Saturday, to celebrate the future-bro-in-law's birthday (he's 20 days older than me...ha!), we went to Fast Eddie's Bon Air in Alton, IL. If you've never been, all I can say is...yum! I love the Big Elwood (had to give up being a veggie for a day), and the shrimp are awesome, and the beer is cold and cheap. Yes, the place is a little dingy, yes it's full of somewhat creepy folks, and yes, the music was so bad it was laughable, but it's always fun at Fast Eddie's. The point is to drink enough so that the place doesn't seem so dirty and so that the music becomes good. It usually works.
Then we went over to Fairmount Park to bet on the horses. I don't know much about horse racing, so I wasn't sure how I felt about going, but I went anyway. Now that I've read a little more about it, I'm sure I won't go again. There isn't as much information about it as there is on greyhound racing (which is so very bad), but it's still out there. Of course the well-known horses are treated very well, but the ones at the local tracks most likely aren't treated that great. They're overraced, and doped up on painkillers. And those are just the horses that make it to the tracks - I'm sure thousands are killed in the process because they're no good for racing, just like the hounds.
The crowd at the races was totally entertaining. We saw many a good mullet, and many a bare midriff that should have not been bared whatsoever. There was an inside section too, where plenty of hardcore gamblers were betting on tracks across the country. That was depressing. There's always that underlying bit of depression with any gambling, I guess. We did have fun though. Good company, great weather, and cheap beer.
We also went to the Rescued Racers picnic in St. Ann. It's the tenth anniversary of the organization. They've placed over 800 rescued hounds with families. Pretty cool. It's the third one we've attended with Chay, and I'm always amazed at how many hounds you can pack into a small space without incident. We heard one or two barks, and one or two growls, but that's it. And the growls came from dogs who were interrupted while trying to sleep. It makes sense, though. They're used to living in close quarters on the track. I love looking at all of the different colors and sizes. It's so funny that there's so many colors and brindles (striped patterns), yet we always see at least one other dog that looks exactly like Chay. I mean exactly - like if we were to turn them loose together, it'd take some close inspection to figure out which one is Chay.
These dogs are the most incredible, good-natured, sweet things on the planet. And knowing where they came from (the farms/tracks) makes them even more amazing. I think they're the most beautiful dogs, even with their injuries, as most have either some sort of badly healed broken bone or cuts. Fox 2 News showed up, and I was so glad. I love it when greyhounds get attention. I can only hope that brings more people to the organization willing to take on these wonderful animals. A woman from the Greyhound Protection League had a booth, and handed out all sorts of literature about the horrors of racing. She also had pics from hound farms and of racing crashes. Completely awful. I decided I need at least one more hound. Q is hesitant, but I think maybe he could be swayed. Chay, on the other hand, might not like it so much. She's so spoiled as it is.
During the horseraces I noticed that an ambulance follows the horses on the track. I'm guessing this is in case one gets injured. It's great that they do this, but I found it very depressing, as on many greyhound tracks (not that I know from first hand experience, mind you) there isn't even a veterinarian present at the track at all. Hounds often are injured by the mechanical lure, and left to die for hours before a vet even arrives to do anything about it. I tried not to think about this at the track, or to think about how odd it seems to sit there and make money on animals. Or to understand that most of the horrors of racing are covered up because the local government gets a percentage of the profit, so they don't regulate like they should. Anything for a buck.