Judy with Lucy(head at left)
and Dulcie(head at right)

Judy Benson began in whippets this way: "One summer morning in 1976 I walked behind a parked station wagon in the grocery store lot, and noticed a small, slender dog inside it watching me. As I paused, this lovely, fawn-like creature approached the car's back window, and, as I braced for the hysterical barking I expected, she gave me the soft Doe Eyes Treatment and gently waved her tail. I'll never forget that moment. My heart almost leapt out of my chest and I thought Oh my God, I have to have one of those, too"!

"Dusty" with the family long ago
at Age 7 years
Son of Ch Morchor's Appraxin Ariel

Home I went to husband, Peter, half-grown kids and big black poodle, newspaper in hand. "Whippet" I muttered, going through the classified ads (what did I know; looking back I think she was probably an Italian Greyhound). By unbelieveable coincidence, a ten month old male whippet was for sale. His owner, a young man, had to move, and sadly brought his lanky, handsome youngster and all his belongings, including photos taken of him as a little puppy, a show photo of his sire, and his pedigree, to give us. Why didn't he contact the breeder? I don't know, but just like that we became Whippet people. And just like that we discovered that there was much more to Dusty's story. Even after neutering, he was peeing all over the house, barking like a lunatic, eating everything that wasn't nailed down or metal-encased. Eventually, over the years, he bit several people. We loved this little monster and tried very hard, but he brought us to our knees. The last straw was the horrible day he snaked his head through the bars of the gate and bit a man, who'd come to ring our gate bell, in the gonads. Putting him down (the dog, not the man) was considered, but we tried a trainer first, who, basically, trained us. Dusty was ten years old, and his improvement was just enough that he lived out his lifespan to fifteen.


Somewhere along the way I met Whippet Rescue volunteer Debbie Sparks, attended a fun-run day, met Betz Leone. When, in 1989, we were ready for another dog, we asked Rescue, and got Dulcie, the World's Most Perfect Dog. How we had the courage after Dusty, I do not know, but I am forever grateful. Gentle, sensible, calm and dignified. If not pretty, then long and elegant. She and her son, it is said, were confiscated in a drug bust. We became a foster home for Rescue.
A year later, a man in Visalia, who'd bought two puppy mill whippets called Rescue. He'd bought the dogs because he'd heard they were good hunters, so he took them out into the desert and started shooting (? rabbits) and the male ran off and didn't come back. The female, already pregnant (not spayed), had eleven puppies, which all died of parvo (not innoculated). He then decided he didn't want the female, either (not socialized, lived outside). This pathetic three-year-old creature came to live with us in 1980, probably the most fearful dog I've ever known. Lucy, with her gay ears, stocky legs and loooong bony back, has come a long, long way. She will never be a normal dog, but she is healthy, active, sweet and funny and, as she ages (now more than 13) extremely dear to us all.

"Dulcie" & Lucy" with Judy

In the years we've been volunteers and fosterers for Rescue, there have been quite a number of dogs through our house, well-tolerated by our two old ladies. Some stayed for weeks, others only for the hour or so needed for their excited new people to pick them up here. Twice they have come in pairs, one a pair of sisters and the other brothers. Both times, through the magic of Carol Gregory, then Wendy Gay, (both of Northern California Whippet Fanciers Association Rescue) they were placed together in new homes.
The only serious problem we've had was the first day with those brothers. A vet had called Rescue for the beautiful but emaciated young dogs, that had been left for euthanasia. Their elderly owner had died and they had been alone for some time. We brought them home, bathed them and set their dinner dishes some feet apart outside. One dog finished first and turned toward the other dog's dish and a terrifying fight broke out. I should have know better, and I do now. Only minor cuts resulted, but I'm sorry I couldn't have protected them from that outcome.
In January of this year, I inherited the role of coordinator for Whippet Rescue for Northern California. I am intimidated, and feel I don't know enough to do it, but I am supported by a wide network of wonderful Rescue experts, from Peggy Bush right on through the ranks. No call goes unanswered, no request for help un-met. There is so much that needs being done in this world, and I am so grateful be able to do a tiny bit of it. Blessings on all the volunteers, all the dogs, and everyone who loves them.

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