After Greyhounds retire from being racing dogs, they need to find “forever homes.” Hounds of GRACE is a Michigan non-profit dedicated to making that happen. For Neighbors in Action, we talk to their Vice President Gene Parker and Melissa Williams, who has adopted Greyhounds through the organization.
When a greyhound’s racing days are over, a Michigan non-profit organization often helps the dog find a place to call home.
Gene Parker is Vice President of ‘Hounds of GRACE’, which stands for Greyhound Retirement Adoption, Care and Education.
Parker and Melissa Williams, who has adopted several greyhounds through the program, were guests today on Current State’s ‘Neighbors in Action’ segment on WKAR radio.
“When a greyhound is done racing they need a place to go,” says Parker. “So the tracks and farms are working with GRACE to place the hounds in their permanent homes.”
Parker says GRACE is neutral on their beliefs towards greyhound racing - but they’re certainly active in helping to find the dogs a loving home.
One of the difficulties in finding new owners is dispelling a popular myth about greyhounds.
“People [tend to believe] that greyhounds are extremely active and need a lot of space,” says Parker.
“That’s not necessarily the case. They’re calm, love to sleep and rarely bark.”
Greyhounds typically sleep for 16-18 hours a day, Parker says.
However, it does take a committed dog owner to raise a greyhound all the way from puppyhood.
“As puppies, they can definitely be terror on four legs. Once they reach about a year and a half, their attitude is normal,” says Parker.
As the owner of three greyhounds through GRACE, Williams can attest to their good-natured behavior.
“I had wanted a greyhound from when I was very young,” says Williams.
“I was always in love with horses, and there was something very horse-like about what I saw.”
Williams was at a local PetSmart with her husband when Parker and a group of greyhounds came into the store. Her eyes lit up – even though she had immediate reservations about the dogs.
“We have two cats and some of the things we read had said that greyhounds weren’t good with small animals,” says Williams.
Parker then informed the Williams’ that two of the hounds had been fostered in homes with cats. The couple took the pair of dogs on a walk around the store, and all the sudden realized what their lives had been missing.
Williams has been an active part of the organization ever since, even traveling to Kansas for her third adopted greyhound.
“The foot has been put down again about a fourth dog – but it didn’t really take that long to get the third in the house. So we’ll see,” says Williams.
Does Williams have any words for those who may be on the fence about adopting a greyhound?
“You will never regret bringing a greyhound into your life,” says Williams. “You will get far more from [the dog] than you will ever give to them.”
Applications and additional information can be found on GRACE’s website, HoundsOfGRACE.org.
Article by Ethan Merrill, Current State intern
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