Most people might know a greyhound only as a lean, muscular dog sprinting at nearly 50 miles per hour around a racetrack.
Sam Fulton, the adoption coordinator for CSRA Greyhound Adoptions, sits with her three greyhounds and two that she is providing a foster home for.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
But "couch potato" is how greyhounds are most often described by their owners.
"They will race you to the couch, that is the extent to their activity," said Jeanne McGee, the Augusta area coordinator of the group Greyhound Lifesavers.
Sam Fulton, of Evans, agrees that greyhounds are much gentler and lazier than what most people think.
"They think they are lap dogs," said Fulton, who is the adoption coordinator for another greyhound rescue group called CSRA Greyhound Adoptions. The CSRA group is holding a garage sale at JaeMars Training Academy in Martinez on Oct. 16 as a fund-raiser. It works with racetracks and breeding farms in Alabama to acquire retired racing greyhounds and find them homes in the local area.
Lifesavers works with race tracks and breeding farms in Florida to find permanent happy homes for the laid-back hounds in several neighboring states.
Each year since its inception in 2002, Lifesavers has placed 50 to 60 dogs with families as pets.
"We can get all the dogs we want," McGee said. "But we can't get the homes fast enough."
To help in that effort, Lifesavers will hold a Meet and Greet event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at PetsMart on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway. Those attending will be able to see greyhounds up close and get information about adopting them.
"This is like an outreach," McGee said. "A lot of people come and meet and greet and say, 'I have never seen one in person.' That is why we go out and do that, so people can actually see them, touch them and see how loving they are."
McGee, who also fosters greyhounds until homes are found, adopted her first greyhound - named Angel Tip - through a rescue group in the early 1990s. That dog opened her eyes to the world of greyhounds.
"I just simply love them," McGee said of greyhounds. "They are just gorgeous, wonderful, beautiful, loving sweet animals."
Fulton discovered greyhounds in 1994. She wanted a dog to take running, but her husband was leary of a dog inside their condominium and the "doggie" smell.
Mr. Leader, a champion greyhound who has found a home with Sam Fulton, the adoption coordinator for CSRA Greyhound Adoptions, spends much of his retirement laying around the house.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
But all that changed when she attended a Meet and Greet event and became surrounded by about 12 or 15 greyhounds.
"I fell in love with them, so I got my first greyhound," she said.
Fulton's group formed in April 2003 and found homes for 13 greyhounds before the end of 2003.
But not all greyhounds are lucky enough to be rescued. Those who get hurt on the track, are retired from racing or just aren't fast enough often meet inhumane and cruel deaths, Fulton said.
Fulton also has a constant string of fostered greyhounds in addition to the three she calls her own.
All greyhounds spend at least a few weeks in a foster home with someone experienced with greyhounds to acclimate them from life in a kennel at a breeding farm or racetrack to life as a pet.
Most greyhounds have never experienced the workings of a normal household. The sound of household devices such as hair dryers, televisions and vacuum cleaners can be frightening. Most greyhounds find stairs and slippery floor surfaces such as tile, linoleum and hardwoods awkward.
"Slick floors is the thing they hate the most," Fulton said.
McGee agreed, adding she has put a throw rug down so her greyhounds will venture out.
"We accommodate our greyhounds," she said.
Though greyhounds spend as much as 80 percent of the day napping on the sofa, many still enjoy running at events such as the CSRA Greyhound Adoption's Sunday play dates.
The CSRA group is starting a new program to allow fostering by seniors.
As part of that program, Fulton's group will pay for all expenses associated with the dog and will transport it to veterinarian visits or other functions. The group also will take the dog back if a drastic life change such as illness occurs, Fulton said.
Candidates for greyhound adoptions need to fill out an application and submit to a home inspection to identify any dangers such as sliding glass doors and stairs.
Lifesavers charges a $200 adoption fee and a $25 application processing fee. The CSRA group asks for a $225 adoption fee to help defray the cost of spaying or neutering, teeth cleaning, shots, heartworm tests and other vet care before the greyhound is placed in a home.
For more information on the Greyhounds Lifesavers of Georgia and to see adoptable greyhounds, visit www.greyhoundlifesavers.org or call McGee at 796-1708.
For more information on the CSRA Greyhound Adoptions and to see their list of adoptable greyhounds, visit www.CSRAgreyhoundadoptions.org or call Fulton at 854-0098.
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