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The Zydeco Story

>Greyhound Killed by Pit Bulls. On Monday, October 22nd, Susanne Tenney left her house in Oakland Park with Zydeco, her 11 year old greyhound for a walk in the neighborhood. Zydeco and Susanne loved their neighborhood walks. A few streets from home she was surprised by two pit bulls that had escaped from a neighbor’s yard. She had pepper spray but no time to use it. She tried to stop the pits from attacking her beloved Zydeco but she could barely slow them down. A neighbor, John Clark, heard her screams and by instinct dove into the melee to help. John said that the harder they bit him, the madder he got. Susanne says he saved her life. Susanne said, “I still cannot believe what he did for me. Zydeco and I must have gone into shock at the same time that morning, because all I could think about was trying to protect my dog. When the one pit bull bit my face and arm, I remember thinking that I just got bit myself, but it didn’t even dawn on me at the time that maybe I was in danger myself. I had spent seven years pampering and protecting Zydeco, and I wasn’t going to leave her side during this attack.”

Other neighbors showed up with bats and handles and rope to tie the dogs. But none of it was enough. Zydeco was taken to Hollywood Animal Hospital and her injuries were far too severe for her to go on. Zydeco went to the Rainbow Bridge. (LINK to Sun-Sentinel story and the video interview)

Every greyhound owner and lover shudders to think of the possibilities. These dogs are so thin skinned and many are so meek and mild, especially our seniors. There has been a huge out pouring of sympathy for Susanne, gratitude to the neighbors who helped, especially for John Clark who has stitches in the fingers on both hands and a severe laceration of his calf. While we were floundering wondering how we could help, even how we could contact her, one of our cool headed, warm hearted supporters came up with the right idea. He has offered to pay the adoption fees for Susanne and her husband Art to get another greyhound when they are ready. And he has gone one step further. If John Clark would like to adopt a greyhound and qualifies, his adoption fees will be covered, too. After all, a man who would try that hard to save Zydeco, already had a pretty good start towards approval of his adoption application. It’s a very generous offer but more than that, it broke the fog of disbelief we’d been operating in and crystallized the need for us to move forward.

I didn’t even know how to get hold of Susanne Tenney. Zydeco, a brindle girl who raced as Mrs. Valentina, had originally come from New Beginnings Greyhound Adoption that is no longer in operation. She was not a FoG dog so I didn’t have Susanne’s contact information. I started by emailing the reporter who covered the story. That did nothing. Phone calls got me nowhere. But then, out of the blue, the phone rang. It was Susanne Tenney herself. She was reaching out to us. She started to tell me who she was but I already knew. I told her our plan and then she told me hers.

Susanne and her husband had gone to a lawyer to set up a memorial fund to help greyhounds get into homes. Put simply, in the midst of all of this, she wants to take advantage of the heightened awareness of greyhounds that surrounds Zydeco’s death to funnel donations in Zydeco’s memory to be split between the local groups to help other greyhounds find good homes. The lawyer explained it would cost more to set up a legal fund than it could bring in. So, at her request, we are mounting a grass roots effort to memorialize Zydeco by caring for greyhounds that still need homes. If we get donations to cover the cost of the care of the dogs (food, meds, etc.), then we leave more for marketing and finding those homes. And getting these good dogs into good homes is the most positive reaction to this situation we can come up with. A follow up story is expected to run in the Sun Sentinel on Sunday (10/27). It will give information about donating to Friends of Greyhounds and to Hollydogs.

FoG will ensure that donations marked Zydeco Fund are acknowledged separately and we will share any notes, cards, messages you send to Susanne, Art and John with them. Susanne is not computer oriented but as you well know, we are. For FoG, Zydeco donations will be accepted in any form (cash, checks, credit cards) and location (kennel, house, by mail) and through our online donations. Checks should be payable to Friends of Greyhounds but please note Zydeco Fund in the memo. You may send cards or notes to our address (FoG, 2621 NW 105 Lane, Sunrise, FL 33322) and we will make sure they receive them. You may even email me ( and use the subject line as Zydeco and I will print that email and share it with them.

Susanne is sad and still horrified by the event. I spoke with her again today and my heart just bleeds for her. Wit
h what she saw that day, it is hard for her to close her eyes to sleep. Every time she walks out of the house, she’s back where it all happened. We all hope she’ll find a way to put this behind her and remember Zydeco as the sweet girl she was. It won’t be easy. No mom should see that happen. We hope that when she’s ready, she’ll come down to the kennel for some dog-hugging therapy. When I first spoke to her, she didn’t want to do that. I mentioned it again today and she was warmer to the suggestion. When she’s ready, she knows where we are. And I know all of you will open your hearts to her.

You’ve got one tough Mom there, Zydeco, and I know she’s looking forward to escorting you across that bridge. Rest in Peace, Sweetheart.