Racing Home Greyhound Adoption is a non-profit, all volunteer, 501c3 organization in Phoenix, Arizona. They assist in rescuing, rehabilitating, and placing retired racing greyhounds into loving homes. In a brief Q & A they share their story with BuddhiBox.
Tell us a little about your organization. We provide education to the public and prospective homes about retired racing Greyhounds, shelter and care for these Greyhounds as they are taken from the track and transitioned to a forever home, assistance to already placed Greyhound homes when needed, foster placement, financial and emotional support to foster homes, placement for Greyhounds who need to be rehomed for any reason.
How did it come into existence? Our “birthday” was June 6, 2001. We came about from our love of our own adopted hounds and the continued need for organizations to help retired racing Greyhounds.
What is your mission statement? Our mission statement is “to find homes for retired racing greyhounds and other homeless greyhounds. We provide: veterinary care, food, shelter, training, loving, and socialization to the dogs during their transition to an adoptive home. Once adopted, we provide support for the dog and the adoptive family to assure a successful match.
Tell us about the greyhound breed. Greyhounds seem to have more “spooks” in that breed than any other. These are the houndies that are very shy, get frightened or anxious, and hate to be alone. Patience, keeping things level, and maintaining a schedule go a long way toward helping these houndies out of their shells. Greyhounds have large muscles; the largest muscle is their heart. They become very attached to their humans.
How many do you have in the organization at one time? The most hounds we have had in our organization, available for adoption, at one time is 30 hounds. This includes those in foster care and in the prison training program.
What is the cost to rehabilitate one dog? This cost varies. For those dogs who only need food, love, and altering/inoculations before they are adopted, the cost can be about $400 per dog. Sometimes a dog is injured, either in foster care or comes to us injured from the track. Often, we have had vet bills reach well over $2000. Our adoption fees remain at $350 per dog, regardless of the cost to the organization.
How many dogs have you placed? In our 11 years, we have placed hundreds of dogs. We have adopted dogs within Arizona, and to places as far out as Canada.
What is the biggest challenge your organization faces with this work? One of the biggest challenges, besides raising the funds we need for veterinary care, is finding those who are willing and able to provide foster homes for houndies looking for homes.
What is the biggest challenge you face with this work? Compassion fatigue is always a challenge with animal rescue, and our volunteers are no different. The heart can become bruised.
That being said what keeps you and the volunteers inspired? The love in our own houndies eyes, the happy tails, the picture of our houndies roaching while they lay on their doggy beds, and the shine in their eyes keep us inspired.
Tell us about the Second Chance at Life Training program. This is a partnership between Racing Home Greyhound Adoption and the Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy Arizona. The prisoners work in 2 man teams, 2 men and 1 dog. The dog lives in the cell with the men (they are supposed to be trained to sleep in their crates at night, but we believe doggy snuggling is going on, lol). The training program is 9 weeks long. The dogs are taught basic commands (sit, stay, down, etc). If the dogs stay in the program longer (have not been adopted yet) then they are taught more advanced commands. The dogs are constantly with a human, and pampered by their besotted trainers. We currently have 9 dogs and 18 trainers, with a waiting list of about a dozen prospective trainers who want to take part. I believe the most dogs in training at one time was 10.
The trainers (we do not refer to them as prisoners) are not only given dog training skills to use when they have completed their sentences and are released, but they are also given less tangible gifts. The trainers constantly tell us that they are calmer, their stress is less, and their hearts are opening more. They love our dogs and miss them when they find their forever homes. The trainers know more about the dogs than we do, sometimes. They remember the dogs, the bloodlines, their racing history, etc. It is not uncommon for them to get a new dog, ask the racing name, and be able to place that dog as a kin to a dog they had trained months or even years previously.
Racing Home takes many trips a month to Eloy to drop of food, toys, treats, beds, new kennels, and picking up/dropping off dogs. Often, prospective adopters are brought out to meet the dogs in the program. Our first graduating class of trainers and dogs was in winter 2009.
That is an amazing program. What is coming up next for your organization? What other initiatives are you working on? We have some exciting things coming up. We have gotten away from traditional adoption events and started to branch out in the community. So we need lots of volunteers who want to do fun things like Farmers Markets, Art Festivals, and local Pride Events. One of the initiatives that we continue to work on, is the Second Chance Program. Houndies are fostered at a local prison where they learn obedience while the prisoners learn job skills they can use when they have served their sentences.
What are 3 things people can do to help? Obviously donations would help us with vet care and food. But, we could also use foster homes, volunteers to help with dog and food hauls, and getting the word out that Greyhounds are wonderful dogs and fantastic additions to any home.
To learn more about Racing Home Greyhound Adoption, please visit their web site – http://racinghome.info/.
Every time you purchase a BuddhiBox, we donate a percent of proceeds to charity. It changes each month! Visit www.buddhiboxes.com/subscribe-yoga to sign up.