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Gentle giants

No one person or dog stood out from the crowd in the more than 220 greyhounds and their 225 human companions at the recent annual Greyhound Gathering in Southern Utah.

"Every single person who loves a greyhound is a standout," said Claudia Presto, who has organized the three-day annual event since 1999.

Each year, the event is a celebration of life, and this year’s was no different. After all, many of the dogs are either rescues from greyhound racetracks or rejects from breeding farms. The weekend was all about the dogs, who are known for their gentle and friendly personalities.

For the greyhound parade, held on Center Street in downtown Kanab, the sleek hounds "charaded" as Clydesdale horses -- all black dogs sporting large, white anklets -- while others donned open-back hospital gowns from the TV show "Grey’s Anatomy," and still others paraded as Greyhound buses.

"The costumes were creative," Presto said.

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Serenading the crowd with a rendention of "Rooooo"

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Rascal enjoying the day

It’s all part of the weekend fun for everyone, including those who arrived not only from across the country but from across the pond, as did Chris Titchen, who flew all the way from England to attend.

From Wisconsin were Wayne and Mary Jo Jome with their dog Lexie, and from Kentucky were Linda Wilbert with Romeo, and Paula Berry with Mister. Texan greyhounds Tipp, Lizzie, Vegas and Bella accompanied their respective families.

Helping welcome them to Angels Landing on the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary grounds was co-founder Faith Maloney. She talked about what Best Friends does and its campaigns, all toward a time when there are No More Homeless Pets. She thanked them for doing their part with greyhounds.

"Thank you all for reaching out and bringing an ex-racing greyhound into your homes," Maloney told those gathered for a casual dinner on the grass at Angel’s Landing in a natural outdoor amphitheatre. "If we all do our bit we can make a huge difference for all animals in need."

Written by Cathy Scott

Photos by Molly Wald

Watch a slideshow of last year's greyhound event.