John Henry always wanted a whippet. He likes their style. Lean. Intelligent. Exceedingly fast. And quiet in the house.
About a year ago he bought Hefner, a one-year-old with the intention of having a family dog. Henry and his wife Dolores have shared their Bessborough Dr. home with two other dogs, a mixed breed and a Yorkie.
Hefner, pick of the litter, was bred to be a show dog. He started winning ribbons at six months and continued after Henry purchased him.
But at the shows Henry discovered lure coursing, a simulation of rabbit chasing, and decided to see if Hefner was up to the challenge.
Hefner has since been certified by the Canadian Kennel Club in lure coursing. He has already won four rosettes including a first and second place.
In March Henry is taking Hefner to Georgia and Florida to practise and race. That should have Hefner in excellent shape for the Ontario lure coursing season, which starts in the spring and runs through to October.
Henry also hopes to have Hefner certified in straight line racing and oval track racing in 2013.
Hefner, a handsome brindle and white whippet, is larger than average. He’s about 23 inches tall and 40 pounds, 10 pounds above average. And, like his namesake, Hefner is a real man about town. Over the year he and Henry have walked about 1,200 miles—an average of three to five miles daily!
That’s part of a rigorous daily workout devised by Henry, a real estate agent.
At the off-leash park Hefner flies like the wind over the field, twisting and turning chasing imaginary rabbits and playing with other dogs.
He is able to reach speeds of 35 miles an hour.
In hill work he chases balls, sprinting for 100 to 200 yards. Now he is running up long toboggan hills to increase stamina and endurance.
By the end of a two- to three-hour workout, Hefner is ready to rest. And so is Henry.
Yet at home Hefner is a perfect couch potato. It’s hard to believe that this sweet natured dog is so excited to race it takes all of Henry’s considerable strength to hold him back.
The bond between Henry and Hefner is strong and gets stronger daily.
Henry says, “I wouldn’t sell him for a million dollars cash.”