Main Idea Quiz -- Greyhounds

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Racer Today, Your Pet Tomorrow

The Greyhound Gang Finds Homes For Retired Racers

By Joy Boisselle

What happens to retired racing greyhounds? Euthanasia [putting dogs to sleep} used to be the method of choice to replace aging track dogs with new ones. Public outcry led to groups whose sole purpose is to facilitate the adoptions of retired racing dogs into loving, stable homes.

The Greyhound Gang of Florida, Inc. is one such group, and they need your help. Based in Seffner, the group has placed 650 dogs in homes since 2001. Leading the adoption effort is group founder, Joan Ray.

“Our job is to help these dogs go from athletes to pets and to prepare them for their ‘forever’ homes,” she explained.

From athlete to couch potato is how Ray describes the greyhound’s transition to pet life. “Most people mistakenly think these are hyper dogs, requiring a lot of exercise. The truth is they are very docile, affectionate, even-tempered, and love to sleep, sometimes up to 16 hours a day.” Dogs come to the agency through track and kennel owners, as well as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The adoption process begins with a veterinarian visit for a health work-up.

An important part of the adoption process is the foster home where the dog learns how to be a part of the family. Volunteers foster a minimum of two weeks, and follow strict procedures to acclimate the dog to his new surroundings. Dogs must be exposed to new sights and sounds including, vacuum cleaners and television. They must learn to navigate stairs and recognize glass doors as solid objects. And, they must learn to interact with children and other animals.

©2008 Media General Inc. All Rights Reserved

11/01/2008

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