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The Greyhound Adoption Experience

By Brian and Renee O'Donnell

We are pleased to use this space to respond to a request for information regarding the adoption of retired greyhound racing dogs as pets. We have adopted two dogs from the Greyhound Friends organization (based in Hopkinton, MA) and both have proven to be extremely gentle, easy-going and child-friendly animals. Owen, an 8 year old male spent two years with us before his death last fall and Meggie, a 3 year old female became the newest member of our family this past March. Despite their capacity for running sprints up to 40 miles per hour, greyhounds tend to be "couch potatoes" who bark rather rarely and enjoy spending prolonged periods curled up on mounds of blankets or a soft dog bed near family members. Our experiences indicate they make a fairly quick adjustment from what has often been a rather difficult "lifestyle" at racing tracks. Most have been taught at tracks to walk sedately and therefore make enjoyable companions for long strolls. Their short coats make them vulnerable to cold but also make them a viable pet choice for people who are allergic to many other breeds.

There is a constant need for people to adopt the large number of dogs retired by the tracks every year (racing careers are often over by age 3). People are encouraged to take dogs on a "foster parent" basis if they are unable or not ready to make a permanent commitment to a particular greyhound. Their docile nature makes greyhounds particularly good choices for people with young children but people of all ages seem drawn in by their kindly dispositions. Their thin, leggy appearance and velvety smooth coats bring frequent attention and comment when people meet them for the first time. We would be glad to provide additional information to anyone who might be interested in learning more about greyhound adoption.

Visits to the Greyhound Friends shelter in Hopkinton, (978) 435-5969, are also encouraged as is contacting the Greyhound Adoption Service based in Salisbury, MA; (978) 462-7973.