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Rescuing greyhounds

By Staff | Mar 20, 2012

Members from Monica's Heart, a regional agency for adopting ex-racing greyhounds, were at Petco on Saturday. They will be returning April 28 during Adopt a Greyhound Month. Left to right: Linda Bauman, Shamokin; Katherine Staller, Montandon; Sandra Feaster, Milton; and Sharon Legat, Elysburg.

MUNCY – Did you know that greyhounds are the only breed mentioned in the Bible? Dating back to Egypt, they are the oldest, purebred dogs, and at one time it was forbidden for “commoners” to even own a Greyhound.

These tidbit facts, and many others about this distinctive canine, were handed out to interested visitors at Petco on Saturday by representatives of Monica’s Heart, a regional adoption agency for greyhounds. Incorporated in 1996 and based in Altoona, the organization tries to find good homes for the Greyhounds who have finished with their racing careers.

At one time, they were all euthanized, said Linda Bauman, a local representative for this area. Their racing careers are very limited, only about five years, she explained. Often many are finished after two years.

The movement for adopting greyhounds started in the late 70’s and Greyhound Pets of America was established in 1987 to find homes for them after racing careers ended plus educate the public about their sustainability as pets.

“They are super with kids,” said Katherine Staller from Montandon. Historically they are known for being gentle, people oriented dogs that make a good companion for a pet. Sandra Feaster from Milton said she loves them because they love to be indoors and they don’t smell, or have an odor. They are kennel trained, and quickly learn that their new home is a place to keep clean. They are extremely affectionate, friendly and thrive on attention. “They really do make terrific pets,” said Feaster. “They are very laid back dogs. They are like a cat. They sleep 18 to 24 hours a day.” They are not hyper or high strung dogs, and many owners refer to them as “couch potatoes.”

“There are hundreds of greyhound adoption agencies out there now,” said Bauman to help prospective pet owners. “Everything is up to date. They have all shots, are neutered and spayed and have been given preventive medicine, and treated for heart worm,” she added. Along with a new leash, Bauman said she also makes the dogs a new fleece coat which is presented to all new adoptive owners.

Greyhounds can live anywhere from ten to 14 years. They start racing at 18 months, entering their maiden race. “There just aren’t enough homes,” Bauman explained. “There are only so many homes, and so many dogs.” Currently there are nine to ten greyhounds available for adoption on the Monica’s Heart’s website www.monicasheart.com. Before any adoptions are made, the organization requires a reference check and a home visit.

Greyhounds are the fastest breed of dogs around. “They can run up to 45 miles per hour for short distances,” says David Wolf, founder and director of the National Greyhound Adoption Program who advises keeping them on a leash and taking them for brisk walks, preferably four a day.

They should be kept indoors, their coats are short which doesn’t give them much protection from the heat or cold. They like to be near their owners so the organization advises to have a dog bed somewhere in the bedroom. They like to ride in cars, have keen eyesight, hearing and sense of smell. They can see clearly for a distance of one-half mile. And they love everyone.

April is Adopt a Greyhound Month and Monica’s Heart is scheduled to return to Petco in Muncy Township on April 28 from 11 to 2. Monica’s Heart will accept any donation of time, skills or monetary contributions. Monica’s Heart does not have a kennel facility. “Our dogs are cared for in foster homes until they are adopted,” added Bauman. Visitations to meet the dogs can be arranged by calling 570-644-2358.