“Chelsea” and her best friend “Weezer,” a Jack Russell in 1990

Nanci Toerper is from Foristell, west of St. Louis, Mo. She currently owns two Whippets.

My Whippet obsession started back in 1986. My husband and I were renting a house at the time and I wanted a dog more than anything. I got permission from our landlord by giving her some lame story that a friend of mine had to give up her dog. So, off I went to the Humane Society to find a dog that I felt really needed a good home. I didn't want a puppy at a time and really didn't have anything in mind, just a dog that just grabbed my heart. I checked out the Humane Society then, I went over to the ASPCA in St. Louis. I walked down the rows of kennels listening to dogs barking and carrying on, it was gloomy and very depressing. I came upon this pathetic looking Whippet. She was very thin and came up to the gate of the kennel. She didn't bark like the rest but, gently put her paw on the door and gave me a look as if to say, "Please help and get me out of this hell hole!" I took her out and asked the people that worked there about her. They said she was 6 yrs old and her name was "Koko". The owner had given her up because she had too many animals. I was really wanting something a little younger than 6 yrs old. I went home to think about, called my sister and told her about "Koko", she said, "go get her!" which I knew in my heart I had to go back, so I did. When I put her in the car, she immediately curled up and fell asleep. She was so exhausted from being at that noisy place. The only thing she had to lay on was a plastic bench (not an ideal Whippet bed). My husband was shocked when I brought her home he said, "what is it?" It took "Koko" a while to adjust. She tore up our couch ( that's before I knew about crating!) luckily, it was just an old hand me down. I knew in my heart that things would get better with her and that she had been through a lot. My husband still teases me because I used to try and hide the fact that our couch only had one cushion left from her tearing the cushions apart. "Koko" turned out to be a great dog and ever since her I had a love for Whippets. She was with us until 1993, she was 13 yrs old.

Left is Baron, retired racing greyhound and Koko, Rescue Whippet 1989
and Right is "Koko" & “ Chelsea”, 1993

A few years down the road in 1989, I decided I wanted a retired racing Greyhound. At that time there weren't a lot of rescue groups so, I had to write letters to a few organizations who finally connected me with someone in Greyhounds. I filled out an application and in a couple of weeks they called to tell me they had a male and asked if I wanted him, and I said yes. So, 3:00 in the morning we received a call from the "Greyhound delivery man" to meet us at such-n- such gas station. "Baron" came up from Florida on a big truck that said "Greyhound Connection" on the side. At the time he was 18 months (don't think he made it pass training!), we had him until he was almost 12 yrs. "Baron" was a very sweet dog and was good to every kind of animal. He never quite grew out of his "puppyness" he could be a bit rambunctious at times but, there was a very gentle side to him also. So much has changed for the better with today's Greyhound adoption groups. They are much more helpful now then they were back when we got "Baron". We knew nothing about "Baron" when he was offered to us except his color and sex.

“Chelsea”, Dec 89’ to May 99’
She will always have a special place in my heart

In 1990 I saw an ad for Whippets in the local paper. I wanted to see Whippet puppies so bad since I had never seen one. I called the person who turned out to be a "backyard breeder", actually it was his first and only litter. I had planned to just look and see what they looked like (yeah right!) so, of course I came home with one. Since then I have learned the importance of buying from a good breeder but, I got really lucky with "Chelsea", she was the best dog I could have asked for. At the time, I worked for a Veterinarian and she would go to work with me everyday and sit in a chair up front behind the desk. She would go to the barn with me when I had a horse. She was everything to me. When she was 6 yrs old I had my son, during that time I was busy taking care of him. "Chelsea" never demanded anything during that time and was content to be at home with me and her buddy "Baron". In May of 1999 I lost her tragically at the age of 9 yrs, I was devastated to stay the least. I don't know when I ever cried so hard.

Aimee and my son Andy enjoying a winter day
And Aimee as a puppy

After "Chelsea" died, I knew I could not be without a Whippet. "Baron" was very lonely and also missed her very much. I decided this time I wanted a Whippet from a good, reputable breeder but, I didn't know anyone. I was able to get the phone number to the president of the AWC and after getting a few numbers just started making calls from the list. One thing lead to another and I got hooked up with Deborah Bahm. She had a litter that was due towards the end of the summer. I probably drove her crazy! I called to see how the puppies were doing on a regular basis. I was so excited especially after she had sent pictures of the dam and sire, Ch Chelsea GoldRush of Keynote & Ch Debmar Angels Among Us. I met her at a show in Kansas City, Mo.. Later in the day we went over to where she was staying to look at the puppies. They were all so adorable, it was really hard to chose!! We decide on a little fawn and white girl and we named her "Aimee" Debmar Worth the Wait (named that because she was worth waiting for). Shortly after that, I brought home "Louie" who I also got from Deborah. The first year was quite an experience having 2 puppies in the house but, it was all worth it. "Louie" is such a good dog and is a true "mama's boy! I co-own him with Deborah, he is currently working towards his championship. Both of my dogs have excellent temperaments and have never met a stranger. They are extremely outgoing and friendly towards everyone. It has been great raising them with my son which has made them wonderful with kids. They are also best buddies and play together very well.

Best Friends, Aimee & Louie

I was introduced to lure coursing thanks to Nancy and Bart Brown. My dogs and I love lure coursing!!! It is definitely the sport I like the most so far!! They do very well and have quite a few points towards their field championships. I am a member of SLASH (St. Louis Area Sighthounds) lure coursing club. I have only had the time to course here at the SLASH trials but, I'm hoping this year to take them coursing at some other places. There are so many things that I want to try but, unfortunately there doesn't seem to be enough time for everything.

Louie winning his first major
Handled by Jeff & Lori Wilson

I have been so fortunate to meet some really great people in Whippets. I always have a lot of questions about shows and coursing. Before the two Whippets that I currently own, I had never entered my dogs in competitions. I have met so many nice people through SLASH and countless others from the Whippet-T list that have been so friendly and helpful. I have made many new friends in the "Whippet world."

“Louie” Debmar Legal Eagle
Louie soon after I brought him home

My dogs are members of the family. I personally like being able to expose them to many things in life. They love to go camping and hiking. I think my favorite thing is to take them on a long walk on the farming land behind us, I love to see them so happy running and playing together.

I don't have any interest in breeding at this time and don't know if I ever will. I believe breeding dogs is such a huge responsibility and should not be taken lightly. I am impressed when people try and better the breed in every aspect. I think temperament and health is most important but, I also like Whippets that can do a little of everything. They don't have to be number one at anything just as long as they are having a good time.

I just can't imagine life with out a whippet! They are such a joy to have.

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