The noted aviator and writer Antoine de Sainte-Exupery once said, “In giving you are throwing a bridge across the chasm of your solitude”. In that sense, this month’s featured rescue organization has firmly established itself as a builder of bridges, connecting thousands of dogs and adoptive pet parents.
It’s our great honor to announce our financial award to Going Home Greyhounds, a non-profit that provides refuge, aid and care for retired racers. Based in Wexford, PA, this rescue has been in continuous operation since 1995 and their reach covers a 100-mile radius which encompasses Pittsburgh. Going Home Greyhounds (GHG) is guided by a board of five members who oversee the day-to-day operations of more than 70 volunteers. This massive team is responsible for a variety of duties, including transporting retired racers from track kennels, bathing newly retired dogs, fostering Greyhounds in their homes, doing meet-and-greets with people interested in adoption, participating in local parades and handling the details of fundraising events.
Every fosterer in their network commits significant time and energy to locating qualified and loving homes for these graceful creatures. Caretakers are actively involved in making sure the adoption process operates smoothly. As a “temporary parent”, they can provide valuable insights into the personalities and individual needs of every dog, helping to place the right Greyhound with the right family.
After the adoption papers are signed, new pet parents can rest easy knowing that they’ll always have a support staff at their disposal, a promise that extends throughout the lifetimes of the rescued pups. This superior support includes access to GHG’s dedicated canine behaviorist who offers her expertise in dealing with any issues, especially helpful during the transitional phase from foster home to adoptive home. As an added service, GHG publishes their very own newsletter, the Greyhound Gazette, to keep their many hundreds of adoptive pet parents apprised of current events, Greyhound-related news items, future plans and available pups.
For readers who aren’t familiar with the breed, Greyhounds are one of the oldest purebred canines. Ancient paintings of these noble creatures grace the walls of tombs in the great Egyptian pyramids. In fact, Greyhounds are the only breed mentioned by name in the Bible. They are one of the fastest animals on the planet, clocking in at top speeds of 45 mph. Eminently good natured, they are commonly referred to as “Velcro dogs” because they form incredibly strong attachment bonds with their pet parents – no guard dog duty for these lovey doveys.
The majority of their wards have never lived in a home. Greyhounds are fostered directly from the racetrack. Upon intake, each Greyhound receives treatment for fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites if necessary. They are spayed or neutered, receive a full veterinary examination, and are updated on vaccinations and are tested for a whole host of illnesses. Each dog is assigned a volunteer foster parent whose primary goal is to acclimate these pups to a radical change in lifestyle, teaching them how to live in a house. It’s hard for many of us to imagine a dog who’s not already accustomed to living with people – children, cats, even other breeds of dogs are completely foreign to these creatures.
On average, these veterans of the track remain in foster care for less than a month, a remarkably short period for any rescued animal. Of course, those who have sustained injuries, endured prolonged illness or have special needs may remain in foster care for longer periods, until the perfect match can be identified.
GHG saves the lives of 80-120 Greyhounds every year. Due to the recession, that number was cut in half in 2010. More recently, however, they’ve aggressively sought new funding sources (including our foundation), allowing them to regain lost ground. As of January 28th, 2012, this ambitious rescue has successfully placed 2,000 retired racing Greyhounds in loving homes. We heartily congratulate them on this outstanding milestone!
Rescuing Greyhounds from the racing life isn’t an inexpensive endeavor. With no financial assistance from the government, GHG holds all manner of fundraising events, including an annual reunion, a Christmas bazaar and a spring bath-a-thon. Their yearly reunion tradition started in 1998. Held at a local lodge, past adoptive pet parents and GHG volunteers gather together in a celebration of food, music, games and events.
The financial assistance we provided helped to cover the costs of veterinary care for a special canine, whose full name is Jags Danica. Dani broke her right rear leg, but the initial surgery failed to remedy the break, so an additional surgery was necessary. She was a favorite at the orthopedic specialist because she was so cooperative and gave everyone who met her kisses. When her cast came off this spring, she was fully healed! And, perhaps the greatest news of all, she was adopted on June 10th and now has a Greyhound-loving family to call her own.
In addition to veterinary procedures and supplies, our grant made it possible for GHG to commit several hundred dollars to their Veteran’s Fund, an inspirational initiative which matches canine veterans of the racetrack with human veterans of war. With these proceeds, they’ll be able to match three Greyhounds with deserving service members for free.
We’d like to convey our heartfelt thanks to all of our readers and customers who, through their personal donations and continued business, made this grant possible. Each one of you has directly helped Going Home Greyhounds to continue its vital work towards making the world a better place for retired greyhounds.
Remember, every time you order Life’s Abundance products, a portion of the sale goes directly to our foundation. If you or someone you know works with an animal rescue organization that’s worthy of special recognition and some extra financial support, please know that we are still actively seeking grant applications for 2012. With your help, we’re ready to fund more dreams and make other life-saving stories possible.
Check back next month for another dose of good news from the Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet Foundation!