Randy the Greyhound grew up in the forests of Florida. He lived his life on a chain with a half barrel for shelter and scraps and water once a day. He was a sad puppy, but not for the reasons you might think. He was a sad puppy because he never had anyone to hug.

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Most dogs do not like hugs. Randy, being a rather different sort of puppy, was always searching for someone to hug.

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Mom and Dad were chained to other half barrels too far away to snuggle. The Man Who Brought Food never wanted hugs. When Randy was brought to the track to run, everyone just told him to run faster and to focus more. He kept his eye out for someone who might need a hug as badly as he did, but all of the dogs and all of the people were focused on the track and the stuffed bunny. Sometimes he did chase the stuffed bunny, only to ask if he wanted a hug. He never got close enough to ask.

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"This one has no focus," he heard a man grumble. "Never should have been bred. The dam and sire have no focus either." Randy knew they were talking about him because they kept looking at him sideways. "Maybe they needed hugs!" Randy thought, running up to them. "No use keeping them around," another man said. They did not need hugs. Randy walked back to the track with his ears and tail low.

The next day, a tiny, fierce looking woman arrived in the forest with one of the men who had been talking about Randy. They were arguing. Just as quickly, they were shaking hands and exchanging money and signing papers. 

Randy and his parents and three of the other greyhounds found themselves in the back of a dark van with the woman. Her fierceness softened, and she said, "You are safe. I am taking you home." Randy did not know what she had said, but he relaxed and curled up and slept.

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When the woman opened the door several hours later, she brought Randy into a home filled with kind people. Everyone petted him gently. He had never been pet. He imagined that was what a hug felt like. Carpet! He had never seen anything like it! He asked the cat watching him from around the corner if he wanted a hug. He did not, but he said he didn't mind having Randy there. He was used to having dogs come and go. They ended up being good friends.

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A few weeks later, Randy was brought to another home with a wonderful, kind woman. He somehow knew she was his person. She petted him gently and talked to him softly. Randy did not think he could be happier.

Their first outing, Randy was brought to the veterinary hospital. The vet looked him over and declared him The Finest Greyhound She Had Ever Seen. She opened her arms. He gently set his head on her shoulder and she wrapped her arm around him for a long time. He leaned in and snuggled. This! This is the only thing that could make him even happier than he was! His first real hug!

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The vet looked at Randy's new human. "Dogs do not usually like hugs," she said. "Your dog is going to need all the hugs! I am quite sure he had never been treated gently before he was rescued."

So Randy's new human hugged him every day. Every time Randy came to see his veterinarian friend, she knelt in front of him and gave him a gentle hug too.

Randy had everything he had ever wanted and more. 

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The rescue group who had saved Randy and the others went on to save the rest of the dogs in the forest too. Other rescue groups joined them, and together they rescued all of the Greyhounds in the land, finding each one a wonderful home and helping shut down dog racing completely.

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-The End-