, book Logan’s Secret. Following positive reviews by children and adults, I was asked to continue writing about Logan and the Logan series was created to carry the greyhound through different historical ages where they held prominence.
Logan and the Mystical Collar, which was the second book in the series teaches not only lessons about bullying, but also historical facts about Ancient Egypt in an interesting and fun way for children. Book three in the series has just been completed and is expected to launch this summer. Logan and the Phoenix, set in the medieval period is an exciting adventure that includes a wizard, dragon and king who have to work together to save a kingdom from an evil black mist that has plagued their lands.
More stories are on the horizon to teach important life lessons and history for readers. Logan’s Secret and Logan and the Mystical Collar are available on To learn more about the greyhound’s history and about this breed as a pet, visit

Suzanne Burke, a native of Richmond, Virginia currently lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, with her retired racing greyhounds. She has more than ten years’ experience working with the greyhound breed as a volunteer for the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas. Suzanne also has more than 15 years’ experience in the information technology field in project management and technical writing.

Buy links:
Logan and the Mystical Collar

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