Friday, July 20th, 2018

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Joy of adopting a greyhound to be celebrated at Canine Fun Days in August

The loving nature of a greyhound is made clear in this photograph of Joyful and proud owner Sue Reid, of Chagrin Falls. (Photograph by Jonathan Koslen)

The loving nature of a greyhound is made clear in this photograph of Joyful and proud owner Sue Reid, of Chagrin Falls. (Photograph by Jonathan Koslen)



It was the beauty of the greyhound that first caught my eye probably a decade or more ago.

I stopped at the Greyhound Adoption of Ohio booth during Blossom Time in Chagrin Falls. The nonprofit organization, formed in 1993, places retired and rejected racing greyhounds in what they lovingly call their forever homes. I remember how incredibly docile the greyhound was, and got lost in admiring its long, powerful legs and its deep chest. But it was the eyes — so tender, loving and gentle — that left a lasting impression.

Little did I know that years later, right before Thanksgiving of 2013, my family would be lucky enough — blessed enough — to bring the most beautiful greyhound into our home and our hearts.

Her name is Joyful (Joyful Praise was her racing name) and she just celebrated her fourth birthday earlier this year. She retired from racing at three years old, and there are not enough words in the English language to describe the joy, peace and happiness she has brought to our lives.

The breed, for those who are unaware, is surprisingly gentle. A friend of mine met Joyful once and used the word ethereal. I couldn’t agree more. She brings a sense of calm to our home, which includes two young, rambunctious daughters, and to our life, which is filled the demands of work and juggling busy schedules. She is the calm that we didn’t realize we needed.

Our story of bringing Joyful home began when my husband surprised me by starting the adoption process as a gift to me. We had lost our dogs to old age and cancer the previous year and were ready to open our hearts again.

I remember vividly the day we visited Greyhound Adoption of Ohio (GAO), located on a serene stretch of picturesque property on Countryside Lane in Bainbridge Township. It was a chilly fall afternoon and we were to meet the greyhounds up for adoption at that time. My family was excited, nervous and hoped we would find the “one” — or that that in some way the “one” would find us.

Upon arrival, we met Linda Perko, director of GAO, and in an instant her passion and dedication to the breed was apparent. Linda works tirelessly and selflessly, with a team of nearly 100 volunteers, to find homes for greyhounds and has proudly placed more than 2,000 of them since GAO’s inception.

Greyhounds from tracks and farms across the country are brought to GAO to be prepared for adoption. Upon arrival at GAO, each dog is spayed or neutered, vaccinated, heartworm tested and receives a thorough dental cleaning.

“You never heard of greyhound adoption 25 years ago,” Ms. Perko explained. “People didn’t know about them. They are just wonderful dogs,” she said matter-of-factly.

At GAO’s kennel, where they also offer boarding to support their operating costs, there are on average 25 greyhounds available for adoption at a given time. While many of the greyhounds that come to GAO have received excellent care, for some, this is the first time they have received a toy or a treat, or a bed to call their own.

Groups of 15-20 arrive regularly, and are welcomed with open and loving arms to volunteers who bathe them, snuggle them and make them feel safe. The term is called a “haul,” and there are opportunities to fund the hauls, even if you are not interested in adopting, as summer is perhaps the busiest time of the year for GAO.

There are also sponsorship opportunities available for a greyhound, beginning at $100, which helps defray the cost of immediate veterinarian care. It is also a wonderful way to give to the organization which does so much good for these beautiful animals. Those who choose to sponsor a dog get a picture and are advised when they find a home. Sponsors are welcome to visit GAO and take the dog for a walk.

For those who choose to adopt, there is a $175 fee. The process to adopt is thorough, but not terribly lengthy, and includes working with adoption coordinator Susan Anderson. She is an extremely knowledgeable individual (with five beautiful greyhounds of her own) who shares the same dedication and love for the breed that everyone at GAO feels. We learned from Susan all of their nuances, their habits and their likes and dislikes.

We also learned how special the greyhounds are, how wonderful they are in so many different home settings (they are even great apartment dogs!) and how extremely intelligent they are. But until the day we brought Joyful home, I don’t think we knew just how truly amazing a greyhound could be.

In the months that have passed, my family and I have proudly become advocates for the breed and hope to continue to change minds and hearts and clear any misconceptions that may be out there.

For example, one of the many myths surrounding greyhounds is that they are wild and crazy racing machines. It’s entirely the opposite. In fact, they dub them the “45 mile-per-hour couch potato,” and we can surely attest to that!

Joyful enjoys a short daily walk either in the Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin Reservation, where many know her by name, or in downtown Chagrin Falls. Add a short sprint in our back yard from time to time, and that is enough to make for lengthy naps and leisurely evenings in the living room. The level of exercise a greyhound requires coincides with their age and activity level.

Families also do not need large yards to accommodate a greyhound. In terms of training, I can honestly say it was a breeze. Greyhounds have superior intelligence and want to please, which makes for the perfect combination when you are training them.

“The breed is for just about everyone,” Ms. Perko noted. In fact, Huffington Post recently rated greyhounds in the top three for best large breeds for families. “It’s a continuously growing trend to have a greyhound,” she said.  Sadly, although the statistics vary, it is estimated that 50,000 greyhounds are born a year and 50,000 are destroyed.

For more information or to sponsor a haul or a hound, visit

Also, please join my family and me at Canine Fun Days next month. It is GAO’s largest fundraiser held over two days at the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Fields in Moreland Hills Aug. 16-17.

Tickets are $5, $3 for children 3 to 12, and free for those younger than 3. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own dog, whatever the breed or non-breed, to participate in a number of fun events. There will be lure coursing, agility, contests, games, food and entertainment. The weekend will also feature the Blessing of the Animals on Sunday. Many rescue and adoption organizations will be on hand. “It is the biggest event in Ohio where people can bring their dogs,” Ms. Perko noted.


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