Sunday, March 27, 2011

Greyhound Revisited.....In Tank Form

Although I've yet to actually team up with them (my bad) I have found a World of Tank Clan in the 116th Panzer Division Windhund which is named after a real Wehrmacht unit that was created late in the war (1944). To be honest I don't know a lot about either the real unit, or my new clan but I will, I am sure, find out in due time.

It's always exciting starting a new gaming venture and I am looking forward to the launch of World Of Tanks and getting started in the Clan Wars aspect of the game. I am currently using all the free beta gold to try out various different options like fully trained crews, better ammo, and heavy tanks. I've also gone back to artillery as of last night but that was mostly due to the fact I had drank so much wine I couldn't actually drive a tank anymore. Drunken tank drivers don't make great decisions I have found, but I did do fairly well in my lowly Tier III Russian artillery unit.

I joined the Windhund clan for sound, well-though out, and pain-painstakingly researched reasons (honest I did) but I have to admit I really fancied the name. Windhund translates to Greyhound and I am a huge fan of Greyhounds- as pets, not the sport of.

When I first moved to Ireland I did what a lot of people there do and I went to the Greyhound Track to watch the dogs race. I have to admit it was exhilarating and I loved watching them run! The dogs obviously love it sooooo much, and god can they move! I even won 40 Euro on the night.

It was, however, the last time I would watch them race as I learned the true cost of Greyhound racing in Ireland. Many countries have banned this sport for the sad reason that the animals are not treated very well. Estimates are that 18,000 Greyhounds per year are killed in Ireland alone each year simply because they are not fast enough, or are too old to race.

The Sultan of Smart (featured in Friday's post) is a Lurcher. He is half Greyhound, and half Border Collie. This breed is common in Ireland where the Travellers use them for hunting rabbits (usually at night with lamps). There is also a yearly coursing championship in which Lurchers do very well. After adopting him I became aware of the Greyhound problem and did some volunteer work for a charity called P.A.W.S. (warning: there are some distressing pictures of animals on this web site). I was eventually called out to pick up an 8-year old ex-racing Greyhound named Larky Lady. The owners called late on Friday and said that her usefulness as a brood bitch was over, and that if we couldn't come and get her they were going to shoot her on the Monday (which was, incidentally Easter Monday).

I picked her up late on Friday and took her home. It was an interesting challenge, I have to say. Imagine a dog that had spent it's entire life being treated as a cow, and you may get an idea what it was like to bring her into our home. She had no idea how to be a pet, but I'm happy to say that after a few months with us she was re-homed in Prague, in the Czech Republic. The last information I had was that she was happy and healthy. I always tend to think of her in the Spring because I picked her up on Good Friday, and now, especially, because of my new Tank Clan......tanks and dogs- who would have though there was a connection?

She loved that Moose so much. She had worn her teeth to nubs by chewing at the mesh on her cages over the years so she was very gentle with it. She carried it wherever she went very gently. It was the first toy she had ever had.

She won a few races in her day (1,482 Euro in Prizes), and so did some of her pups. Most of them, however, likely didn't make it past their first year of life.

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