Greyhound adoption
Greyhound adoption or Greyhound rescue programs focus on finding homes for Greyhound
The Greyhound is a breed of sighthound that has been primarily bred for coursing game and racing, and the breed has also recently seen a resurgence in its popularity as a pedigree show dog and family pet. It is a gentle and intelligent breed...

s who are no longer needed for racing
Greyhound racing
Greyhound racing is the sport of racing greyhounds. The dogs chase a lure on a track until they arrive at the finish line. The one that arrives first is the winner....

. In some countries they live in kennel
A kennel is the name given to any structure or shelter for dogs. A kennel is a doghouse, run, or other small structure in which a dog is kept...

s at the track
Race track
A race track is a purpose-built facility for racing of animals , automobiles, motorcycles or athletes. A race track may also feature grandstands or concourses. Some motorsport tracks are called speedways.A racetrack is a permanent facility or building...


Currently, most Greyhound adoption programs are based in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 groups deal with dogs from a variety of sources; for example, in Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, ex-hunting dogs are often in need of rescuing along with Greyhounds.

Origins and work of the greyhound-adoption movement

The Greyhound adoption movement grew out of a concern by a diverse community of people about the welfare among dogs in the commercial racing industry.

Greyhound adoption was started by the greyhound industry in the late 1970s. Greyhound Pets of America (GPA) was established in 1987 for the purpose of finding homes for ex-racing greyhounds, and educating the public on the suitability and availability of greyhounds as pets. GPA is the largest non-profit greyhound adoption group. Since its creation GPA has adopted out over 65,000 greyhounds. In 1989 David Wolf founded the National Greyhound Adoption Program (NGAP) mostly with his own resources. He has become the most controversial figure in the greyhound adoption community, and is one of the most outspoken critics of the greyhound racing industry. The Greyhound Project maintains a directory of hundreds of greyhound adoption agencies throughout the world.

Over time as the number of adoption groups has grown, a deep ideological division regarding Greyhound racing
Greyhound racing
Greyhound racing is the sport of racing greyhounds. The dogs chase a lure on a track until they arrive at the finish line. The one that arrives first is the winner....

 has developed. Some groups are generally opposed to any form of Greyhound racing for any purpose. Others are officially racing neutral, meaning they neither oppose nor endorse dog racing. Race tracks, Greyhound owners and National Greyhound Association only support the neutral Greyhound adoption groups.

Historically Greyhounds have had a reputation for being gentle, people-centered dogs, and "par-excellence for persons wishing for a companion for themselves or their children." When Greyhound adoption first started in the United States, many people associated with racing argued that Greyhounds did not make suitable pets. However, as the number of greyhounds successfully transitioning from tracks to households has risen, many people have come to believe that greyhounds are good companions. They describe Greyhounds as gentle and affectionate dogs who adapt easily to household life because they have clean, short coats and require only moderate exercise.

In the wake of the gaining popularity of Greyhound adoption organizations, there are currently four American states that offer specialty license plates that feature designs advocating the cause; Colorado, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Medical care

Most Greyhounds require medical and hygiene care when they first come to adoption groups.
  • Regular Dental cleaning
  • Treatment for worm
    The term worm refers to an obsolete taxon used by Carolus Linnaeus and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck for all non-arthropod invertebrate animals, and stems from the Old English word wyrm. Currently it is used to describe many different distantly-related animals that typically have a long cylindrical...

    s or other parasites
    Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host. Traditionally parasite referred to organisms with lifestages that needed more than one host . These are now called macroparasites...

  • Vaccinations such as rabies
  • Removing fleas and ticks
  • Bathing and ear cleaning to remove dirt from the tracks
  • Clipping nails

Living conditions

Greyhounds living with adoption groups generally receive one of two types of care: pet boarding kennels or foster homes. Several adoption groups use pet boarding kennels, which are similar to those used by the tracks in the United States. These kennels generally allow large spaces for each dog; the dogs also receive time in outdoor runs. Other groups feel that the best way to prepare the dogs for living in homes is to provide them with a foster home. The owner of the retiring Greyhound generally pays for the medical
A veterinary physician, colloquially called a vet, shortened from veterinarian or veterinary surgeon , is a professional who treats disease, disorder and injury in animals....

 care and food for the dogs while in their care, allowing the foster "family" to train the dog and provide for his or her day-to-day needs.

There is some debate within the adoption community about which technique is better. The trade off is essentially quality of living situation vs. number of animals helped. It is generally accepted that by keeping former racers in pet boarding kennels, the group can help a larger number of dogs more effectively, while groups that have a foster program can provide a better living situation for the dog more quickly.

Behavior of adopted greyhounds

Like any dog, greyhounds vary widely in their temperament, behavior, levels of activity, and in virtually all other aspects of their personality. As they are accustomed to a particular regimented environment at the track, they may adapt to life in a human home slowly, gradually overcoming fears of new sounds and experiences. Greyhounds may not immediately understand windows and glass doors, attempting to move through them, and may require an introduction to staircases and slippery floor surfaces. Trainability varies, as with any breed, but many are highly food or toy motivated and therefore very trainable.

Although usually well-socialized with other greyhounds, ex-racers often have limited skills for living outside of the racing kennel. However, most Greyhounds are quick learners. They tend to be out-going, happy and sociable with people and seem to relish human contact, even following owners from room to room at home (known colloquially as being a "Velcro dog"). Some Greyhounds are more timid and can for a time have difficulty coping with new people or situations. A period of rehabilitation and a dedicated owner usually helps nervous "Retired Racers" become more confident. A few people also report that they have known "Greys" who at first fear other dog breeds until sufficiently exposed. As the lure
Lure can refer to:* Lure * Lure coursing, a sport for dogs that involves chasing a mechanically operated lure* Fishing lure* Lur, an instrument found in northern Europe* Lure, Haute-Saône, a commune of the Haute-Saône département, in France...

 used to train greyhounds for racing resembles a hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

, retired racers sometimes also mistake smaller dogs for a lure, causing them to set chase. Similarly, small animals including cats may also be the subject of prey-driven behavior by some greyhounds. Prior to adoption, agencies generally screen greyhounds for their suitability around small animals especially by way of "cat testing" in which a dog is carefully exposed to a cat to see his or her interest level.

Some Greyhounds have a strong prey drive, having been bred to hunt and chase. For a few Greyhounds this urge can be difficult or impossible to overcome through training. Frequently, Greyhound adoption agencies require owners to keep them on-leash at all times, except in fully enclosed areas. A few agencies will also advise owners to keep their greyhounds muzzled around other dogs with which they are not familiar.

Greyhounds have very thin skin and very short fur. They can be easily harmed by biting or scratching from other dogs or accidentally running into sharp objects. Combined with their low body fat, coats or sweaters are required when outside in cold weather. Some owners also put boots on their Greyhounds in very cold temperatures.

In the home, the vast majority of greyhounds are easily trained for housebreaking
Housebreaking is the process of training a domesticated animal that lives with its human owners in a house to excrete outdoors, or in a designated indoor area, rather than inside the house. The pet owner's desire is to break the habit of eliminating in the house, hence the term...

. Some people suspect Greyhounds consider the house to be an extension of their crate, and thus will not voluntarily urinate or defecate indoors except in exigent circumstances, such as severe intestinal upset.

Greyhounds enjoy resting on beds and sofas, often sleeping or dozing 16 hours a day or more. They often "dig up" their bedding materials like blankets to create a pile that can cushion their deep rib cage, which can make it difficult for them to get comfortable. Particularly common in sleeping among Greyhounds is the so-called "roach" or "cockroach" sleeping position, in which a Greyhound will roll onto his/her back and spread his/her legs at odd angles in all directions, in a position reminiscent of deceased cockroaches who are often found on their backs.

Greyhound adopter and public education events are found wherever ex-racers are re-homed. Some are small local gatherings hosted by adoption groups; others are regional events drawing participants (dog and human) from great distances. It is common to find Greyhound outreach at local pet stores and other public events in which members of the community can see "retired racers" and speak to rescue group volunteers. The largest event for rescued Greyhound owners is the Greyhounds Reach the Beach, which takes place in Dewey Beach, Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Two to four thousand dogs and their human escorts generally attend this event.

External links

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