Celebrate the Whippet Breed

Lucas

A photo of Lucas in his kennel in October, 2005

Lucas spent 31 days lost in January and February of 2006 and was found 26 miles from where he started.

Lucas is a beautiful whippet who came into rescue after being kenneled all of his life. Lucas was part of a group who came from an older breeder with health problems who allowed rescue to assist in placing his whippets before his death.

Lucas spent about a month in my home being socialized and preparing him to go to a new home in Atlanta. We chose a home for Lucas with an owner who had just lost his older whippet. Lucas finally went to his new home in January 2006. The new home would be a duplex in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, a very busy section of Atlanta, just north of the downtown area.

Lucas was wearing a collar with an avid chip when placed in his new home but the chip had not been inserted as the owner was going to have a chip that would register internationally as he would be spending about half of the year at his home in England.

The new owner took on a challenge with Lucas as the socialization of a dog who comes from a kennel is a very difficult task. On the second day after Lucas arrived to his new home, the owner an Lucas were out walking when a group of kids in an automobile came by and tossed bottles at them as they were walking near a local park. Lucas managed to pull free from the owners hands and broke away, running in a direction away from the owner. The owner tried to catch Lucas back but could not an Lucas began his first trip as a lost whippet.

A large group of neighbors and whippet owners in the Atlanta area began searching for Lucas in the local area but failed to find him in their search. Posters and leaflets were passed around but there was no sign of Lucas. On the fifth day after being lost, I received a call from our national WRAP representative who handled the avid chip distribution that she was contacted by Avid and our dog had been found. I contacted the lady who had found Lucas and coordinated a time for him to picked up. Lucas had managed to come on to her back deck, five miles away from where he was lost, where her dogs were inside barking. She went to see what the fuss was about and found Lucas, cornered on the deck with no where to escape. After much coaxing, she managed to get Lucas and found the avid chip number on the tag, thus contacting Avid which had the unregistered tag listed with WRAP as the owner.

Lucas was reunited with a very excited and relieved new owner.

This is only where the story begins. Two days later on January 15, 2006, a neighbor opened the new owners door without knocking and once again, Lucas bolted to parts unknown.

Our search party spread out about the neighborhood looking for Lucas with no success. We focused on the area surrounding the owners home as there had been a few sightings the first few days. After the first week of his disappearance, hope was fading for finding him a second time.

I had finally given up hopes of finding Lucas after a month of cold and rainy weather here in Altanta. Temperatures had been moderate but had dipped into the low 20's during the month and a very wet month had been experience as well.

On the morning of February 15, 2006, I once again received a call from the WRAP national coordinator for Avid letting me know that a whippet had been found 25 miles east of Atlanta. I contact the lady named Jessie Romer in Lithonia, GA who had found the dog and she gave me a description matching Lucas. However, this time the results were a little different.

Jessie owns greyhounds and had been contacted the afternoon before that there was a loose greyhound in the neighborhood. Knowing that it was not one of her dogs, she immediately went to another neighbors home who also had greyhounds finding that the neighbor had no dogs missing either. She began to drive around her area looking for the dog. Frustrated the first time around the area with no sighting, she decided to give it one more try.

Jessie spotted Lucas in an area with a lot of homes and began to pursue on foot. Lucas as usual was not interested in being caught and began to move away from Jessie. She followed him through a wooded area and lost sight of him. After coming back out of the area, she spotted Lucas once again. This time however, he moved to a busy road in the neighborhood. At this time jumped back in her car to try to move to cut Lucas off from the highway but it was too late. Lucas was hit by an automobile who never slowed nor stopped to lend assistance. There were also three other cars who never slowed down to assist as they went right over the dog laying in the busy highway.

Amazingly, Lucas was still alive. Jessie scooped up Lucas and rushed him to her local vet. The vet came in after hours and spent over three hours with Jessie assisting to care for Lucas. The results of the injury included 5 broken ribs, several lacerations across his body with one back leg badly cut due to the injury.

The good news was that Lucas was still alive. Thirty one days and twenty six miles east of where his journey began, Lucas was finally captured by a caring person lending a helping hand only after being hit by the automobile.

Lucas is healing well in my home, with a slight limp on the back leg and a lot of cuts and bruises. My wife, who is a veterianarian, is spending a lot of time taking care of him and making sure that he once again can enjoy a normal life. Lucas will not go back to his last owner but will be placed with someone with a large fence and the ability to deal with a dog who is spooked easily.

Lucas's vet bills exceeded $750 in cost. If you care to donate to Whippet Rescue and Placement to assist with some of the cost, please contact David Howton,