The Real Life of a Greyhound Star (How I Fell in Love)


Today, on the Greyhound Homecare Channel, I treated my viewers to some great pictures and footage of real greyhounds in Greyhound Bus commercials.

People often ask me how I got interested in greyhounds. The answer is going to completely surprise you:

How I Fell in Love with Greyhounds

Believe it or not, the thing that sparked my interest in greyhounds was this: No, not a ride on a Greyhound bus; but this little, toy Matchbox Greyhound bus. While I used to sit and play with it, I would look at the picture of the dog on the side of the toy, and would dream of having one just like it…named Petey!  I wondered if people are ever allowed to own such a dog. After all, I had never actually seen one in person…

… and I wouldn’t see one in person for another 24 years.

When my husband and I were first talking about getting married, one of the things we considered was getting a dog. “Well, what kind of dog,” I thought, “something little, like maybe a beagle?”

Not only had I never had a dog before; I must confess that I was actually somewhat afraid of them; but my husband surprised me by saying that the only kind of dog he wanted was a greyhound. Again, the question came up, “are people actually allowed to have one as a pet?”

He assured me that his cousin had one, and had been surprised, himself, to learn what great dogs they are. It wasn’t long before he brought me to visit our local track. 

Like with my husband, it was love at first sight. At this particular track, spectators were allowed to stand right next to the gate, as the dogs came out after the race. When the dogs saw me standing there, they all rushed up to the other side of the gate, smiling and wagging their tails at me. It was the friendliest, happiest, most adorable – yet well behaved- display of dog behavior I had ever seen.  

I count the day I got my first greyhound as one of the most treaured of my life.

Discovering Lady Greyhound

Fast forward a bunch of years, to a fantastic segment I had seen on The Jack Benny Program. Not that I’m that old; I just love watching old programs – When I find one archived in Apple Podcasts or on archive.org, I will watch the whole series, from start to finish. 

So, anyway, one of these programs was The Jack Benny Program. One particular episode featured vintage Greyhound Bus mascot Lady Greyhound in a comedy skit, where she had a major role as a witness in a trial.  The only problem is, when I was ready to make my video, I could not find that clip anywhere. When I come across it again, I will post it separately, because it’s really cute….but don’t worry, I have plenty more for you in the video!

The Life and Times of Lady Greyhound

Greyhound Bus Lines first adopted a live greyhound as their official mascot way back in 1957.  Their new star was a mere pup of less than three months old,  a little white princess with tan patches…

…kind of like my Lily…

She would, eventually, come to be known as Lady Greyhound. They didn’t call her that right away, though. She started out on The Steve Allen Show, where she was dubbed Steverino (which I think is a terrible name for a dainty little girl greyhound).

Luckily, The Steve Allen Show moved on to something else, and the Lady Greyhound campaign was adopted by the Emmy-award-winning Jack Benny Program in March of 1959.  

Lady Greyhound: more than just a pretty face

This was not to be Lady Greyhound’s only appearance, though. A wonderful article by Joan Dillon details not only many of the things that Lady Greyhound did, and places that she went; but also an extensive list of the awards and honors that were bestowed upon her:

“During her career, Lady Greyhound officiated at the opening of new bus terminals by biting through a special ribbon made of dog biscuits. She traveled throughout the United States, creating good public relations for The Greyhound Corporation, and averaged about 25,000 miles a year. Sporting a specially-made tiara, collar, and coat which spelled out “Go Greyhound,” Lady Greyhound made many TV appearances; and starred on the shows of Art Linkletter, Steve Allen, Jack Benny, Gary Moore and Ed Murrow  She even visited the White House. In addition to her public relations work, Lady Greyhound performed a great deal of charity work including visits to hospitals and nursing homes.

During her career, many titles and honors were bestowed upon Lady Greyhound some of which were:

Queen of National Dog Week

Queen of National Cat Week (She was made an honorary cat for the occasion.)

Queen of National Transportation Week

Bachelor of Animal Letters from Moravian College

Symbol for World Animal Day

Founder of National Be Kind to Dog Owners Week

Lady-in-Waiting to Mrs. America

Mother Dog of the Year for 1960 (Bred to another greyhound, she had 9 puppies.)

American Humane Society Award

Pet Division Director, The Easter Seal Campaign”

~ Joan Dillon ~

Ms. Dillon goes on to say that although Lady Greyhound weighed just 10 lbs. at the start of her career, she would grow into a 58-lb. beauty.  She retired at the tender age of nine, to live out the rest of her days as the beloved housepet of her manager, Lorraine D’Essen.

Watch Now: Real Greyhound TV Stars of Yesteryear!

Although the Greyhound bus lines never again had as long-running a star (no pun intended) as Lady Greyhound, there were a few more appearances of greyhounds in their advertising, which are worth noting.  My video features five of those commercials.

While you’re enjoying these clever bits of Greyhound history, please consider showing your appreciation by subscribing, over at YouTube, to the Greyhound Homecare Channel – it’s free –  and interacting with the channel, by leaving me a comment and a thumbs up. I know everyone says this on every video, but it’s because it really does help promote the channel, and keeps creators like me able to keep bringing you the videos that are tailor-made for better living with your pet greyhound….  or any breed, really.

Resources for Further Exploration 

Gail McGaffigan

The owner of the Greyhound Homecare website and YouTube channel, Gail has had retired racing greyhounds as pets since 1997. Please visit our channel, too! https://www.youtube.com/c/GreyhoundHomecare

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