His racing career ended by injury, Beware of Phog has cozy bed waiting for him in Oklahoma

Posted on Oct 20, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Trainer Henry Parker (l-r) and Steve and Teri Durr with Beware of Phog, Oct. 17 at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, Florida.  | contributed photo used with permission
Trainer Henry Parker (l-r) and Steve and Teri Durr with Beware of Phog, Oct. 17 at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, Florida.

When readers of Kansas Alumni magazine were introduced to the charismatic greyhound Beware of Phog with an item in the Jayhawk Walk section of issue No. 4, 2014, the fleet black flash was already making a name for himself at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, Florida, with 11 victories in his first 33 starts.

“He’s a really cool dog,” Derby Lane’s Vera Rasnake said then. “There are no strangers with him. He loves people, he’s really nice looking, and just a cocky little guy. He knows he’s good.”

We’re sad to report that a tendon injury in his right hind leg prematurely ended Phog’s racing days; we’re thrilled to report he’ll soon be living the life of leisure in Enid, Oklahoma, with stalwart Jayhawks Steve, c’74, and Teri Wiggans Durr, j’76.

The Durrs, already the owners of two adopted greyhounds, have long supported the cause by assisting Tulsa’s Halfway Home Greyhounds, and their heartfelt allegiance to the splendid animals was rewarded in 2013 with the honor of naming a pair of unraced puppies.

They chose Beware of Phog and Wins Jayhawks, and both dogs with the KU-themed monikers established themselves as formidable athletes. Though not quite the caliber of his stakes-winning brother, Wins Jayhawks—who has moved from Tennessee’s Southland Park to Wheeling Island in West Virginia—is a quality runner at the AA level, one notch below Beware of Phog’s A races.

Even though they’d never attended a greyhound race, the Durrs followed both dogs’ progress in race results posted online. When they learned that Beware of Phog was injured May 23, during his 109th career start, the Durrs anxiously tracked the sometimes frustrating news about his recovery.

Beware of Phog won his first post-rehab schooling race, but was scratched from his second start. He reinjured the troublesome tendon and was officially retired. That’s when the Durrs swung into action, and were soon granted their wish: They could adopt Beware of Phog and bring him back to Oklahoma.

With a work trip already scheduled to the Tampa area, the Durrs on Oct. 17 made their way to Derby Lane to finally meet Beware of Phog and trainer Henry Parker. It was their first visit to a greyhound track.

“We asked his trainer to tell us some stories about Phog,” Teri Durr says, “He thought about it and said, ‘Do you remember back in high school, where there’s the good guy who was the quarterback and the star athlete and just an all-around good guy? That’s Phog.'”

He must first recover from his injury and also be neutered before he can be released for adoption, so the Durrs anticipate making the long drive to Florida in about three weeks to pick up Beware of Phog. Teri Durr can’t wait to introduce Phog to his own bed, a well-earned reward after a lifetime spent in kennels.

“We’re just thrilled that he gets to come to us,” Durr says. “It’s not something we were planning on, but when he got hurt, we said there’s just no way that we could not bring him home.

“Everybody needs a greyhound. They’re awful sweet, and they’re so beautiful. They just need homes.”

—Chris Lazzarino

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