Turning Racers Into Wonderful Pets
Why do greyhounds make such great pets? After all, they are unlike any other breed...bred to race as competitive athletes within a racetrack environment.
It's been demonstrated that a greyhound can reach speeds in excess of 40 mph across short distances (don't even think of taking him with you when you run a marathon), but by comparison, the fastest dog breed on earth is no match for the cheetah, the fastest mammal on earth, which can climb to 70 mph and maintain that speed for more than three miles.
The greyhound's history makes it the oldest of any dog breed with drawings of them adorning ancient tombs and records placing it as a distinctive breed more than 6000 years ago. In fact, it's the only dog breed mentioned in the Bible.
So, back to the original question: Why do greyhounds make such great pets?
Nothing Hyper About These Couch Potatoes
According to Kim Klueg, president of Greyhound Pets of America Tri-State Chapter, they are very gentle and sensitive by nature and typically very quiet. Plus, she says they certainly don't shed much and can adapt to new people easily since they've been around all types of people at the racetrack.
"The big misperception a lot of people have about greyhounds is that because they run so fast, they must be very hyper - wrong!" she states. Actually, because they were bred to have quick bursts of energy, they can sleep up to 20 hours a day, conserving their energy and making the most wonderful couch potatoes anyone has ever seen.
"At the racetrack they live in a kennel environment, racing usually just one or two times a week, and since a lot of our dogs come right off the track, our fosters continue to crate them for a time. It also teaches them potty training," Klueg says.
In Kim Klueg's Owensboro, Kentucky living room, greyhounds find contentment just lounging.
Unlike border collies or retrievers, greyhounds were taught to work independently with no commands or guidance from their masters. They hunted coyotes and rabbits, Klueg explains, which is reason enough why you should always keep your pet greyhound on a leash when outside the security of a fenced yard, because regardless of how well trained the dog is, he will chase any cats or squirrels he sees, no matter what...it's in his blood to chase.
GPA Tri-State foster parents also work to acclimate greyhounds to an entirely new environment and lifestyle, since they've never maneuvered a flight of stairs, run into sliding glass doors or faced traffic - all they've ever known really is an oval track.
And, her one last bit of advice regarding the benefits of adopting greyhounds is they come to you as adults - "bonuses" really - you don't have to go through the puppy stage.
GPA Tri-State Chapter Serves a Wide Ohio Valley Area
Greyhound Pets of America Tri-State Chapter is part of the national organization, Greyhound Pets of America, dedicated to finding responsible, loving homes for greyhounds that no longer qualify for racing or fail to qualify for racing. The Tri-State Chapter serves southern Indiana, northwestern Kentucky and southeastern Illinois and participates in numerous events and "Meet 'n Greets" every month in those areas. There are about 10 greyhounds available for adoption currently.
Many Greyhounds Available for Adoption Due to Track Closings
Greyhound racing is on a downhill track, so to speak, with more and more racetracks closing, causing Greyhound Pets of America and other adoption groups to be continually on top of the situation, remaining in touch and ready to help dogs when tracks finally close.
Voters in Massachusetts banned greyhound racing statewide with the approval of the Greyhound Protection Act, Proposition 3 on their ballot, which legally takes effect in 2010. Announcing it will close in December, Dairyland Park in Wisconsin will leave hundreds of dogs available and searching for good homes, according to adoption groups in the Midwest.
Yeah! And, one more dog track, the Phoenix Greyhound Park in Arizona, has stated it will run its last race December 19, 2009. According to the website, "Phoenix Greyhound Park welcomes help from adoption organizations across the country." Anyone interested in adopting a greyhound can call Greyhound Pets of America at 1-800-366-1472 or click on //www.greyhoundpets.org for further information about the greyhounds at Phoenix Greyhound Park.
To learn more about the latest track closing information, click here for the Greyhounds of America webpage blog. Let's work together and see that all these greyhounds go to loving forever homes!
For More Information
GPA Tri-State representatives live within the service areas of Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. You may contact them individually by going to their website GPA Tri-State or contact Kim Kleug at firstname.lastname@example.org
Greyhound Pets of America Tri-State Chapter is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charitable organization. To inquire about adoption, make a donation, volunteer or become a foster parent, click GPA Tri-State
Photos by Stephanie Rommel